Diversity initiatives at Gonzaga University are changing to help clarify objectives and optimally situate efforts in the university’s mission and leadership structure. As a result, Gonzaga’s office of diversity will now be known as the office of intercultural relations – as was proposed by Raymond Reyes.
Raymond Reyes, Ph.D.
The move will align Reyes, Ph.D., and his intercultural work with Gonzaga’s mission area under the guidance of GU Vice President for Mission Rev. Patrick Lee, S.J. Reyes emphasized that he proposed the change to GU President Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., and that Rev. Spitzer agreed to adopt the proposal.
“This relationship with the mission area is key to strategically institutionalizing our social justice work by integrating it ‘intentionally’ into the university’s mission,” said Reyes, whose title has changed from associate vice president for diversity to associate vice president of intercultural relations. “The unifying and common element for all areas of student formation as a private Jesuit, Catholic university – such as academics, student life and faith – is our mission.”
Rev. Lee said he looks forward to the new arrangement. “I find working with Raymond to be wonderful and I do look forward to bringing this important intercultural work under the area of mission for Gonzaga University,” said Rev. Lee.
The mission of Gonzaga’s office of intercultural relations will be promoting the Jesuit and Catholic ideals of social justice by nurturing the dignity of all people in creating an inclusive and generative multicultural academic community, Reyes said.
Intercultural relations promotes an appreciation of human differences and fosters mutual respect and collaboration among community members from different cultural traditions through the development of intercultural competence, Reyes said. Creating the capacity to experience healthy intercultural relationships educates the people that a global, cross-cultural world needs most, he added.
The name change aims to accomplish more precise and focused representations of all human differences in the desired outcomes of the office and its efforts, of which establishing and sustaining a healthy, robust and nurturing multicultural community is essential.
The office of intercultural relations will uphold the institutional goals addressing campus climate, intercultural competency and diversity leadership, recruitment and retention, and community outreach and social justice leadership. In addition, it will develop more collaborative partnerships across the university to implement current and new program initiatives.
GU’s intercultural competence goals have been and will continue to be implemented and achieved through the Unity House Center for Intercultural Education under the direction of Robert Bartlett, director for intercultural education; the Gonzaga Indian Education Outreach Program, also known as GIEOP, coordinated by Wendy Thompson; The Institute for Action Against Hate, directed by education Associate Professor Jerri Shepard; and various other academic and involvement opportunities facilitated by the office of intercultural relations.
For more information on this or other initiatives from the office of intercultural relations, contact Raymond F. Reyes or Kristine Reeves at (509) 323-3667.