Laying the Groundwork for Brighter Futures: Pathways to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Administration

Panel discussion
Day 1: November 14, 2022 | 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Varsity Hall

Session Video

Session Materials

A large, detailed graphic visualization in red, black and white.
Graphic recording by Sherrill Knezel of the Diversity Forum 2022 session: “Laying the Groundwork for Brighter Futures: Pathways to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Administration.” Tap to view the full-size image.

Session Description

Belonging is a crucial ingredient for success in any professional environment. But while most academic and industry leaders desire to create an atmosphere of belonging, the pathway is often unclear. In this session, a panel of UW leaders with diverse experience and expertise will discuss ways to break barriers and move toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion while amplifying previously untold stories of those who endeavored to do the same. The panelists will share a framework for approaching this work based upon efforts from different parts of UW–Madison intended to promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion, including high-impact educational strategies and best practices for fostering a sense of belonging. Participants will take away valuable knowledge and insights into this framework that they can use to affect change in their workplaces to move toward a more equitable and inclusive future.


Shiva Bidar-Sielaff

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, M.A., C.D.M., is the associate dean for diversity and equity transformation in the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), where she leads a comprehensive effort to embed equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism as imperatives in the school’s missions. She is also the UW Health vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and leads a cross-functional office that consists of the SMPH Office of Diversity and Equity Transformation and the UW Health Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She facilitates alignment and progress in areas such as learning and education, faculty and staff support, equity in systems, policies and processes, support for basic science departments and their training programs, and programmatic accountability. Bidar-Sielaff is an established leader and effective champion for advancing equity and diversity at the individual, organizational, and community levels.

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Christian Castro

Christian Castro, D.Th., is the inaugural associate dean for inclusion, equity, and diversity at the UW–Madison College of Engineering. He joined Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence (MTLE) program in 2015 and assumed the role of program director in 2019. In his time with MTLE, Castro worked as a core facilitator and mentor for fourteen cohorts, including over 150 faculty fellows. He is a recognized national thought leader, scholar and facilitator in equity, diversity and inclusion in teaching. His research interests span faculty professional identity development, sense of belonging and self-efficacy regulation, and the effects of instructional interventions on student learning. Most recently, he has been part of a research team investigating the effects of virtual reality as an instructional tool in the teaching of functional neuroanatomy.

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Catherine Chan

Catherine Chan, Ph.D., is the assistant vice provost for high impact practices in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, where she provides administrative, operational, and strategic leadership for the DDEEA’s high-impact educational efforts. Dr. Chan leads the development, cultivation and implementation of the division’s framework for enhancing student experiences through high-impact educational practice programs and initiatives, including common intellectual experiences, undergraduate research, global learning, service and community-based learning, internships, and student employment. Before joining UW–Madison in June 2022, Dr. Chan was a professor of biology and executive director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UW–Eau Claire, where she worked to design, implement and improve equity-minded academic programs and high-impact educational practices. She earned her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from UW–Madison.

Thumbnail of speaker Catherine Chan.

Raul A. Leon

Raul Leon, Ph.D., is the assistant vice provost for student engagement and scholarship programs in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement at UW–Madison, where he provides administrative, operational, and strategic leadership for the DDEEA’s student engagement and scholarship programs and serves as executive director of the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program. As assistant vice provost, Dr. Leon oversees and directs a portfolio of identity-based scholarship programs. As executive director of the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program, he leads and manages institutional-level strategic outreach, academic support, and student engagement initiatives for one of the university’s longest-standing and most highly regarded scholarship programs. He was named one of “Wisconsin’s Most Influential Latino Leaders” for 2022 by Madison365. Before rejoining UW–Madison in June 2022, Dr. Leon was a professor in the Department of Leadership and Counseling at Eastern Michigan University, where he taught graduate-level courses in higher education and student affairs while keeping an active research agenda. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from UW–Madison and his master’s degree from the UW–Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Thumbnail of speaker Raul A. Leon.

Michael States

Michael J. States, J.D., joined the Law School in December 2021 as the inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. Before coming to UW Law, he was the assistant dean for admissions, financial aid, and diversity initiatives at The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kansas and his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law. Dr. States began his law school administration career as the associate director of admissions at the UIC John Marshall Law School. He has been the director of admissions at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and the assistant dean for enrollment management at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Stuart Graduate School of Business. From 2004 to 2015, he was the assistant dean for admissions and financial aid at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

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DeVon Wilson

DeVon Wilson, M.S.Ed., is the inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Letters & Science. Wilson works with the dean and the senior leadership team to advance the college’s inclusive excellence priorities. In addition to leading strategic diversity and inclusion efforts in the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented faculty, staff and students, Wilson supports research and curriculum planning initiatives that advance the college’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion. A first-generation college student, Wilson earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Beloit College and worked there in admissions and student affairs, becoming assistant dean of students after earning his master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University. Wilson has advanced diversity, equity and inclusion on a national level, including serving as an executive coach for chief diversity officers at selected public and private universities through the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation (CSDLSI) in Atlanta, GA.

Thumbnail of speaker DeVon Wilson.