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Division of Inclusive Excellence Moving the Needle

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Moving the Needle

a meter  of equity on a green background with measurement markings that read: very poor in red, poor in orange, average in yellow, good in light green, and excellent in dark green. The needle on the meter sets on excellent.

Welcome to Moving the Needle, where we showcase and elevate new and continuing efforts being made in the Hornet Community to move the needle closer towards equity and justice, helping us make Sac State a place where everyone feels that they belong!

Our Division is Growing!

Over the last few months, the Division of Inclusive Excellence (IE) at Sacramento State has grown significantly. We have added four new team members and are continuing to expand as we align our vision with the goals of the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan (AICP) – what we like to think of as our North Star. Our growth is exciting because it represents more than just increased staffing – it represents an increase in our capacity to work with the Hornet Family to make our diverse campus more inclusive and equitable, a place where everyone belongs.

We are thrilled to (re)introduce the three newest members of our IE team to you: Jennifer Murchison, William “Skip” Bishop, J.D., and Dr. Michael Vinh Nguyen. They bring to Sac State a wealth of experience and knowledge in their areas of expertise. Collectively, they have amassed over 60 years of experience advocating for equity, inclusion, and justice for students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Each of them has a passion for celebrating diversity and working to ensure that the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are reflected in the values of higher education institutions.

All of the fantastic IE team members bring enthusiasm, talent, expertise, and value to Sac State. We are proud to have them on our team and invite each of you to read more about them and the great work they will do. Welcome aboard our journey toward our North Star, Jennifer, Skip and Michael!

Welcome Jennifer Murchison

Jennifer Murchison smiling in yellow top with a yellow stone and brown circle necklace. Hired most recently, Jennifer Murchison (she/her/hers), director for Universal Access and Inclusion (UAI), hails from Memphis, Tenn. On Aug. 2, 2022, Jennifer became the first director for the brand-new Office for Disability Justice. She is not, however, new to the work of diversity. Jennifer has worked in disability services and compliance since 1998. Her interest in social justice is rooted in her desire to make others feel included. Jennifer grew up in a region of the country considered the hotbed of the Civil Rights movement, though she was not necessarily taught much about it or the experiences of historically ignored and marginalized groups. This sparked her desire and passion to educate herself become a staunch ally and social justice advocate. Jennifer never liked the idea of being excluded, and she finds pride in working on behalf of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice (DEIBJ) and is committed to doing what she can to make others feel included.

Jennifer said she is thrilled to join the Sac State community and hopes to build relationships by reaching out to as many faculty, staff, and students as possible. She plans to seek collaboration with all who have been here and are keepers of the knowledge of what is needed to transform the campus to become more universally inclusive. She wants the Hornet community to ensure that the needs of the disabled community are met not only for legal compliance, but because it’s the right thing to do. Another of Jennifer’s initial goals is to address the campus culture that sometimes seems to not always recognize how lack of inclusion and accommodation harms individuals. She also plans to create a repository of resources on disability history and justice, and to encourage intentional design of campus procedures and academic courses.

Welcome Back William "Skip" Bishop, J.D.

Skip Bishop smiles, wearing black eyeglasses, a black suit with a white shirt and red tie. Skip Bishop (he/him/his) is a husband, father, son, brother, friend, and long-standing member of the Hornet Family. On July 1, 2022, Skip returned to Sac State as executive director of the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) after working at San Jose State University for about a year. He is a father of three CSU grads (two from Sac State and one from Cal Poly SLO) and a current UC Davis sophomore. He’s an avid sports fan and a former college athlete (track and football), also a coach of his two youngest kids’ high school track and field team. He is an attorney with a passion for civil rights law. He originally joined Sac State in 2013 to work with the Office for Equal Opportunity because it allowed him to continue doing work for civil rights and equitable justice, making the campus more inclusive without the arduous task of preparing for trial. After leaving to serve as Title IX and gender equity officer at San Jose State, Bishop returns to Sac State because he has seen it grow tremendously and his philosophy is perfectly aligned with the University’s values and mission. He has witnessed the campus “turn talk into action,” and he is pleased to rejoin IE’s efforts to create a culture where all can thrive in their work and learning environment.

Skip operates with an equitable mindset and seeks to make the campus a space where “everybody can come in and be their best selves without worrying about that underlying piece – the discrimination, harassment, the racism, the sexism, and all of that.” He is drawn to DEIBJ work out of his desire for everyone to feel wanted, needed, accepted, and valued – to help other people feel like they are somebody.

As Skip reestablishes himself, he plans to build relationships on campus, developing a strong rapport among the IE team and specifically focusing on building trust with the OEO staff. He also wants to make sure that OEO processes are carried out holistically, equitably, and compassionately. Skip plans to use a trauma-informed approach and continue to develop the proactive education and outreach function of the OEO to address discrimination and harassment. He seeks to support growth and learning, even among individuals who may have committed an offense, to ensure that all feel that they matter as they address their own biases, change behavior, and learn to respect and “value the things that make this University great.”

Welcome Dr. Michael V. Nguyen

Assoiate Vice President Dr. Michael Vinh Nguyen in a blue plaid suit with a light blue herringbone striped shirt, and a blue plaid tie.Dr. Michael Vinh Nguyen (he/him/his) came to Sacramento from Southern California with his partner, Claire, and young daughter, Reese, to join the IE team as associate vice president on July 1, 2022. Michael believes that being open to telling stories about life experiences is what helps us build connection and is this place from which we can build relationships across our differences. With this in mind, he revealed that one of Sacramento’s greatest attractions was the opportunity to reconnect with some of his favorite cousins who reside in the area. Michael shared that these cousins were among the few family members who truly cared for and about him during his troubled childhood. He shared that while he was facing the trauma of abuse and being in the foster care system, these cousins were his mentors and siblings, and they took great care of him when they had the opportunity to be together.

Although Michael relocated to join the Sac State community, he is no stranger to the area, where he attended Rio Americano High School and American River College. Michael couldn’t wait to move here, not only to tackle DEIBJ work, but also to be close to rooted, positive memories.

Michael said another exciting aspect for his return to the region is that Sac State has an institutional commitment and priority to diversity, equity, and justice clearly outlined in the University’s strategic plan. He also touts the AICP, calling it one of the “most comprehensive plans that he’s encountered globally.” Michael considers doing DEIBJ work a necessity that is part of his identity, and he is driven to make positive change in the world for his children. He said he believes his experience doing assessment and DEIBJ work in higher education, as well experience acquired from outside of educational settings, will serve in his efforts to unite and make our campus a more just and inclusive place. To get started, Michael plans to assess where we are as a University to learn what work is being done (and that which needs to be done), prioritize needs, and work to make DEIBJ efforts sustainable in all areas of Sac State. Michael's human-centered, culturally grounded, and data-informed approach has already begun building positive relationships in his work to empower the Hornet community to achieve our AICP goals.