Statewide Diversity Summit at NMHU May 21 – 22

Photo of Rebecca Moore
Rebecca Moore

The free summit will be held in the Highlands Student Center Ballroom, 800 National Ave., from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 21 and from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 22.

“The overall purpose of the diversity summit is to raise awareness about statewide issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education systems in New Mexico,” said Rebecca Moore, a social work professor who chairs the Highlands Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. “This summit is an opportunity to bridge community among all of our sister institutions.”

“Another objective of the summit is to provide a forum for networking and sharing best practices,” said Eric Romero, a languages and culture professor at Highlands and vice chair of the council.

The keynote speakers for the conference include Jozi de Leon, Ph.D., vice president of equity and inclusion at California Polytechnic State University; Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, adviser to the chancellor for diversity at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; and Eric Nixon, a human rights activist for social justice initiatives in New Mexico who is affiliated with the NAACP.  

There will be 20 individual panelists at the summit presenting the following topics:

  • Recruitment, retention and mentoring of diverse populations
  • Recruitment, retention and mentoring of diverse faculty and staff
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion for all university members such as cultural competencies, inclusive teaching practices and anti-bias training
    Photo of Eric Romero

    Eric Romero

  • Place-based research and teaching practices that engage community and develop partnerships
  • Creating safe and inclusive campus communities including programs, projects and activities

“These topics for the diversity summit include five strategic goals developed by the Highlands Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Advisory Council. Over the course of the last five years, this council has been actively involved with programming with students, faculty and staff at Highlands,” Moore said. “For example, we developed the Multicultural Center and other resources for ‘dreamer’ and deferred action for childhood arrival students and created the Community Center for Indigeneity at Melody Hall.”

Moore said that to date, more than 70 people had already registered before the May 8 deadline but that a limited number may register at the summit. To register, visit or contact Julia Geffroy Lementino in the Highlands Native American Center at or 505-426-2049.

Housing accommodations are available for a discounted rate at the Plaza Hotel, Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn in Las Vegas.

Sponsors and collaborators for the diversity summit include Highlands University President Sam Minner; the University of New Mexico Division for Equity and Inclusion; the New Mexico Public Education Department; Engaging Latino Communities for Educational Success (ENLACE); Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute; and Highlands University entities such as the Native American Center, the Achieving in Research Math and Science Center (ARMAS), Undergraduate Enrichment program (HUE), Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations, (CESDP), and the STEMfast grant program.