In 2020, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officers are rapidly becoming the real MVPs at colleges and universities across America. As Southern Connecticut State University’s first chief DEI strategist, Dr. Diane Ariza brings more than two decades’ experience of administrative leadership in social justice and a background of teaching and research in ethnic studies to address issues of documenting and amplifying equity, anti-racism, and anti-oppression work. Dr. Ariza holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology with a concentration in ethnic and race relations, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology. Her bachelor’s degree is in history and Spanish.
A Southern alumna and CT’s deputy commissioner of housing, Shante Hanks is a thought leader, educator, community advocate, political strategist and author. Her grassroots approach allows her to connect the dots between policy and the pulse of the community. Ms. Hanks has a Bachelor of Science in History and Secondary Education, Master of Science in Elementary Education, Sixth-Year Degree in Educational Foundations with a focus in Urban Studies & Curriculum, and is currently a doctoral student.