Spring 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the Board

Please join us in welcoming and celebrating Dr. Florencio U. Aranda III! They will serve as our Vice President of Legislative Advocacy.

Dr. Florencio U. Aranda III, a frontera native of Presidio, Texas and Ojinaga, Chihuahua, México, has dedicated his life to leadership, service, advocacy, and research. With the passing of his baby sister, he turned his life toward education and achieved five postsecondary degrees. Dr. Aranda obtained a B.A. in Spanish & Political Science, M.A. in Romance Languages, M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Texas Tech University (TTU) and an M.L.S. in Legal Studies from Arizona State University. His extensive education has allowed him to advocate for underrepresented and underserved students while being called upon to share his life's narrative and academic research.

Dr. Aranda serves as the Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Texas Christian University. Prior to arriving at Texas Christian University, Dr. Aranda worked as a student affairs professional and diversity advocate as the Multicultural Latino/a/x Retention Advisor in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at South Dakota State University (SDSU), where he focused on the retention and degree completion of Latinx students. Before SDSU, he served as the Assistant Director of Safety Interventions for the TTU College of Education's East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood Grant.

Moreover, he advocates for diversity, inclusion, equity, access, and multiculturalism in U.S. Higher Education as the President of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) and as Secretary for the Mexican American College Education Fund, Inc. Dr. Aranda strives to be an agent of change for diverse communities and has made it his mission to serve others and to lead by example in the educational, political, and cultural arenas he navigates.

Sridevi Rao (she/her) will serve as our Vice President of Membership. She is an educator with over 10 years of experience working in diversity, equity and inclusion, leadership development, student activities/event management, crisis management, retention and student success. Sridevi holds a B.S. degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from Lehigh University and a M.S.Ed. degree in Higher Education from The University of Pennsylvania. She then attained a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education and Comparative and International Education from The Pennsylvania State University with dissertation work using a Critical Race Theory lens to explore the nuanced experiences and intersectionality of identities in students of color.

Sridevi is passionate about creating equitable environments where students, staff, and faculty can thrive and has previously worked to increase women, non-binary students, and students of color in STEM pipelines through a holistic support program. She continued this in her career by helping build a new holistic support program, UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars, at The University of Texas at Austin. Sridevi currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Paul Quinn College where she manages special projects and provides oversight and leadership to the unit.

Sridevi loves traveling and taking advantage of any travel deals that come her way. She has been to over 20 countries and is itching to explore and experience more of this wonderful world! In her free time, she also enjoys playing tennis, yoga, reading, shopping, doing random acts of kindness, and trying out new restaurants with friends.

Shawntal Brown, M.A. will serve as our Vice President of Student Development. She hails from Oklahoma City, where she has received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Thereafter, she moved to Austin, TX in 2017 to pursue her Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at UT Austin. After receiving her Master's, she was hired as a student program coordinator in the Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program at the Cockrell School of Engineering. For 2.5 years, she supported the vision of the program to help recruit, retain, and graduate underrepresented students in engineering.

As the Senior Outreach Coordinator, Inclusive Campus Support, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, she hopes to continue to build connections with students, faculty, and staff at UT Austin. She is looking forward to supporting the efforts to create an equitable and inclusive campus for all. Additionally, Shawntal is a part-time doctoral student in the Leadership in Higher Education Program, in which her research interests are focused on campus climate and diversity dishonesty.

Darius Jones is a servant leader from Dallas, Texas. He will serve as our Vice President of Communications. He found his passion for student involvement while attending Texas State University where he obtained his Bachelor’s in Communication Studies from in 2014. This interest in student affairs let him to Oklahoma State University where he received his Master’s in Educational Leadership Studies in 2016. While at OSU, he was the Graduate Assistant for the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs. After graduating, Darius took a leap of faith and moved to Lawrence, Kansas when he began his first professional role as the Coordinator in Sorority & Fraternity Life, providing service and advocacy for the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council at The University of Kansas. It was at KU, Darius found a community that centered Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that contributed to his knowledge and social justice journey. In 2018, Darius returned to his home state and began his new role as the Assistant Director in Sorority and Fraternity Life at The University of Texas at Austin. It was here, Darius was able to combine his passion for Greek letter organizations and apply his knowledge of DEI in this role. Now Darius has returned to the DFW area where he serves as the Associate Director in the Center for Student Development at Texas Woman's University. In this capacity he provides support to their Greek Life community along with the Terry Scholars Program. As a first-generation graduate, Darius knows that none of what he has accomplished would have been possible without the sacrifice of others and mentors that have poured into him. Outside of his work life, Darius is in the last year of his doctoral program at St. Edwards University, working out with Camp Gladiator and enjoying spending time with his finance as they plan their wedding!

Dr. Shante Hackworth will serve as our Vice President of Finance. She also serves as the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. She holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration. She has over a decade of experience as an administrator in higher education finance serving in various roles such as procurement, grants management, budget, compliance, audit, and general accounting. Dr. Hackworth joined the staff at Tarleton in November 2021. Prior to joining the staff at Tarleton she served as the Senior Academic & Business Director for University of North Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Hackworth has served on various university and department committees at UNTHSC including Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Chair for the College of Pharmacy, the Presidents People and Culture Council, Executive Leadership Council, and various Budget and Finance Committees. Dr. Hackworth currently serves on the compliance committee for Tarleton State University. Dr. Hackworth also continues to develop her research with her primary research interest focusing on funding for institutions of higher education in the State of Texas.

Virtual Q&A Session: Trans Texans Rights in Jeopardy Recap

In response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s new interpretation of state law that says that providing children with certain types of gender affirming medical care as abuse, TADOHE hosted Policy & Advocacy Strategist-LGBTQIA+, Adri Perez to understand the proposed law as ways we can support the trans community during this time of attack on March 7. Below are some resources that were shared following the event.

HBCU Spotlight Series

We hope you continue to enjoy learning more about the Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are located in the state of Texas. Below is a recap of our features so far:

1. Jarvis Christian College not only supports students of African-American descent, but 20% of their population comes from other backgrounds.

2. St. Philips College is the only institution in the nation that is both an HBCU and an HSI.

3. Texas College recently received Texas Education Agency (TEA) accreditation status.

4. Huston-Tillotson University was the only provider of education for African Americans in Central Texas prior to the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954.

4. Paul Quinn College has a new admissions philosophy that has allowed over 400 admitted students from five high schools in Fort Worth, TX to select two family members or friends to enroll with them to pursue their own certificate or degree.

5. Prairie View A&M University was the first Texas college for African Americans to be supported by the state and is the second oldest public higher education institution in Texas.

6. Texas Southern University announced two partnerships with major airlines in March. One with Southwest airlines as a university partner in their First Officer recruitment program and the other with United Airlines in the university's Aviation Science and Technology program which includes a professional pilot concentration

7.Wiley College announced during the Spring commencement that students will graduate debt free after a donor anonymously paid off their debt to the institution

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Recent Events

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, NADOHE, recognized their 2022 Inclusive Excellence Award recipients and our very own TADOHE President, Dr. Skyller Walkes received the 2022 Rising Star Award for her dedication of moving the needle and advancing justice in higher education. You can view the full list of recipients using this link

Invitation to Join TADOHE

Are you seeking to become a member of TADOHE? You can join as an individual member or become a member through your institution. Information on membership pricing and levels can be found using this link.