Until We Meet Again: Vice-Chancellor Dr. Wilson’s reflection on DEI and retirement

To my UMKC Family,

Another new year has come around. Many of us are glad to say goodbye to 2020. COVID-19 changed the lives of everyone and every organization. We mourned the loss of loved ones, worked from home, and lived with a persistent fear of becoming sick. With the availability of a vaccine, hope and help are on the horizon. Like dark clouds scattering at the end of a rainstorm, the sun has begun to shine again with optimism and new possibilities.

A big change has also come about for me.  On January 4, I retired from my position of Vice-Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion. You should know that this was a very difficult decision, because I loved my job and more importantly, the people with whom I had the privilege to work. Yet I had to follow my internal voice, which was telling me it was time to rest after a demanding career,  spend precious time with family, and strike a new path.

Luckily for me, I will still be helping UMKC on a contractual basis. This arrangement makes saying goodbye less painful.

Nonetheless, I began to think about what words about diversity, equity and inclusion  I would leave you with. I hope these words are helpful reminders.

-Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work is never done. Never rest on your laurels and believe that enough has been done.

– DEI includes us all, and it truly is everyone’s job.

-Commit to being a lifelong learner, even when new learning makes you feel uncomfortable.

– Be brave! Venture outside of your comfort zone. Staying safe with the same people, places and things does not allow you to broaden your horizon.

-Always remember that we are preparing our students to be citizens of a global world. This means students must learn the capacity to interact with various languages, cultures, and customs, without negative judgment.

-More and more, the education we provide must be responsive to the ever-changing needs of our diverse student population.

I wish you all the best in your DEI journey!

With that said, I will not say goodbye.  I will simply say “See you later” or  “Arrivederci” meaning “Until we meet again,” in Italian.