Creating A Better Institution Through Equity
Leadership Profile
Diversity and equity have become the long-overdue topic of public discourse. And it’s a conversation UAA Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) Jennifer Booz is prepared to have. As CDO, Booz is responsible for implementing UAA’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) and overseeing its initiatives.

Adopted in 2017, the DIAP provides a roadmap for UAA to meet the needs of all students, faculty and staff concerning the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Not only is it the right thing to do, but it improves us as an institution,” said Booz. “Research shows that diverse institutions have better outcomes. We do better in class, we do better research, we have better faculty teaching evaluations and we have better financial outcomes.”

In the near term, Booz’s primary goal is for UAA’s students, faculty and staff to more accurately resemble Alaska’s unique makeup via more inclusive recruitment and retaining methods.

“UAA serves a very diverse community,” said Booz. “We have people that come from all over the world through the military bases, we have richly diverse indigenous groups on whose lands we sit and we have thriving immigrant populations. So it’s crucial that our university represent our students so they can provide benefits back to their communities and to the state.”

With a more inclusive population, Booz hopes to better establish UAA’s diversity and equity programs in the long term with more clearly defined initiatives and metrics. The dream scenario would consist of students of all backgrounds enrolling at UAA, fully confident they are welcome on campus and greeted with the support needed to thrive.

Even with a clear blueprint, Booz notes the work is never done, pointing to history’s past hard-fought victories and ongoing discourse, such as the fight for marriage equality, the #MeToo movement and the Black Lives Matter protests.

“Diversity and inclusion is always a moving target,” said Booz. “If we did get to a point where we felt, ‘We did it!’ we’re already behind because we’re not paying attention to what the changing needs and interests of society are. So my goal is to always be forward-thinking.”