The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is a collaborative leader and initiator of transformational change at CIIS, and its overarching goals are manifold:

1. To engage the entire institutional community in meaningful dialogues and actions that lead to introspection and change.

2. To weave the principles of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social change into all aspects of CIIS.

3. To identify impediments to creating a diverse and inclusive environment, collaborate with constituents to propose solutions to overcome those     impediments, and to measure our progress at all levels of the CIIS infrastructure.

4. To support the goals outlined in the President's 2020 Strategic Plan.

The four goals mentioned will be achieved by advancing diversity and student success, creating an inclusive environment, and incorporating the principles of diversity and inclusive excellence into the classroom and curriculum. It is important to note that this plan is for the entire institution. It should not be limited to the ODI or a particular group. Transforming CIIS is a shared responsibility, and this plan reflects that belief.

Dean of Diversity Welcome

Dear CIIS Community,

Welcome to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). It is the latest expression of CIIS's commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic culture. By aligning with the President's Diversity Initiative, we strive to develop and enhance a CIIS community in which all members are held accountable for contributing and fostering critical discourse and engaging in meaningful interactions. It is through an appreciation for diversity and social justice that we come to realize our role and responsibility in effecting change and building an Institution that promotes academic excellence.

As we guide the Institution toward inclusivity and cultural humility, we invite you to take advantage of all opportunities to actively contribute to this effort. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your thoughts, concerns, and/or questions. Please contact us at any time,


Denise Boston, Ph.D.

Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Counseling Psychology


Diversity and Disability Fellow New Hire, Sara Acevedo


On behalf of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I would like to the welcome Sara M. Acevedo to the ODI team as our Diversity and Disability Advocacy Fellow. Sara is a self-identified disabled, autistic educator, activist, and scholar born and raised in Colombia, South America. With this new ODI position, we are looking to advance the knowledge of disability as a diversity dimension and to take a more active approach to disability justice in our institution. Sara brings to ODI a passion for fostering an inclusive and welcoming learning culture and will offer an invaluable contribution to the team by coordinating and implementing diversity services; including educational workshops, scholarly contributions from the field, and trainings for the entire CIIS community.

Sara also serves as an SUS Adjunct faculty and is nearing dissertation as a PhD student in Anthropology and Social Change. Her current research explores activism as history making to better understand and disrupt the rhythms of capitalist modernity as they impinge on disabled people's rights. Please join us in congratulating Sara for her tireless advocacy and scholarship leading up to this position.



Diversity celebrates similarities, as well as differences - is the combined strength of the skills, cultures/ethnicities, experiences, genders, and religions, as talents each of us brings to CIIS. Our Presidential Diversity Initiative is the cornerstone of ODI's diversity commitment to academic excellence. Diversity is broader than the traditional categories of age, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. It also encompasses disability, socioeconomic status, family background, language, the level of academic preparedness, learning style, and even different communities with which our students, faculty, and staff are associated. A diverse faculty offers a rich and dynamic perspective to the College's intellectual environment.


Inclusion is appreciating and respecting those distinctive characteristics each member of the CIIS community adds to our institution. Inclusion goes beyond numerical diversity. For us inclusion is the creation of a climate where all feel valued and appreciated, where there is substantive interaction between and among groups, where diverse groups participate in academic and administrative decision making, and barriers to inclusion, whether policy, practice, or systemic, are identified and addressed. This inclusive environment best allows students, faculty, and staff to thrive.

International Student Services

The international student advisor is dedicated to supporting international students throughout their education at the University. International students are offered orientation, the Summer Bridge Academic Writing program, immigration and visa advising, informational workshops, English-language tutors, and social events. Students are encouraged to participate in the development of the international student community by assisting with the planning of social and educational events through the campus group International Students & Friends.

The international student advisor is available for consultation and the processing of nonimmigrant paperwork in areas related to travel, visa application, employment authorization, and program extension. Additional information and forms may be found under the "Student Life" tab, International Students page on MyCIIS.

International students are also encouraged to participate in the international student listserv. The international student advisor uses this email list to communicate important information regarding immigration regulations and University policies. The international student page of the MyCIIS, under the Student Life tab, serves as a reference and a place to download important forms. 

CIIS is committed to promoting diversity and cross-cultural exchange. The international student advisor acts as an advocate for international students, and students are encouraged to bring their questions and concerns to the international student advisor. You can learn more by visiting

Student Disability Services

Students who request accommodation for a disability should contact Student Disability Services at Students will be guided through the registration procedures for accommodation. Any questions, requests for accommodation or access, or concerns regarding services for students or applicants with a disability as defined by law should be addressed to the University disability officer, who is also the Dean of Students. More information can be found on the Student Disability Services page of MyCIIS, under the Student Life tab.

Veteran Student Services

The University's academic programs of study are approved by the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education, Department of Veterans Affairs for enrollment of persons eligible to receive educational benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. Code. If you qualify for these benefits, you may use them toward your tuition. The V.A. School Certifying Official at CIIS is the registrar, who works with Financial Aid in administering these benefits. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to initiate the certification of your CIIS enrollment to the V.A.

Scholarship Resources

As part of CIIS' commitment to diversity, we offer several scholarships each year to incoming students. Scholarships are based on three criteria: financial need is a primary consideration, racial and ethnic background of the student, and CIIS academic program recommendation. View a list of available scholarships.

In addition to the institutional scholarships that CIIS offers to promote diversity, there are many additional scholarship resources available in support of diversity. Please download this document for a listing of some of these resources.

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