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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

WSU commits to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with new division

Photo of Adrienne Andrews at Graduation Ceremony

In January 2022, WSU President Brad Mortensen announced the creation of the Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with Adrienne Andrews, former university assistant vice president for diversity and chief diversity officer, serving as vice president.
The division advances the goal of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion outlined in the university’s latest strategic plan, Weber State Amplified, a 5-year plan for growth, which affirms the university’s commitment to become an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution by increasing the percentage of students who identify as Hispanic or Latino to 15% by fall 2025.
“Embracing the diversity of our campus community is pivotal to Weber State’s mission,” Andrews said. “With this new division, it is an opportunity to build upon previous progress and continue cultivating an environment of inclusion, understanding and respect.”
Programs, centers and offices formerly housed in Student Affairs and the President’s Office help make up the new division. Along with aligning programs that support students, the division provides a central point of leadership for equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives related to faculty, staff, curriculum, human resources and community.
“The leadership and support of and for students, faculty and staff at all levels is manifest in the work of equity, diversity and inclusion as we strive together for the success of all,” Andrews said.

Photo of Jai’auna Jefferson

Scholarship helps student shoot for success

“What do you want to do when you grow up?”

Jai’auna Jefferson recalled being asked that question in elementary school and realizing even then she would need a college degree, whether she pursued her childhood love of animals and became a veterinarian or worked in psychology

Utah Jazz Scholars by the Numbers


students selected for
the 2021–22 Academic Year

Jordyn Beddow
Jai’Auna Jefferson
Gabriela Rosas Calderon
Angel Solis


scholars coming to
Weber State in fall 2022

Estrella Chavez Fernandez
Jennifer Duenaz
Emma Fernandez
Abdifatah Hassan
Princess Peralta
Jasmin Rangel
Elias West

Now a sophomore at Weber State, Jefferson is on her way toward earning that degree, and one thing she doesn’t have to worry about is how to pay for college.

She is one of four Weber State students, and 30 statewide, who were part of an inaugural cohort that received a full-ride scholarship, courtesy of the Utah Jazz. Salt Lake City’s NBA franchise established the scholarship in 2020 as a way to help students from traditionally underrepresented groups pursue their educational goals.

At Weber State, Jefferson is exploring her interest in social relationships and institutions as a sociology major, and plans to eventually become a professor. Based on her love of animals, she’s also interested in becoming a dog breeder. Her two favorite breeds are poodles and havaneses.

Ironically, Jefferson has never been a Jazz fan. By her own admission, she’s more of a “football girl.” Beginning in eighth grade, she served as the team manager for her high school football team. “I’m not much of a sports girl, but I do like attending games in person.”

Ultimately, Jefferson hopes her education will allow her to help people.

“The idea of helping others makes me happy,” she said. “Plus, if there’s dogs along the way, that never hurts.”


Photo of Garrett Potokar

WSUSA creates LGBTQ+ student senator position

In spring 2022, Garrett Potokar, a professional sales student, made history as Weber State’s first LGBTQ+ student senator, filling the inaugural role as an advocate for previously unrepresented students.

“A lot of other groups have senators, which is amazing,” Potokar said. “I think every group should be represented in the senate and that every student deserves a voice. LGBT students didn’t have a voice before now.”

While working as a graphic designer for the Weber State University Student Association (WSUSA), Potokar realized there was little LGBTQ+ representation in the group.

“I saw there were changes that needed to be made, and I’ve had past leadership positions,” Potokar said. “As part of the student senate, I wanted to help pass legislation, get things going and make campus a safer space for everyone.”

In order to move forward quickly for spring 2022, Potokar was selected through an interview process. During his semster in the role, Potokar passed several pieces of legislation, making it easier for students to change their names and identifying pronouns, providing easier access to LGBTQ+ resources and supporting transgender athletes.

“It’s been amazing being in close collaboration with constituents and senators alike. It’s truly been a labor of love from not just me, but also from everyone I’ve worked with,” Potokar said. “I really hit the ground running, and it was exhilarating to pass such large legislation in such a short time.”

In fall 2022, Potokar will serve as the executive VP for WSUSA. He plans to focus on increasing awareness of the student senate and continuing his mission to ensure all students have a voice on campus. He will also serve as the acting parliamentarian, a role that oversees the student senate and ensures that proper parliamentary procedure is followed.

Jazmyne Olson, a public relations and advertising major, will serve as LGBTQ+ senator for the 2022–23 academic year.

Photo of Yudi Lewis

Weber State moves toward eHSI goal

Weber State University is on its way to becoming an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution.

After receiving a $500,000 commitment from Ally Financial Inc. in the fall of 2021, divisions across the university have been working toward the goal, which is part of the university’s strategic plan, Weber State Amplified, a 5-year plan for growth.

In the plan, Weber State committed to increasing the percentage of students who identify as Hispanic or Latino to 15% by fall 2025. Achieving this goal will position Weber State to work toward increasing its Hispanic or Latino population to 25% and achieving the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) federal designation. Eventually becoming an HSI will benefit all Weber State students by increasing access, retention, student support services and faculty development.

“Becoming an eHSI institution is about strategically positioning students to transition from high school to a certificate or degree enabling them to work in the field they’re passionate about, and, in turn, benefiting our communities and Utah’s economy.”
— Yudi Lewis

To help reach this goal, the university has hired an executive director of HSI Initiatives using the resources provided by Ally.

Yudi Lewis, who came to Weber State in September after 25 years of experience at Utah Valley University, works to develop effective strategies, relationships and communications with faculty, staff, students, community groups, educational entities and funding agencies.

Adrienne Andrews, vice president of WSU’s newly created Equity, Diversity and Inclusion division, said Weber State needs to be more intentional to meet northern Utah’s workforce needs, and becoming an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution is a big part of that.

Data from the 2020 Census show that 26.5% of Utah’s population growth between 2010 and 2020 was driven by the Hispanic and Latino population. By becoming an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution, WSU’s Hispanic and Latino enrollment can keep pace with this growing population.

In fall 2021, about 12% of WSU’s enrolled full-time equivalent students (those taking 15 credit hours) identified as Hispanic or Latino, and enrollments have hovered in that range for the last five years with a slight upward trend.

“We know it’s meaningful for students, faculty, staff and the future of Weber State University,” Andrews said. “This will help us be ready and available to all students who seek to come here.”

Increase in Concurrent Enrollment diversity


Weber State’s third-week fall enrollment for 2021 increased slightly to 29,774 students compared to the 2020 enrollment of 29,596. In addition, the total number of students in Concurrent Enrollment (CE) courses, which award college credit in high school, increased 6.4% and the number of students who self-identify as Black, Asian, American Indian or Pacific Islander in CE courses increased 9.8%.

Improved hiring of underrepresented faculty and staff


Weber State continues to make strides toward its goal of improving hiring and retention of faculty and staff from underrepresented populations from 11% to 20%.

During the 2021–22 academic year, 22.39% of faculty and staff hires were from underrepresented groups, an increase of 6% from 2019–20.


Photo of Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski and Nicola Corbin

Weber State ramps up inclusive teaching

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski, associate provost, and Nicola Corbin, Teaching & Learning Forum director, are spearheading a new endeavor to help improve inclusive teaching practices at Weber State University.

Through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), WSU is providing two training opportunities, Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning (ITEL) and Effective Teaching Practices (ETP), for faculty to learn more about inclusive teaching techniques. The programs were first suggested by Provost Ravi Krovi, who then tasked Marsteller Kowalewski and Corbin with implementing the courses.

“I think our faculty are interested in becoming inclusive teachers, but they need more confidence to do that,” Corbin said. “It’s a fraught world, so doing this work can be scary. But I think we have great teachers, so hopefully this provides them with more confidence to bring this important work into the classroom.”

The ITEL course was offered to two cohorts of faculty in summer 2022, with a third cohort made up of new faculty starting in fall 2022. Faculty who teach influential lower-division courses will participate in the 25-week ETP course during the fall 2022 semester.