Southern Utah University
Schvalla Rivera

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University has appointed Schvalla Rivera, dean of students at Western Nebraska Community College, as the new assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion.

“I am so very happy to be here at SUU,” Rivera said in a statement. “I look forward to working with campus and community partners to increase our understanding of diversity and inclusion. I believe that conversation is an important step in learning about new people, places and things. We must engage with one another, so that we can learn from one another. Only then can we grow together.”

The new position was developed to implement diversity and equity opportunities across all aspects on campus. Rivera will function as a subject matter expert on institutional diversity and inclusion as it relates to governance, administrative policies, and federal and state regulations.

Other responsibilities include working with enrollment management to recruit and admit students with diverse backgrounds, collaborating with human resources to identify and hire a diverse pool of applicants and institute ongoing diversity trainings for new and current employees, and develop community outreach strategies that focus on building positive relationships between the community and underrepresented populations.

Rivera earned both her master’s in political science and doctorate in curriculum and instruction with specialization in teaching, learning and leadership from Indiana State University.

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She is certified in both psychological first aid and Title IX and civil rights investigators. She is also a certified diversity executive, which comes from at least five years of progressive work experience in the field of diversity or human resources.

According to the statement, while SUU has some faculty and staff members from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, there are currently no African-American or Native American faculty members and only one Latino faculty member outside of those who teach languages. At the same time, students of color have grown to more than 10 percent of the student body as a whole.