Within five minutes of meeting Alejandra Gudiño, the expression, “there’s no such thing as strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet”, immediately comes to mind.
Gudiño, who recently became Columbia College’s new director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, immediately makes everyone she talks with feel welcome and included; values she hopes to continue building in the Columbia College community. She joined the college on January 10 and will serve the main campus in Columbia and its CC Global locations in 15 states across the country.
“I am particularly fond of the idea of working (with the college’s) 39 locations,” Gudiño said. “They serve a population of non-traditional students and I, myself, went back to school later in life. I was in my 30s working on my second master’s degree while being a single mom. It takes a special type of perseverance and really the will to succeed for parents who are working and taking care of children or family members.”
Gudiño has more than 25 years of experience working in higher education with a focus on community outreach and participatory research initiatives. She previously directed projects under University of Missouri Outreach and Extension as its statewide cultural inclusion and diversity coordinator, as an extension specialist in Human Environmental Science, and later as the campus-wide inclusive education coordinator for the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity for the university.
“I have made a point to listen to the diverse voices that comprise the college and to respond to their ideas and concerns,” said Columbia College President Dr. David Russell. “We have made progress in the area of diversity and I believe the selection of a talented and committed individual like Alejandra to head the new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will enable us to do much more.”
With a reputation as a collaborative leader with the vision to advance equity and inclusion initiatives, Gudiño will oversee the work of the college’s DE&I Committee in its mission to promote and foster a college community where everyone is welcome. While her office is in on the Garden Level of St. Clair Hall, she is passionate about being a resource for all CC students around the country.
“I have been tapped many times throughout my career to work across our differences,” Gudiño said. “Throughout my life, higher education has been the place I have acquired most of the tools I use every day to live my life, to care for my family and to be part of my different communities.”
A native of Argentina, Gudiño completed her undergraduate studies in archaeology and anthropology in Mexico City, Mexico. She also has two master’s degrees in business administration and museum & conservation of materials.
“Technology has afforded us a great opportunity to get things done with the click of a button, so please reach out and tell me how I can help,” Gudiño said. “My job will be to see how I can make your journey a little bit easier, to tell your story, to tell you that you belong and share that you are always welcome here.”