Home Education Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Features Two University of Phoenix Leaders

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Features Two University of Phoenix Leaders

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Features Two University of Phoenix Leaders

Forty-five percent of American workers experienced discrimination at work in the past year. What’s worse, the majority of women in the workforce feel excluded from decision-making. With more Americans seeking out diverse workplaces, it’s never been more important to highlight professionals’ contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education is a publication that does just that. For over 30 years, Diverse has shared the news, commentary, interviews, and special reports that tackle the complexities of diversity in higher education.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Diverse released its 11th annual special report detailing women’s contributions to diversity in higher education. In the March 2022 edition of Diverse, the publication featured 25 female leaders with extraordinary contributions to higher education. To qualify for the distinguished list, these leaders needed to exhibit strong management skills as well as evidence that they have made meaningful change in their higher education community.

In an article on Yahoo! News, the University of Phoenix announced that Diverse featured not one but two of its leaders from the Office of Educational Equity in the March 2022 report.

Saray Lopez, MBA, director, Student Diversity & Inclusion, and Tondra Richardson, MBA, director, Student Diversity & Inclusion, not only worked to make diversity, equity, and inclusion part of the University’s mission but for higher education as a whole. Diverse selected Lopez and Richardson based on the national visibility of their DEI efforts, which proved that this work is possible even in larger, national institutions.

Learn more about Lopez and Richardson’s experience and how they’re challenging the status quo in higher education.

About Saray Lopez

Saray Lopez is an accomplished professional who studied at the New Leadership Academy Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

She serves on the board of Achieving My Purpose and also serves on committees such as:

  • Tempe Union High District Community Diversity Advisory Committee
  • Arizona Multicultural Education Conference Committee
  • Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce DATOS Research Committee

Lopez has been recognized for her work by the Diversity Leadership Alliance, which honored her with its Inclusive Leader Award.

In addition to her work with DEI, Lopez is a first-generation Ph.D. student. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Tondra Richardson’s Achievements

Tondra Richardson has 20 years of experience in higher education including 15 years of experience with the University of Phoenix’s Office of Dispute Management.

Richardson is a certified Title IX Coordinator and Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner. She received recognition from the Diversity Leadership Alliance and was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Arizona Society for Human Resource Management.

Richardson also puts her expertise in conflict resolution and risk management into practice as the chair of the Education Committee for the Diversity Leadership Alliance.

Innovation Through Equity

Lopez and Richardson jointly run the University of Phoenix’s Office of Educational Equity. They are never short of innovative ideas, bringing DEI innovation to thousands of participants with the goal of sparking compassionate conversations.

Together, Lopez and Richardson have led several initiatives within the University of Phoenix and beyond, including:

  • Inclusive Café: This is a biweekly virtual meetup for University of Phoenix staff. It functions as a discussion group that rotates DEI-specific topics at each meeting.
  • Equity Habit Building Challenge: This 21-day challenge for University of Phoenix faculty and staff furthered understanding of how disparities affect people not only in higher education but in society as a whole.
  • Collaboration: Lopez and Richardson help other departments and organizations encourage diverse perspectives through regular partnerships. Most recently, they worked with University Employee Resource Groups and the Center for Workplace and Diversity Inclusion Research.

While diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education still face many challenges, professionals like Lopez and Richardson are paving the way for greater understanding. Their work, as well as the work of the many illustrious women on the Diverse 2022 list, promises to enhance experience and access to higher education, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or country of origin.

About the University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix is committed to helping adult and nontraditional learners have access to higher education. The University has created a range of affordable and accessible higher education opportunities for working parents and adults. Its programs are aligned with numerous careers, providing flexible start dates, online classes for convenient learning opportunities, and many scholarship options. University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates includes resuming support at no additional cost as well as networking opportunities with former classmates and alumni. For more information about the University of Phoenix, visit https://www.phoenix.edu/.


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