After the 2011-12 university reaccreditation, a lack of diversity at the University of South Dakota was
Jesus Trevino takes over as the associate vice president for Diversity, having previously served as the associate provost for Multicultural Excellence at the University of Denver.
Trevino’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, as well as a doctorate in education with an emphasis on higher education from UCLA. Trevino’s previous work experience includes similar positions at Southern Methodist University and Arizona State University.
Trevino said he took the position because he wanted to make an impact at a higher level.
“This is a high level position,” Trevino said. “Here, I’m going to get the opportunity to work with the deans and the vice chancellors and the president to try to make a difference in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness.”
For Trevino, improving diversity and inclusiveness is tackling two separate issues that are directly related to each other.
“Diversity is about numbers: how do we increase numbers? How do we support and make sure those communities, once they come here, are thriving and succeeding?” he said. “Inclusiveness is once they are here, how do we make sure they are included in everything we do?
Trevino said increasing involvement throughout the university and creating a welcoming, positive campus climate are goals that fall under the realm of diversity.
His ultimate goal is to see a rise in numbers while maintaining an inclusive environment for people of any gender, ethnicity, nationality, age and sexuality.
Jason Murray, the new associate officer for Diversity, joins Trevino in the diversity office. He joins Trevino after working as the director of the Indian University of North America, a summer program held in partnership with Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and USD.
Murray’s educational background includes extensive education at several regional universities in Oklahoma. Murray holds a doctorate in English, which he completed at USD in 2005.
Murray said his familiarity with the state of South Dakota, as well as the university, made him confident in his decision to take the position.
“In the process (of working towards a doctorate), I got to know the area and enjoyed it; good people, it’s a good place. It kind of stuck,” Murray said.
Murray’s Native American background also had an impact on his decision to take the position with USD.
“As a Native person, a Chickasaw, I was very in-tune with Native issues,” Murray said. “When I came up here and I began to work with, meet and understand the Plains Natives, particularly the Lakota people. This (position) seemed to be another avenue that I could not only continue to learn myself, but help add a voice and foster relationships between Natives and non-Natives.”
Murray echoed similar objectives as Trevino: to increase efforts in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness.
Reach reporter Creighton Hoefer at Creighton.Hoefer@coyotes.usd.edu.