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Mendoza to lead diversity and inclusion efforts

Pablo Mendoza
Dr. Pablo Mendoza started in his role as director of diversity and inclusion at UNG on Feb. 11.

Dr. Pablo Mendoza has been named the first director of diversity and inclusion at the University of North Georgia (UNG). He started in his new role Feb. 11.

Kate Maine, UNG chief of staff, said Mendoza will collaborate with individuals and groups at UNG and beyond to promote diversity and inclusion efforts that inform and enrich the university’s teaching, learning and work.

"UNG has a long-standing reputation for educational excellence and a mission focused on developing globally prepared leaders. As a large university with five campuses, UNG reflects the wide-reaching diversity of this region, and we know that leveraging our differences and ensuring that we are a welcoming, diverse and inclusive organization contributes to our success on all levels," Maine said.

Mendoza said national population trends are moving in a direction where no majority group will exist in the near future.

"We are preparing students to live in a more diverse and demographically changing environment than has existed in the recent past," Mendoza said. "Diversity and inclusion are added benefits for the cross-cultural competency of students, faculty and staff."

Dr. Lauren Johnson, chair of the search committee, assistant professor of teacher education and coordinator of diversity and recruitment initiatives for the College of Education, said she was impressed with Mendoza's experience and his vision for UNG.

"It's an important position," Johnson said. "He did a great job of understanding the needs of our institution and providing insight into ways someone in that position could develop the university's focus on diversity and inclusion."

Dr. Harrison Davis, associate professor of counseling and coordinator of inclusion excellence in UNG's College of Health Sciences and Professions, said Mendoza brings great talent and experience to "a critical role." Davis, who chairs UNG's Diversity Council, said Mendoza will help raise awareness of diversity and how community members can respect and work with those who are different from them.

"We need to recognize some of the unique needs of various groups that make up our campus communities," Davis said.

Mendoza looks forward to working with university leaders, including those in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Corps of Cadets, and the Office of Student Life, as well as faculty members, staff and students to collect baseline data about diversity and inclusion at UNG and use it as a launching point.

"Diversity and inclusion work is not just one person's job," Mendoza said.

Mendoza, who has regularly provided training on diversity in higher education and the corporate world, hopes to facilitate a climate where these considerations are central in everything the university does.

Mendoza earned his Doctor of Philosophy from University of Missouri, Columbia; his Master of Arts in East Asian and Pacific studies at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and a bachelor's degree in non-Western history from the University of San Diego.

Mendoza comes from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he served as assistant to the president for social equity and chief diversity officer since 2013. Prior to that, he was Multicultural Center director from 1998 to 2013 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He previously served as coordinator of student activities and acting assistant dean at University of California at San Diego and community development coordinator for the Residential Life Office at University of California at Davis.

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