Department of Gender Studies

Department of Gender Studies
Department of Gender Studies

Queen's new Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator is a Gender Studies MA grad

Wednesday November 8, 2017

By Phil Gaudreau, Senior Communications Officer

Queen’s alumna, Vanessa Yzaguirre (MA'16), is the first person to hold the new post as the Division of Student Affairs' new Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator.

Vanessa Yzaguirre (MA’16) is someone who likes to make things happen. She is also someone who is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusivity. And she enjoys working with students.

It is this combination which drew Ms. Yzaguirre to a new role in the Division of Student Affairs. Recently, she became the portfolio’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator.

“My main goal is to spark conversations about identity, diversity, and inclusivity in order to start shifting the culture around it,” she says. “I hope that this position really helps to find ways for students from equity-seeking groups to express their thoughts and creates a climate where all feel welcome and appreciated for who they are and what they have to say.”

Ms. Yzaguirre’s work with students and student groups will inform division-wide programming and services, and help to increase the visibility of the supports that are available across campus and in the community for underrepresented students and student groups.

“The addition of this new position reflects a major priority for the Division of Student Affairs,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “It is central to aligning all of our efforts to support the development of a sense of belonging for all students within the Queen’s community, and build a more inclusive and welcoming learning and living environment.”

This position will support the Student Experience Office and the division in its student transition, development, and leadership program work. It reports to Assistant Dean, Student Life and Learning Corinna Fitzgerald, who says the creation of the new role responds to a need.

“One of the first orders of business is to complete an environmental scan of what we are already doing, what’s working, and what might need to be changed or added,” says Ms. Fitzgerald. “While we have lots of programs and services at Queen’s, we are always looking to improve, and we believe that having a dedicated position within Student Affairs will help.”

Ms. Yzaguirre joins Student Affairs from the Queen’s Human Rights Office. She holds a masters of arts in Gender Studies from Queen’s, and an undergraduate degree in Media and Communications from the University Central de Venezuela.

“I think it is essential that all of our students feel like a part of the Queen’s and Kingston community,” adds Ms. Yzaguirre. “If we want to create future leaders and shape people’s minds through education, it is important that students make the most out of their university years, and that won’t happen if they don’t feel included. We need to use the power of education to build a diverse and inclusive Queen’s community.”

The position supports the division’s goal to enhance programs and services to serve the diversity of the student population and promote an inclusive campus; it also aligns with the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI)’s final report.

To learn more about the Division of Student Affairs’ goals, visit queensu.ca/studentaffairs/about/division-goals.  

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