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Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Staff Profiles

Tom Romero

Tom I Romero, II, JD, PhD

Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
303-871-7784 | Email

Dr. Tom I. Romero, II has served since 2013 as the Associate Provost of Inclusive Excellence Research and Curricular Initiatives and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality (IRISE). A nationally renowned legal historian of race relations in the American West, Tom has contributed greatly to expanding the capacity of DU faculty and students to engage in interdisciplinary research projects, created pathways for student and community intellectual engagement and leadership confronting issues of racial inequality, and spearheaded faculty and student enthusiasm in growing the university's ability to offer a robust race and ethnic studies curriculum. An Associate Professor at the DU Sturm College of Law and an Affiliate Faculty of the Department of History, Tom is also an alum ('95 BA) and a proud member of the Latinx Alumni Association.  

Kristin Deal

Kristin L. Deal, PhD

Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
303-871-2918 | Email

Dr. Kristin Deal is the Director for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) at the University of Denver, and an adjunct professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education. Dr. Deal, as a scholar-practitioner, is engaged in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a specific focus on the intersections of race, emotionality, and inclusive pedagogical practices. Utilizing critical race theory, critical whiteness theories, critical emotionality theories, and culturally engaged practices, Dr. Deal's research explores the possibilities of creating welcoming and affirming learning environments for students, faculty, and staff. As Director of ODEI, Kristin oversees diverse faculty retention and recruitment, ODEI's IMPACT 2025 initiatives, trainings with regard to diversity and inclusion, and serves as liaison to units and departments across campus.&nbsp

Lisa Martinez

Lisa M. Martinez, PhD

Interim Assistant Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research & Curriculum Initiatives and Professor of Sociology
303-871-2994 | Email

Lisa M. Martinez is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology & Criminology at the University of Denver. Her areas of specialization include immigration, race and politics, and social inequality. In the interim Assistant Provost role, she will collaborate with ODEI staff to continue to grow the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies curriculum at DU; work to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of the general education curriculum revision; develop a proposal for cluster hires in Black/Africana and Indigenous Studies; and explore possibilities for building an opportunity hiring program. Additionally, she will support ongoing ODEI initiatives, including recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty.

Ramona Beltran

Ramona Beltrán, MSW, PhD

Interim Director of IRISE and Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work Email

Ramona Beltrán, MSW, PhD is a mixed-race Xicana of Yaqui and Mexica descent and dancer/activist/scholar. As an Associate Professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, her scholarship is committed to interrupting legacies of historical trauma that affect Indigenous and Latinx communities. She focuses on disrupting the problem-focused approach to understanding Indigenous/Latinx health that dominates mainstream research. She does this through centering culture in knowledge production with and for Indigenous/Latinx communities.

Deb Ortega

Debora M. Ortega, PhD

Director, Latinx Center and Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work Email

Dr. Debora Ortega is the founding director of the Latinx Center at the University of Denver. The Latinx Center is a consortium of interdisciplinary faculty who are committed to the creating, supporting, and making visible the history, politics, culture, legacies and creative works of Latinx communities across the globe. Dr. Ortega is a Professor of social work at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and the University of Denver/Iliff Joint PhD Program in the Study of Religion. She joined the faculty in 2005. Prior to this, she was an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.

She is an award-winning teacher and mentor. She received recognition for her classroom teaching as an awardee of the 2000 University of Kansas Center for Teaching Excellence Award, 2002 University of Kansas Kemper Award, 2002 University of Kansas Silver Anniversary Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2008 University of Denver Center of Multicultural Excellence Outstanding Faculty Award, 2010 University of Denver Center for Multicultural Excellence Out Through the Mind Award, 2012 University of Denver Greek Life Outstanding Faculty Award, and the 2018 University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students Award. 

Dr. Ortega’s academic work examines the process by which social power, exclusion and dehumanization creates societal inequity and injustice. Her scholarship addresses the way that everyday white supremacy affects Latinx people in health, education and immigration. As the co-editor of Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work (2011-2017) she co-authored editorial such as Enacting and sustaining trauma and violence through policy enforcement; Benevolent Hegemony; From inclusion to radical attention to exclusion; and Complacency, violence and gender.

She received her degrees from The University of San Diego in Religious Studies, Portland State University School Master Degree in Social Work, and University of Washington School of Social Welfare Doctor of Philosophy. She is proud to be a first-generation college student. She recognizes her family (Robert Ortega, Rosie Ortega, Charles O’Bosky, and Venessa Ortega,), her mentors (Drs. E. Jane Via, Joseph Gallegos, Cheryl Richie and Lorraine Gutierrez), her partner Deborah Jean Carlson and University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Dean Amanda Moore McBride without whom her professional and educational accomplishments would not have been possible. It takes more than a village to raise a child, it takes commitment, confrontation and love through the difficult times.

Stevie Lee

Stevie Rose Tohdacheeny Lee (Diné)

Native American Liaison & Program Manager Email

Stevie Rose Tohdacheeny Lee (Diné), is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, located in the Navajo Nation. Currently, Stevie serves as the Interim Native American Liaison and Program Manager in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Denver. She works in the capacity of providing support for current Native American/Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students with the goal of academic success, retention, and graduation while helping to create a community founded upon social and cultural support. 

Stevie is a current Ph.D. candidate in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. Her research passions and professional interests both focus on the areas of enhancing our educational systems to increase access, equity, and persistence with Native communities within higher education. Stevie is also an alum ('10, MA) and a proud member of the Indigenous Affinity Alumni Group. Lastly Stevie's personal interests are being outdoors and being an avid marathon runner (55+).

Brianna Johnson

Brianna M. Johnson

Administrative Assistant for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
303-871-3554 | Email

Brianna Johnson is the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) at the University of Denver, a Master of Science candidate in Nonprofit Leadership, and a DU alumna (BA '14). She is also an active member of DU's Sustainability Council and a Co-Facilitator of Whites Organizing for Racial Consciousness (WORC). As the Administrative Assistant for ODEI, Brianna manages the office's campus and community outreach and its internal operations.