OIDI September Newsletter

The Miami Pulse

Connecting, Assessing, and Moving Forward our Inclusive Community

September 2023 Edition


Land Acknowledgement

Miami University is located within the traditional homelands of the Myaamia and Shawnee people, who along with other indigenous groups ceded these lands to the United States in the first Treaty of Greenville in 1795. The Miami people, whose name our university carries, were forcibly removed from these homelands in 1846.

In 1972, a relationship between Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma began and evolved into a reciprocal partnership, including the creation of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in 2001. The work of the Myaamia Center serves the Miami Tribe community and is dedicated to the revitalization of Miami language and culture and to restoring that knowledge to the Myaamia people.

Miami University and the Miami Tribe are proud of this work and of the more than 140 Myaamia students who have attended Miami since 1991 through the Myaamia Heritage Award Program.



Letter from the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Greetings Miamians, 

We hope everyone has had an opportunity to enjoy some rest this summer. We are excited about the possibilities the new academic year brings, and to once again have the energy of new and returning Miami community members on our campuses as the semester gets underway.  

Whether you are a new or returning Miami community member, we invite you to use NameCoach to record and share your name pronunciation, refer to our Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling Calendar to plan events, and include the Land Acknowledgement video in your events. We also invite you to participate in our award-winning DEI in Leadership online certificate, to learn new or strengthen existing inclusive practices and earn a certificate as we continue to move forward in building a more inclusive Miami for all.  

As we enter Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, we hope you’ll take a moment to read about and participate in the many events planned at Miami, including a week of events and performances by Latin Grammy® Award Winning Flautist Artist-in-Residence Nestor Torres, and the UniDiversity Festival Uptown on September 22.

Looking ahead to October, we are especially excited about collaborating with Kent State University and Ohio University for our joint conference: Reimagining the Academy: Building Communities for Access and Transformational Change, on October 18-19 at Kent State. It is free to all Miami faculty, staff, and students. 

In this newsletter, you can read about the exciting teaching and research topics Dr. Elena Albarrán engages in through the Departments of Global and Intercultural Studies and History; learn about Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Christian Ponce and his team’s efforts and plans in multicultural marketing; catch up with Chatrice Barnes (‘17) and her many accomplishments and plans, and hear from Student Body President Nyah Smith and Vice President Jules Jefferson. 

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions and invite you to reach out to OIDI staff.

M Cristina Alcalde

Love and Honor,

M. Cristina Alcalde, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Professor, Global and Intercultural Studies 



Heritage Month Updates

Working in close collaboration with faculty, staff, and student partners, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion provides opportunities for the Miami community to continue our learning and engage in meaningful programming. Heritage Month programming supports Miami’s inclusive excellence approach and connects to, among other areas, DEI Task Force Recommendation, Pillar 2: Cultural Consciousness, which encourages the Miami University community to enhance our awareness, knowledge, and skills to enrich and renew our intercultural competence.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion organizes programming, collaborates, coordinates, and supports events across campuses through a coordinated calendar for each month; promotion of events; and, when available, limited funding support for proposed events with appeal across campuses.

MU Libraries is partnering with OIDI to feature online resources, including films, books and articles, and class offerings, during each Heritage Month. We invite you to explore these and other educational resources and links on each webpage. We will be adding resources as they become available.

To learn more about this quarter’s heritage months please visit our Heritage Month webpage:

 For upcoming events, visit our University Events calendar page.

History Month Events Submissions 

Now Accepting Submissions for History Month events and programming for Spring semester. Working in close collaboration with faculty, staff, and student partners, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion provides opportunities for the Miami community to continue our learning and engage in meaningful programming that recognizes, examines, and values historical legacies of a diverse array of identities. Heritage Month programming supports Miami’s inclusive excellence and DEI mission and connects to, among other areas, DEI Task Force Pillar 2: Cultural Consciousness, which encourages the Miami University community to enhance our awareness, knowledge, and skills to enrich and renew our intercultural competence. Submit your proposal considering priority deadlines for each proposed history and heritage month celebrations.

Affinity Group Updates

Asian/Asian American Faculty Staff Association

President: April Robles, Director of Operations and Communications

The mission of the Asian/Asian American Faculty Staff Association is to bring together Asian and Asian American faculty and staff, and serve as a supportive community for Asian and Asian American employees and students. The Asian/Asian American Faculty Staff Association is currently building traction with the community and is seeking to provide opportunities for individuals to connect in a more casual atmosphere and then use that leverage to continue the growth and momentum of the group. If you are looking to make an impact and be a leader, this is the group for faculty and staff to join! If it is a personal passion and something they want to do to become more connected to the campus community, you are encouraged to reach out to April Robles to connect.

Association of Black Faculty and Staff

President: Seth Seward, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations

The Association of Black Faculty and Staff stands for diversity, equality, solidarity, and change for campus at large, students, and the Oxford community. As an organization, they will engage and participate in any efforts that are meant to educate and provide clarity of ideas of ending racism and discrimination. The Association of Black Faculty and Staff serves as a safe place for African American or black individuals to come together and meet. This is accomplished through general body meetings and social events. If something arises on campus that impacts the community, they gather together to discuss and hash out solutions in a safe space. The group also works to serve as a support system and network for students, staff, and faculty. While there are no current community events planned, anyone interested in becoming a member is encouraged to complete the membership formstack to connect.

 Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff

President: José Amador, Associate Professor, Global and Intercultural Studies (Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies)

The primary goal of the Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff primary is to support and raise awareness about the Latinx faculty and staff. They aim to build networks between departments and units, faculty and students, and Miami university and the community at large. The group also strives to raise the visibility of the Latin American Studies Program and the nearby Latinx community. Additionally, to keep everyone informed about everything Latinx-related, which is done through a weekly “bulletin” with news and events. This organization has been formed by employees of Miami University (Hamilton, Middletown, and Oxford campuses) to foster Latinx, Latin American and Caribbean, and Ibero, Luso-American representation, improve work conditions, and enrich the social and cultural environment for all Miami faculty, staff, and students. Individuals interested in connecting can reach out to José Amador.

Classified Personnel Advisory Committee

President: Angela Coffey Brown, Administrative Assistant, Enrollment Management and Student Success

The Classified Personnel Advisory Committee is established for the purpose of advising the President, Vice Presidents, and Human Resources on matters of interest and concern to classified staff members in the context of the whole university community. The group accomplishes this by bringing issues/concerns/proposals to administration for input and/or action, serving (individual members) on university committees, and providing feedback/input on matters brought to the committee for review. Additionally, the Classified Personnel Advisory Committee is established to provide an institutional venue or forum in which matters of interest or concern to classified staff members can be discussed, considered, and/or moved forward through appropriate channels. Anyone interested in connecting with or joining the committee can contact Angela Coffey Brown or reach out to the CPAC email.

International Faculty and Staff Association

President: Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, Associate Director of the Global Initiatives' CAWC

The goal of the International Faculty and Staff Association at Miami is to support and connect international faculty and staff while helping each other thrive in their specific roles on campus. This is accomplished through connecting with colleagues from diverse cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, and educational backgrounds, and broadening perspectives, welcoming diversity, and experiencing inclusion at Miami. The group also seeks to listen, understand, and identify the needs of international faculty/staff, address the concerns and needs of the university, provide relevant resources as needed, and help international faculty/staff. The main goal of the group is to support one another in professional development at the university.

IFSAM recently had a change in leadership. The new president for the group is Jacqueline Rioja Velarde. Jacque is the Associate Director of the Global Initiatives’ CAWC. She joined Miami University in 2003 as faculty in Geography and the Latin American Studies Program, and the CAWC in 2006. She initiated her career in higher education at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru -PUCP. She earned her B.A. in Humanities & B.Ed. in Social Sciences from the PUCP; and her M.A. in Geography from Syracuse University. Practitioner of Global education co-curriculum development with a focus on DEI & social justice pedagogy; intercultural communications; and ICQ Global DISC™. 

The group also has a newly appointed communications chair, Ebru Dirsel-Duffield. Ebru has been teaching in the ACE (American Culture and English) Program since 2013. She earned her doctoral degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) at the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include ESL teacher education, non-native English speakers, second language acquisition, and cross-cultural adaptation.  

Interested individuals can reach out to IFSAM’s president Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, communications chair Ebru Dirsel-Duffield, or to the IFSA email.

Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff Association

President: Emily Cluen, Access Coordinator, Miller Center for Student Disability Services

The goal of the Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff Association is to create space for the LGBTQIA community on campus and advocate for queer and trans individuals needs. The group is currently working on establishing and maintaining a larger group to allow for more capacity moving forward. For more details or to join our listserv, email The group is looking to host more events moving forward to connect with more folks on campus and provide more networking opportunities. Interested individuals can email the group’s email address to connect.

Unclassified Personnel Advisory Committee

President: Sarah Persinger, Associate Director FBS Technology Operations & Support

The Unclassified Personnel Advisory Committee was created in 1983 to advise the University Administration (specifically the president and vice presidents) on matters of interest and concern to unclassified personnel. Committee members are selected to reflect a balance of gender, race/ethnicity, campus, division, level in the organization, responsibilities, years of university service, and any other characteristics that help to achieve a balance of knowledge, experience, viewpoints, interests and talents. The group’s most recent endeavor was focussing on wellness and bringing back access and funding to wellness areas on campus. Individuals interested in joining are encouraged to attend the monthly virtual meetings, which take place on the second Tuesday of each month. Interested individuals can also connect with Sarah Persinger for more information.

To learn more about affinity groups or to join a group, check out the main affinity groups web page for more information.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Campus Spotlight

Miami Spotlight


Chatrice Barnes

Virginia Tech Director for Faculty Diversity and Community Engagement

Miami University, Class of 2017

The Faculty Women of Color in the Academy (FWCA) conference is a national conference hosted annually by the Virginia Tech (VT) Office for Inclusion and Diversity. According to their conference website, FWCA is designed to be a “unique educational and professional opportunity for Indigenous and Women of Color in higher education to network, engage, and learn with colleagues from around the country.” In a recent interview with FWCA National Conference Director, Miami alumna Chatrice Barnes discussed her role with the organization and production of FWCA as the Director for Faculty Diversity and Community Engagement for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity at Virginia Tech.

Chatrice Barnes is a proud 2017 alumna of the Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education program. During her time at Miami, Barnes focused her study on student development theory from an intersectional lens and fell in love with the space of higher education and student involvement. After graduation, Barnes found herself at Virginia Tech, where she initially served as the Assistant Director for Student Organizations and Leadership Development in Student Engagement and Campus Life. While Barnes greatly enjoyed this role, she felt the impact of being a Black administrator at a predominately white institution (PWI) as she was the only professional woman of color employed in the almost 50-person department.Her own experiences, coupled with the experiences of her students in a small college town in Appalachia, and the experiences of other colleagues in similarly isolating positions, pushed Barnes to make a concerted effort to connect more with other diverse individuals on campus and around the community.

Barnes elaborated by noting that when she first arrived at Virginia Tech, she began to get plugged into the university and was able to build community through the connections she established through the welcoming efforts of her colleagues. As Barnes began to connect with other new professionals and colleagues, it became clear that the people she connected with were a key part of making her experience at VT meaningful. The ability to build and maintain meaningful connections and relationships has been the cornerstone of Barnes’ career from the beginning. She explained how this has become a driving force for her path forward: “I always want to be in a position where I can pay it forward. I want to be able to connect with people in meaningful ways, just as I have had people connect with and mentor me, and I want to be able to pay it forward and connect with the next generation of people that are coming up in higher education.” 

As Barnes transitioned into her current office during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was tasked with implementing new community-building initiatives for other underrepresented faculty and staff. Barnes explained, “This was a stretch and required me to adapt, becoming more flexible and creative as I, like many others, navigated what it meant to build community during the height of the pandemic in 2020. This became an opportunity for me to expand my own network.

Overall, the community-building that took place during the pandemic was something that took a lot of grit and resilience to accomplish. But in the words of Beyoncé, ‘sometimes we have to turn lemons into lemonade’. We were able to learn a lot about what we can do virtually and as chaotic as that time was, it really opened our eyes to new opportunities for engagement.”


One experience that was positive during the pandemic was the FWCA conference. A large part of Barnes’ role as the Director for Faculty Diversity and Community Engagement consists of overseeing the development and execution of the FWCA national conference. Barnes had attended and volunteered for the conference during her time as a student affairs professional. In her Associate Director role with the Office for Inclusion and Diversity she joined the FWCA core leadership team. This was during the time of the pandemic when everything was forced to shift online and the team was uncertain of what that would mean in terms of engagement and community-building, which is a hallmark of FWCA. Barnes explained that the goals of FWCA are “to create a space where womxn of color in higher education spaces can come and gather to uplift one another; learn, grow, and network with other people who have had similar experiences. The primary audience of the conference is womxn of color, many of whom are the only people in their departments or divisions who look like them; they often serve as the backbone of their families, and tend to contribute a lot of unseen and unpaid labor in the academy and within their communities. We are talking about a group of people who are typically pushed to the margins of society. So during the pandemic, we really wanted to start using the FWCA national conference as a platform to prioritize care and ensure that these womxn at the conference knew that while they were with us, they would be cared for.”

When FWCA began, it was founded in Illinois by Dr. Menah Pratt as a way to build a supportive network of academic women of color as they as they sought after professional development and advancement. When Barnes first attended FWCA, the conference had a reach primarily into the South and Mid-Atlantic regions, but she recalls the opportunity the pandemic presented: “During the pandemic our team was able to increase our outreach efforts in order to expand it to become a truly national conference. And because we had to be fully virtual this meant that more womxn could join us from anywhere in the country without the logistical hassles and barriers that travel can cause. We saw record numbers of first-time attendees during this time.” As a national conference, the Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference still strives to prioritize inclusivity and community. Barnes made an important note that “All womxn are welcome to attend the FWCA national conference! The more the merrier! We are always looking to expand and are excited to continue introducing new womxn into the conference.”

Much of Barnes’ work in her current role deals with developing the conference details, be it reimagining conference components and structures, outreach to new and ongoing sponsors, connecting folks to resources and each other, and continuing to explore how to best service the audience: “I take a close look at who is attending, how we are engaging with them, and in what ways they in turn engage with us. This leads to new innovations around how we connect, like through our social media for example. Our social media features what we call ‘academic sister shout outs’ where we recognize the accomplishments and celebrate the successes that womxn are having throughout the year. So often, research has shown that minoritized faculty and staff do not feel recognized in their jobs. While we can’t solve everything today, we can make positive contributions as we strive to address real issues for marginalized people in higher education.”

The FWCA national conference has continued to grow so much that it has outgrown the space of its host institution of Virginia Tech, and is now being hosted in Washington, D.C. As the conference continues to grow, Barnes admits that her favorite part still remains the community that is found in the space. “The best part for me is having womxn stop me during the conference and say how included, prioritized, and supported they feel. As we grow and continue to become larger, that’s the real challenge: to maintain the same intimacy and the same ability to create community and connections. Each year, we are always striving to do better, learn more, and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for our audience. This is a great challenge to have!”

One key aspect of maintaining the growth of the FWCA national conference has been through sustainable partnerships and sponsors. Since last year, conference organizers refocused their sponsorship opportunities to address the increased size and scope of FWCA as well as to increase opportunities for access to more women of color. Miami University is one of the sponsors for FWCA, along with Barnes’ undergraduate alma mater, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “Having both of my alma maters support this conference has been such an incredible feeling. I felt very supported during my time as a student at UTC and Miami, and the fact that these institutions are intentionally supporting women and people of color, and continue to be committed to DEI in these and other ways, especially with everything going on in society, is surreal and inspiring.”

As the FWCA Planning Committee continues to plan for the 2024 conference, there are a variety of opportunities for people to engage. It is not too late for you, your office, or division to become a conference sponsor. You can submit a proposal to present, nominate a woman of color for an achievement award, or simply attend the 2024 FWCA National conference next April. Chatrice invites any interested parties to attend the conference and visit their website or follow their social media for more information. To become a part of the academic sisterhood and connect with engagement opportunities, email for more information.

Interview conducted by: Abbie Proeschel (she/her), Communications and Events Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Faculty Spotlight


Elena Jackson Albarrán, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Global and Intercultural Studies: Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies Program

Department of History

Since the beginning of the semester coincides with Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, we are featuring a faculty member whose work contributes to the understanding of Latin American and Latinx identities. The start of a new semester serves as a time of reflection and anticipation for faculty and students as they begin a new slate of classes. This is a time of exploration and discovery as new subjects are introduced and familiar topics are revisited with refreshed perspectives. Within this space of excited anticipation, Associate Professor Dr. Elena Jackson Albarrán flourishes as another semester of teaching and scholarship begins. 

Elena Jackson Albarrán is an Associate Professor with a dual appointment in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies (GIC) and the Department of History. She is a core faculty member in the Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies Program housed in GIC, as part of a faculty team that endearingly calls itself the Junta Democrática de LAS. Dr. Albarrán has been teaching at Miami since 2008, and she currently teaches courses in modern Latin American history, comparative histories of childhood (Latin American, world, and Cold War), Latin American revolutions, popular culture (hybridity and commodification), history of Mexico, and visual culture. Dr. Albarrán is a member of the Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff (ALFAS) as an ally and appreciates the interdisciplinary collaborations that the group fosters across campus.

Dr. Albarrán’s scholarship centers on the cultural history of twentieth-century Mexico and the history of childhood. Currently, Dr. Albarrán is in the final stages of copyediting her latest book and is eagerly anticipating its publication. “The book is called Good Neighbor Empires: Children and Cultural Capital in the Americas. I’ve been working on this a long time and am very excited for it to be in the end stages of publication. In this book, I explore hemispheric power dynamics and children as historical agents and symbols, particularly as they were represented in the good neighbor politics at the time and in the ways that they became metaphors for development narratives.” Dr. Albarrán’s scholarship serves as an expansion of her work in the classroom, taking a deeper dive into topics that she explores with her students and brings to life in her classes.

As a dual-appointed professor in the Department of History and the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies, Dr. Albarrán strives to ensure her work and her teaching is interdisciplinary in an effort to highlight the significance of the intersections of her departments. Dr. Albarrán noted, “I feel like the subject matters I am given to teach are really fundamental in allowing and promoting not just an appreciation but a sensitivity to the different realities that depart from the mainstream official history of the U.S. To be able to offer different perspectives within the Miami curriculum is an opportunity that I relish and I am appreciative of the chance to dive deeper into these topics with students.” She went on to explain that “Global and Intercultural Studies as a department serves as a paragon of representation of all different forms of embodied diversity among the faculty which has come together as an incredibly collaborative group of folks. Almost everybody in the department is a faculty of color, queer, and/or otherwise identified and so we as a faculty body really feel like we have a super important role to model to students.” For Dr. Albarrán and her students, these courses are a chance for academic and personal exploration and discovery.

This semester, Dr. Albarrán is teaching her class Revolutions and Social Movements, which examines Latin American history in the long Cold War, along with its connections to U.S. history. Within this class, Dr. Albarrán and her students explore and examine how “the United States is inextricably tied to Latin American history, for better or worse, and as a result, the U.S. cannot be fully understood as a political or social entity without examining the historical context of these relationships.” Through these conversations about Latin American history and thorough examination of the ties between Latin America and the U.S., many of Dr. Albarrán’s students have been able to make connections with their own identities and personal histories. “I had a student whose grandparents were Nahuatl speakers, which was the language spoken in parts of Mexico when the Spanish arrived there and not many still speak the language. Her grandparents were monolingual, and her parents were bilingual in Spanish and Nahuatl. My student was then bilingual in Spanish and English. Within just three generations, there is this incredible transcultural family history that tells a lot about the history of Mexico and the history of migration. To be able to teach a class on things like the history of Mexico and to see just how much students connect and resonate with those topics is amazing because I have the chance to connect these students with history in ways that dive deeper into their own histories and identities.”

Dr. Albarrán went further noting the significance of being able to have this opportunity and space of exploration with her students. “It means a lot to me to be able to play a role in helping these students connect with their personal histories and then tie those stories to a larger global context. It gives me a greater sense of purpose in a way, and I think it overall is a really productive learning environment for students to participate in.” The chance to connect students with their past to better inform their present and future is an invaluable experience that Dr. Albarrán is able to facilitate with her students. The discoveries and self-exploration that occurs in Dr. Albarrán’s courses, like many other history courses within her department, provide conversations for students to better identify with their past to inform their futures. By showcasing and connecting students with their histories, she paves the way for students to better understand the context of their own identities as individuals and as global citizens as they begin to construct their own pathways into future careers and post-graduate journeys. 

These histories and conversations within programs like the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies and the Department of History are what these programs are founded on, providing critical depth for Miami students as they navigate and explore their academic and personal educational and identity journeys. We encourage students to connect with either department  if they are interested in further exploring the topics and courses Dr. Albarrán and other faculty members offer. 

To learn more about Dr. Albarrán’s research and classes, the Latin American Studies Program, and the departments, please visit the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies website or the Department of History’s website

Links to LAS capstone projects carried out by Dr. Albarrán’s students:

Latin America(n) at Miami U: Stories of Transmigration and Belonging in the Midwest (follow regional links at the top to read the personal stories of Miami faculty, staff and students of Latin American heritage)

Child and Nation in Latin America

Interview conducted by: Abbie Proeschel (she/her), Communications and Events Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Staff Spotlight


Christian Ponce, CDMP

Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

University Communications and Marketing

As social landscapes are constantly changing and evolving, the significance of multicultural marketing continues to remain relevant within higher education. Multicultural marketing is the practice of marketing to one or more audiences of different ethnicities, identities, and cultures within a brand’s overarching audience. As the need for comprehensive representation becomes increasingly important with changing national demographics, it is important to ensure that marketing and communications materials demonstrate environments and spaces that reflect the general population.n higher education, as in other spaces, students will gravitate to where they feel represented and valued. It is within the navigation of this complex challenge that Christian Ponce’s role as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications is situated. 

Christian Ponce has been working in marketing for over twenty-three years. At the start of his career, Ponce worked in advertising for ten years before transitioning into higher education. As Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Ponce drives marketing strategy and brand value at Miami University. This includes the oversight of three teams: Creative Services, Digital Marketing, and Web Marketing. The Creative Services team, which is one of the largest teams within University Communications and Marketing, is responsible for the creative output of Miami in terms of graphic design, multimedia design, digital and print advertisements, interior designs, and environmental graphics. The Digital Marketing team is responsible for paid digital advertising and social media channels. The Web Marketing team is responsible for the website and digital platforms for the university. The directors from these three teams work with Ponce to create a cohesive multicultural marketing approach for Miami University at large.

Ponce’s background and experiences have afforded him a unique relationship and perspective on the significance of multicultural marketing. Ponce explained, “I’m very proud of who I am as a person. I was born and raised in Honduras, Central America, but I’ve been in the United States for the past 28 years. Growing up as a Latin American man, I bring a different perspective and worldview, and I have a different frame of reference than someone who grew up in this country, or even another country, as I come from global sales.” Ponce has dedicated his entire career to multicultural marketing, specifically examining representation within marketing spaces and audiences. Ponce explained that within current social contexts, multicultural marketing efforts are and continue to be an integral part of any marketing strategy: “In 2000, multicultural marketing was mostly referred to as Hispanic marketing, but even before then, it was a bit of a buzzword. It has always held a large significance for me, both on a personal and professional level. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are close to my heart because I am a man of color and I am an immigrant, so for me it is important, but I think it is also important for the brands and for professionals to adhere to these standards as well.”

Ponce went on to explain that as the demographic makeup within the United States continues to evolve and expand, multicultural marketing continues to become mainstream within marketing strategies. Ponce described the shifting dynamics of social demographics by noting, “The face of the U.S. is changing before our eyes. The demographics are changing, making inclusion in marketing not only the right thing to do, but I think the smart thing to do as well. I think reaching out to and connecting with multicultural population segments, whether it be race, ethnicity, sexual identity, or gender, better representation is the smart thing to do because that is the direction that the country is moving in as well, from a multicultural standpoint.” Ponce elaborated on this, stating that “by the year, 2060 one-fourth of Americans will be Latino. This has marketers continuing to explore best practices and changing strategies in order to better engage.” 

For Ponce and his team, these practices continue to include intentional partnerships and collaborations in order to implement effective strategies around DEI, integrating them into daily work and ongoing campaigns. This includes conducting campaigns around addressing cultural and language barriers and working to create content to address these gaps. Ponce also works with his team through continued education, noting the importance of furthering and continued research and understanding of multicultural marketing strategies and practices as social and cultural dynamics continue to grow and evolve over time. In addition to these departmental efforts, Ponce takes this strategy a step further, serving as the UCM Officer in the Divisional Leadership Council with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. He also has previously established a multicultural marketing consulting group with UCM, partnering with various stakeholders across campus to work to address and identify areas in which UCM can work to better serve underrepresented populations.

In 2023, Ponce’s team received an award of distinction for their multicultural marketing campaign in the Communicator Awards. Additionally, Ponce and his team won a Silver Award in the Circle of Excellence Awards by CASE for their brand campaign. These awards of high distinction demonstrate the depth and reach of the work Ponce and his team put into multicultural marketing and the intentionality behind making Miami’s brand what it is today. As Ponce and his team continue to implement these practices, Ponce is excited to explore what the future of multicultural marketing looks like at Miami. When asked about the direction he sees Miami and UCM taking, Ponce explained that, “I want to say without a shadow of a doubt that Miami has the best multicultural marketing programming in the country. That’s what I see in the next few years, which I know is a tall order, but we must aim high. I want UCM to continue to be an award-winning marketing and communications department and to become a case study of how to do marketing well in regard to attracting, representing, and retaining underserved communities. That’s what I would like to see in the future.”

To follow along with Ponce and his team as they strive for excellence and continue to build Miami’s multicultural marketing areas, follow Miami University on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. For more information on how multicultural marketing is utilized and integrated at Miami, visit UCM’s website.

Interview conducted by: Abbie Proeschel (she/her), Communications and Events Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Student Spotlight


Nyah Smith

Student Body President, Class of 2024


Jules Jefferson

Student Body Vice President, Class of 2024

In the spring of 2023, Nyah Smith and Jules Jefferson were elected as Student Body President and Vice President for the class of 2024. This election was a historic moment for the Miami University community, as Smith and Jefferson are the first all-Black ticket elected Student Body President and Vice-President. In a recent interview with our staff, Smith and Jefferson discussed their experiences through the election process and their goals for the academic year.

Nyah Smith, Student Body President, Class of 2024, is currently majoring in Social Work and Public Health. Smith’s passion for working with women and children began early in her life, at the age of 14, when her family became a foster family. This moment introduced Smith to the field of social work, which she has held a strong passion for since. Upon her arrival in Miami, Smith decided to pursue the addition of a Public Health major, with aspirations to work in the field of health equity and birth equity post-graduation. When asked about her post-graduation plans, Smith explained, “I’m very passionate about women and children. I have completed two internships in the past two summers that have allowed me to work with survivors of sex and human trafficking, which is a topic I was and am passionate about. More specifically, I am looking at health and birth equity in relation to the disproportionate rates of maternal mortality that Black women experience.” Smith plans to continue to pursue these passions and interests upon graduation with hopes of working in a birth equity clinic or similar environment.

Jules Jefferson, Student Body Vice President, Class of 2024, is currently majoring in Biochemistry and Nutrition with co-majors in Environmental Science and Premedical Studies. When Jefferson first arrived at Miami, she was pursuing a biochemistry degree. Through research and different experiences, her interests have led her to her desire to become a physician-scientist. Post-graduation, she will begin pursuing an M.D. and Ph.D. in order to examine “how environmental pollutants affect your respiratory health and examine the health disparities that are connected to that. My research at Miami has really shaped that opportunity for exploration, which is what led to environmental science and pre-medical studies as co-majors.” Her nutrition major is of personal interest to her, allowing her to share the gained knowledge with her family and take them on a health journey as a collective. Jefferson plans to continue to pursue her research upon graduation, as the topic is something that she holds to be a long-term goal. 

When Smith and Jefferson began their election, they established their campaign with the intention to continue the leadership and community work they were already involved in through the outlet of the Associated Student Government (ASG), which would allow them broader student and campus reach for planned initiatives. Smith and Jefferson ran under the slogan “Building the Table,” based on the quote from Tamlyn Tomita “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” This was a quote Smith had come across in her work and the two felt it a fitting sentiment that encapsulated their platform goals, the primary of which being, “to ensure students feel prepared and equipped to have a seat at the table.” Smith and Jefferson’s platform consists of three pillars, each with two supporting initiatives to outline the goals they would like to achieve during their tenure in office. These three pillars are: Student Empowerment, Unity, and Sustainability/Infrastructure. These pillars can be broken down into the following initiatives:

  • Student Empowerment:
      • Mental Health Screenings:
      • This initiative has been modeled with student-athletes and Smith and Jefferson are working to bring the effort to the student body at large. This would consist of renting space in the Armstrong Student Center and working with the Student Counseling Service to arrange a free walk-in session. These sessions would serve as a preventative measure where students could identify key struggles and work to connect with the appropriate resources for their needs.
      • Career Clothing Closet:
      • The clothing closet is an initiative that Miami University alumni have been wanting to establish for years, but it has not yet come to fruition. Smith and Jefferson are working with alumni to provide free career clothing and resources for students on campus, and they are currently figuring out a location to house the closet. This resource is being modeled after the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion’s open-door closet, along with the Hamilton campus career clothing closet. The goal of this initiative is to provide students with the resources they need to succeed and be dressed for success in interviews as they prepare for internships and life after graduation.
  • Unity:
      • Open-Forums:
      • During their tenure in ASG, Smith and Jefferson will be working to establish open forums to provide better transparency for students, faculty, staff, and administrators about the current projects, progress, and undertakings of ASG as a whole. These forums are planned to be hosted at the beginning of the semester and will allow individuals to meet the ASG cabinet and have a better understanding of the advocacy work taking place through ASG. 
      • Campus-Wide Day of Service:
      • This initiative will be in collaboration with the Oxford community and across campus to establish the tradition of a day of service across campus. With service being a unifying act that can bring individuals together as a community, Smith and Jefferson hope to establish the day of service as a unifying act on campus that will bring individuals together both in service and in the community.
  • Sustainability/Infrastructure:
    • Sustainability within Student Organizations:
    • During their tenure in ASG, Smith and Jefferson will be working to source green funding for student organizations which will be provided under the agreement that any organization can apply for the funding so long as they are utilizing it to expand their current sustainability measures. This measure is designed to encourage sustainable measures in student organizations and will work with student organizations to incorporate sustainability into their mission statements.
    • Parking Ticket Initiative:
    • This initiative is designed to address the financial barrier many students face when they receive a parking ticket. By the start of the spring semester, students are given the option to pay the $75 fine outright or to complete four hours of community service. This can create a large financial barrier for students, which is why Smith and Jefferson are working to create more service opportunities on and off campus to aid in providing avenues of alternative payment for students. This measure also ties back to the desire to build community on campus and these service opportunities would provide community-building opportunities for students.

Both Smith and Jefferson emphasized the importance of creating sustainable practices and partnerships, along with providing the campus community with transparency throughout their time in office as they navigate these initiatives. 

Throughout their campaign and during their tenure in office, Smith and Jefferson have and continue to strive to be their authentic selves within their positions. When asked what it felt like to be the first all-Black ticket elected Student Body President and Vice-President, Jefferson noted the roller coaster of emotions that came with the knowledge, stating, “It’s such a blessing to be the first, but at the same time it is very scary because you’re treading into waters that are unknown, and in doing so you are setting the template for that can be done next.” One example of this was through Smith and Jefferson’s choice to maintain their natural hair during their campaign. Both noted that there had been people inquiring about whether or not they would or should straighten their hair, but both chose to maintain their natural hair the entire election to demonstrate their authentic selves and set the expectation that other Black women can do the same. 

Smith noted that the support from the Black community at Miami was incredibly special and that throughout their campaign, the knowledge of being the first all-Black student body elect ticket was not made known to them until closer to the end. Smith stated, “When we first ran, we didn’t know until almost the time of voting that we were the first. We really set out to intentionally be our authentic selves from the start because we wanted to run an authentic campaign. We are clear that Miami is a predominantly white institution (PWI) and so we wanted to make sure that in every space we were in, we were being true to ourselves and what we stand for. I’m just really so proud of what we were able to accomplish with our campaign.”

As their time in office continues, Smith and Jefferson encourage individuals to connect with their ASG representatives, explaining that there are a variety of places and instances where having a larger picture of student experiences can be incredibly helpful to ASG as a whole. Smith and Jefferson both maintained the significance of the advocacy measures that are being taken by ASG cabinet and encouraged students to remain true to themselves as they grow and challenge themselves during their time at Miami. To learn more about ASG and Nyah and Jules’ time in office, follow their Instagram platforms for additional information.

Interview conducted by: Abbie Proeschel (she/her), Communications and Events Coordinator, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Submission for DEI Spotlight

Do you know a student, faculty member, or staff member who is doing standout diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work? We are looking to highlight individuals at Miami who are doing DEI work and making an impact across our campuses or in the community at large. Our goal is to highlight DEI works around our campuses and showcase the incredible work our community is undertaking. Submit your suggestions for our next edition's spotlight!

Research Insights

We welcome your submissions and invite individuals to share publications from the past year to be highlighted in this section. To submit a recent publication, please visit our website and complete our submission form.

Campus Announcements and Upcoming Events

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Leadership Certificate

We encourage Divisions, Colleges, departments, and teams to join our online Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course on how to be an active ally, inclusive leader, and effective mediator. Extend your individual experiences and collective knowledge with research-based tools and strategies to thrive as an advocate for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.

The DEI in Leadership Certificate utilizes five foundational modules: (1) Bias, Stereotypes, and Microaggressions, (2) Race and Anti-Racism, (3) LGBTQ+ Identities, (4) Ableism and Inclusion, and 5) Allyship and Advocacy. This online certificate is free for Miami employees and graduate students.

Current registrants have until December 15th to complete their certificate modules. For more information, please visit DEI in Leadership Certificate.

Redhawks Equity Leadership Series (RELS)

Join our online cultural competency certificate for undergraduate and graduate students. We invite all students to sign up to be a part of the first cohort of students to complete the training starting September 2023. The Redhawks Equity Leadership Series (RELS) encompasses a set of five workshops: (1) Allyship, (2) Anti-Racism, (3) Diversity Statement Workshop, (4) DEI in Resumes/CVs Workshop, and (5) Pronouns 101. Enroll today by signing up through the Registration Form.


We hope to keep updating this series with additional workshops, resources, and upcoming events to support students' growth as inclusive leaders.

Artist-in-Residence: Nestor Torres


Miami University presents Nestor Torres, Latin Grammy® Award Winning Flautist, as this year’s Latinx Artist-in-Residence. Torres has shaped the music industry for over four decades as a classically trained flutist. His work encompasses a wide breadth of music, 19 albums including various peacebuilding efforts internationally.

Join us for a week-long series of events sponsored by Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Department of English, Department of Global and Intercultural Studies, Grayson Kirk Endowment Fund, Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies, Center for Career Exploration and Success, Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Center for American and World Cultures, Department of Music, Performing Arts Series, Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff, Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc., Latiné Student Alliance.

For a full schedule of events, visit the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. 

NameCoach Access

NameCoach, a tool that helps provide pronunciation information for student, faculty, and staff names, is now available for Miami users in Canvas and online!

As colleagues, educators, friends, and learners, interpersonal communication is key for everyone at Miami. Respect and inclusion are key to ensuring an inclusive and welcoming environment, and that includes correctly pronouncing our fellow Miamians’ names. Having the tools to correctly pronounce each of our names helps promote an inclusive environment for folks of all socio-cultural identities, and NameCoach is going to help us do that.

With NameCoach, anyone at Miami can record a pronunciation for their name and share it with the community. We have integrated it directly with Canvas so that instructors can see the pronunciations of their students’ names.

There are two ways to record your name with NameCoach:

Please note: To have a pronunciation show up in Canvas, you have to record in Canvas. The direct NameCoach recording will not cross-pollinate. 

Newsletter Submissions

For more information and updates, please add the DEI events Calendar to your Google calendar. To have your event added to the calendar, please complete the newsletter submission form.

Capacity-Building and Leadership Development

Reimagining the Academy: Building Communities for Access and Transformational Change

Miami University, Kent State University, and Ohio University have joined forces to form a collaborative conference: Reimagining the Academy: Building Communities for Access and Transformational Change. Previously, each university held an annual conference on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. This new alliance will allow the universities to come together for one conference that will share expertise and leverage their strengths. 

Reimagining the Academy will take place October 18-19, 2023 in the Kent Student Center. Virtual engagement opportunities will also be available. 

Registration will be free to faculty, staff and students at each of the collaborating institutions.

Keynote speaker and Miami alum, Carol Anderson, Ph.D., will speak on October 19th. Dr. Anderson is a professor of African American Studies at Emory University and is the author of several bestselling books including The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America (2020), One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy (2018) and the critically-acclaimed #1 bestseller White Rage (2016).

Those interested in joining the conference listserv to receive up-to-date information regarding announcements, registration, important dates and more should visit

Additional questions can be sent to 

We look forward to having you join us for this very enriching conference. Thank you!


Cristina Alcalde, Ph.D.

Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Miami University

Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Professor of Africana Studies
Kent State University

Salome Nnoromele, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion
Ohio University

Redhawks Equity Leadership Series


Join our online cultural competency certificate for undergraduate and graduate students. We invite all students to sign up to be a part of the first cohort of students to complete the training starting September 2023. The Redhawks Equity Leadership Series encompasses a set of five workshops: (1) Allyship, (2) Anti-Racism, (3) Diversity Statement Workshop, (4) DEI in Resumes/CVs Workshop, (5) Pronouns 101. Enroll today by signing up by completing the Registration Form.

We hope to keep updating this series with additional workshops, resources, and upcoming events to support students' growth as inclusive leaders.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Leadership Certificate

Join our online Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course and learn how to be an active ally, inclusive leader, and effective mediator. Extend your individual experiences and knowledge with research-based tools and strategies to thrive as an advocate for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.

The DEI Leadership Certificate utilizes five foundational modules: (1) Bias, Stereotypes, and Microaggressions, (2) Race and Anti-Racism, (3) LGBTQ+ Identities, (4) Ableism and Inclusion, 5) Allyship and Advocacy.

Current registrants have until June 15th to complete their certificate modules. For more information, please visit DEI in Leadership Certificate.

Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling

As we enter the fall season, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI)  encourages all Miami community members to consult the full list of Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling dates on our website. Below we highlight a few key religious holidays and observances, including a description of the holiday, best practices, and customary greetings to support our active investment in fostering an inclusive campus community.  Please note that these are not all of the holidays that are taking place, nor is this a fully inclusive list. 

September 15-17* - Rosh Hashanah (Judaism) 

  • Description: Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days that occur in the late summer/early fall. Rosh Hashanah begins a ten-day period of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur. The holiday is a two day observance and celebration that includes synagogue services and festive meals.
  • Best Practices:  When providing food at functions, please consider Kosher food accommodations. We also recommend avoiding scheduling deadlines or activities on these dates since work is prohibited during Rosh Hashanah.  
  • Customary Greetings: “Happy Rosh Hashanah” or "Chag Sameach" (Khahg sa-MAY-ach) or "Shana Tova” (ShaNAH ToVAH).


September 24-25* - Yom Kippur (Judaism) 

  • Description: Yom Kippur is the holiest day of Judaism. Primarily centered on atonement and repentance, the day’s observances consist of full fasting and ascetic behavior accompanied by intensive prayer and confessions. 
  • Best Practices: Please consider the practice of fasting when scheduling any events, “lunch meetings,” or scheduling lengthy presentations. Not all will fast or take time off, but they may still observe in various ways. We also recommend avoiding scheduling deadlines or activities on these dates since work is prohibited during the holiday.  
  • Customary Greetings: "Tzom Kal” (TZome Kal) or “G’mar Chatima Tovah” (gih-MAR chah-tee-MAH toe-VAH)


Note: ​​“*” denotes holidays that start sundown the day before. Please note that individual practices may vary. 

We also encourage the use of our Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling calendar to provide guidance and help avoid scheduling important events, activities, and deadlines on holidays observed by members of the Miami community.  Should you or a member of your team have any questions or concerns on how to best utilize this information or on appropriate accommodations, please contact the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion or the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity.

Call for Submissions

If you have any Miami updates or relevant information that you would like to have included in the next edition, please complete the newsletter submission form.


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