I have just a few weeks left in North Carolina. My family and I will soon fly to the west coast where I will assume an inaugural position as the Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Justice (VPEDJ), pronounced VP for EDGE, at Mount Saint Mary’s University-Los Angeles (not to be confused with a school of the same name in Maryland). As I transition from North Carolina to Los Angeles, California, I will blog/vlog my experiences on this site <www.cupofdiversity.com>. Be sure to click follow on this blog so that you will not miss any details of our journey. Although my family and I have traveled extensively, we have never lived or worked outside of North Carolina. This move is very exciting, and also a bit of an adventure. My family and I are looking forward to what lies ahead.
How it all began
I worked as a diversity consultant at the “Mount” from January 2021-October 2021. I worked closely with the Mount’s inaugural AVP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Bernadette Gonzaque Robert, an unyielding advocate for equity and a dear friend. When the permanent VPEDJ position was posted, several Mount community members encouraged me to apply. Through a rigorous process, I was delighted to learn that I was a finalist, and subsequently offered the position. Also, the current president of the Mount, Ann McElaney-Johnson, hired me 18 years ago when she was the Vice President at Salem College. All good things come back around. After consulting with the Mount for the past year, I feel very connected to this beautiful community, and excited for the opportunity to serve alongside of them.
More about Mount Saint Mary’s University-Los Angeles
The Mount was founded by the Catholic Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet in 1925. Mount Saint Mary’s, the only Catholic liberal arts university primarily for women in the western United States, is known nationally for its research on gender equity, its innovative health and science programs and its commitment to community service and global justice. Serving about 3,000 students, it is one of the most diverse universities in the nation. It is a Hispanic-serving institution and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institution in the heart of Los Angeles. The Mount has two campuses, Doheny in downtown LA, Chalon in the Brentwood community, as well as a Hollywood site.
As Vice President, I will work collaboratively to coordinate the university’s strategic efforts to create a more equitable, inclusive, diverse, antiracist, and welcoming environment for all MSMU students, staff, and faculty.
I am excited to join Mount Saint Mary’s University during this pivotal moment in time. I have had the opportunity to meet several Mount community members already, and with every interaction I find a welcoming community that is deeply invested in the success of our synergistic vision for equity, diversity and justice. I look forward to building a sustainable vision with my new Mount colleagues.
My Guilford College Community: I LOVE you!
My almost five years at Guilford College have been unmatched. I am grateful for how Guilford welcomed me into their community from day one. I will miss my tribe. My colleagues had my back, and my students made me better. In the work of diversity, equity and inclusion, there will always be opposition; however, the voices of those who were for this work were far more powerful than any naysayer.
At Guilford College, I encountered the most special group of friends and incredible students. The students of my last institution, Salem College, dedicated a space on campus to me. At the ceremony, there were more guests in attendance from Guilford College than my own family. That demonstrates the level of love and support that I received from my Guilford colleagues and students. I will never forget their support. (Source: Guilfordian)
Words from Guilford’s President
“There’s just something about Krishauna’s presence as a person, she’s just a warm and encouraging person at the same time,” Jim Hood said. “She brings insight and challenge about things that we need to have greater insight about and we need to be challenged by. When she does anti-bias training or anti-racism training or just speaks in front of a group, you can see that balance between the warmth of her personality and the challenge to do things better in a more just and equitable way.” (Source: Guilfordian)
“The work she has done building relationships with students, particularly with the MLSP (Multicultural Leadership Scholars Program) and the work of directing with the IEC (Intercultural Engagement Center)…is so critical, creating safe spaces for students to engage in conversation about difficult things outside the classroom,” Hood said. “(Her) greatest achievement is helping Guilford manage difficult conversations about race, gender and sexuality, equity and diversity.” (Source: Guilfordian)
A Spiritual Guide
As an interesting twist of fate, I have spent the past 2 years sitting under the ministry gifts of Jim Hood’s wife, Quaker Minister Sara Beth Terrell. When I first joined her class, none of us had any clue that her husband would be named interim president almost 2 years later. Sara Beth is a powerful woman of God and spiritual guide. Through her teachings on silence and spiritual gifts, my family and I are forever changed. These Quaker practices will definitely travel with me to the Mount.
Words from Guilford Student
“Something I’ll miss is just being able to go into her office and to talk to her,” said Mariam Sheriff. “When I first transferred to Guilford, the first person I met was Krishauna, and we bonded over the fact (that) we both spoke Spanish and were both Black. She was just so friendly and warm, so walking into the Intercultural Engagement Center and not seeing her is definitely going to be hard and I’m going to miss that.” (Source: Guilfordian)
Words from Guilford Colleague
“The ability to have her as a colleague here on campus has been really amazing because we bring two different perspectives on a number of joint projects,” said Gwen Erickson. “…To have someone to partner and collaborate (with) is always wonderful, but maybe even more so when it’s someone that you know brings such joy and understanding to the work…that’s just something that I’ll miss. (I enjoyed) being able to have that touch point of…a colleague whose skills and instincts I trust and having someone you can pass an idea back and forth with and bring it to fruition.” Co-chairing the Curry-Coffin Commission on Slavery, Race and Recognition with Gwen was some of the most meaningful work to which I contributed while at Guilford College. (Source: Guilfordian)
I begin my position at the Mount in January 2022! Stay tuned for more blogs and vlogs to document this new phase of life.