Metropolitan State University of Denver is partnering with Community College of Denver and University of Colorado Denver to host the Higher Education Diversity Summit on April 7-8. The goal of this year’s event is to find new ways to advance as Hispanic-Serving Institutions and better support students. 

The Summit’s theme “Leaning Critically into HSI/MSI Servingness” aligns with MSU Denver’s strategic plan through student-centered academic excellence, being a civic and economic catalyst and through diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Keynote speakers for the event will be Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, Ph.D., and Marla Franco, Ph.D. Wanzer-Serrano is the associate head for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor at Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University. Franco is assistant vice provost for HSI initiatives and faculty affiliate at the University of Arizona. 

The goal of the summit is to give educators and staff members a convening space to engage in conversations about how to cultivate a well-rounded experience as an HSI. Workshops are intended to “empower faculty and staff to create culturally responsive pedagogies and practices that enhance the learning communities at MSU Denver,” Michael Benitez, MSU Denver vice president for Diversity and Inclusion said. 

The conference will offer various sessions focusing on the commitment of HSI practitioners through grants, legislative efforts and policy, accessibility, student experience and decolonizing professionalism. There will also be two plenary sessions discussing student support and the history of HSIs on the Auraria Campus and networking sessions. Session descriptions are available on the HEDS website. 

“We are excited to bring an in-person and online conference experience to our attendees who will network and share their knowledge while learning effective strategies to develop collective ownership and innovation,” Manuel Del Real, Ph.D., MSU Denver executive director of HSI Initiatives and Inclusion said. 

Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend in hopes of walking away with “new insights and ideas with innovative, effective and promising curricular practices to implement at their respective institutions,” Benitez said. 

There will also be a Pozole Y Poesía event that will close out the Summit featuring poets from the community and Pozole from La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal. Featured poets are MSU Denver alum Bobby LeFebre, Suzi Q, Franklin Cruz, Lolita Mendoza Castañeda, Roberto Montoya, Chief Educational Equity Officer for Colorado Department of Higher Education and MSU Denver’s own Benitez. 

The event is free for MSU Denver students, faculty and staff members. Register here today.