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Reframing the Conversation: Driving Belonging on a Diverse Campus

February 8 @ 12:15 pm 1:30 pm MST

The fact that students notice more diverse campuses is a wonderful first step, but there is more work to be done to foster a sense of belonging. Mary Ann Villarreal, Inside Higher Ed

Higher education is increasingly diverse due in large part to the growing diversity of our students. The American Council on Education, in its 2019 study, “Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education,” reported that approximately 45% of undergraduate students on college campuses identify as people of color, a significant gain of 30% over two decades. At the University of Utah, we’ve witnessed a 72% increase in diversity as “31% of domestic incoming freshmen are students of color, up from 18% in 2009.” 

But all this new diversity on college campuses creates new challenges for schools that are trying to create a sense of belonging among students in their communities.  

In this Reframing the Conversation discussion, we’ll examine how universities and colleges can foster belonging and inclusion on campuses where students increasingly come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a multitude of perspectives, experiences, and values. We’ll explore new practices for engaging students in the planning and execution of events and activities—and we’ll investigate how resources can be used to affirm student identities and serve as welcoming spaces for diverse communities.

Reframing the Conversation is a monthly hybrid series. Attendees can join in person at the Hinckley Caucus Room (GC 2018) or virtually on the Reframing the Conversation webpage.


portrait of Susie Porter

Susie Porter

Professor, Department of History & Division of Gender Studies
Director of Latin American Studies
The University of Utah


Porter (she/her), Professor and Presidential Societal Impact Scholar, is faculty in History and Gender Studies. She is the author of two award-winning books; two community engagement curricula; two edited volumes; a historical documents reader; and over 13 articles and essays. Her research focuses on the intersections of racial formations, gender, and class identities in Mexico. She was named Distinguished Professor in the Humanities (2019) and received the Transform Research Award (2022). Porter serves as a country conditions expert for asylum cases and was a founder of the Westside Leadership Institute (Spanish language version).

portrait of Rodney Cohen

Rodney T. Cohen, EdD, MAE

HBCU Partnerships Manager; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The University of Utah


Rodney T. Cohen (he/him) has served as a career professional in higher education. His work has included equity, access, institutional advancement and strategic collaboration. Currently serving as an Ambassador for the U, Cohen is engaged in ways to connect the U with select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around student internships, research, faculty and student exchange. He is a second-generation graduate of an HBCU and has written extensively on the subject. In addition to his dissertation from Vanderbilt University, where he examined the financial giving behaviors, attitudes and perceptions of HBCU alumni, he has also published two books and a number of articles on the history, culture and alumni participation at HBCUs. Cohen has served on the faculty and held appointments at such institutions as Morehouse College, Northern Illinois University, Yale, Notre Dame, Fisk and North Carolina A&T. Cohen holds degrees from Clark Atlanta, Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt universities. In addition, he is a lifelong collector of HBCU ephemera, memorabilia and literature.

portrait of Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson, PhD

Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management
The University of Utah


Steve Robinson is the University of Utah’s Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. In this role, Steve serves as the University’s chief enrollment strategist, overseeing the offices of Admissions, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, Orientation and Transition, and the University Registrar. Before joining the University, in the summer of 2019, Steve served as the Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff for Student Services and Enrollment Management at the University of Oregon. Prior to joining University of Oregon, he served as the University Registrar at West Virginia University and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Steve earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama. Steve also holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from West Virginia University.

Hinckley Caucus Room (GC 2018)

260 Central Campus Drive, Room 2018
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
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Women's Week

Reframing the Conversation

Reframing the Conversation brings together experts from across campus and the community to spark important conversations around racism, othering and safety. While continuing to identify and remove barriers and bias incidents targeting our campus community, persistent strides towards an institution where every member is given the opportunity to be educated on equity, diversity and inclusion efforts will remain at the forefront of our work.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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Hinckley Institute

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