The new leader of the CREDE has been a member of the university community since 1998 and has been leading the center on an interim basis since June.
Sylvia Muñoz has been officially named assistant dean of students and director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (CREDE), after serving as the interim leader for the department twice during the past five years. Previously Muñoz was the associate director of the CREDE and director of El Centro.
Muñoz’s promotion to assistant dean and CREDE director reflects her lengthy and successful performance as a leader in Elon’s efforts to advance diversity and inclusion. She arrived at Elon in March 1998 at the invitation of President Fred Young to establish a Spanish-language center. Through the years, El Centro de Español grew from a program for language instruction to a resource center that also supports Hispanic/Latinx students, faculty, and staff.
“Sylvia is a highly-regarded campus leader, well-known for her effective mentoring and support for students,” said Jon Dooley, vice president for student life. “She has been instrumental in advancing intercultural learning at Elon, and I am pleased she will continue that leadership in this new role.”
The CREDE’s roots stretch back to 1992 with the creation of an African American Resource Room. Elon expanded the resources and vision for that initial effort to what would become the Multicultural Center. The center merged with El Centro de Español in 2014 and later that year changed its name to the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE) to reflect its role in the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Muñoz has been a valued leader for CREDE and the Division of Student Life, while also continuing to expand the reach of El Centro.
“We are fortunate to have Sylvia leading at a new level and working in solidarity with students and colleagues to create the inclusive community we seek within and beyond the campus boundaries,” said Randy Williams, vice president and associate provost for inclusive excellence. “Her exemplary yet natural ability to build relationships will continue to inspire our campus.”
Muñoz has also been recognized for her commitment to mentoring and community leadership. In 2018 she received the Division of Student Life Mentoring Award as well as the university Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility. In 2020 she was presented the university’s Phoenix Community Engagement Award.
A highly visible campus leader, Muñoz has recently served on the leadership team for the ACE Mentoring for Learner Success project, the university Council on Wellness and Well-Being, the university Sexual Assault and Gender Issues Council (SAGIC), the President’s Advisory Council on Inclusive Excellence, and the Latinx/Hispanic Implementation Team.
“The CREDE plays a critical role in Elon’s efforts toward becoming a more inclusive and equitable community and I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with this leadership role,” Muñoz said. “I am most excited to continue working collaboratively with different departments and offices to ensure ALANAM (African-American/Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Alaskan Native and Multiracial) students have their experience amplified across the university.”
As assistant dean and director of the CREDE, Muñoz will provide important campus leadership in creating a supportive environment for underrepresented racial and ethnic students. She will be leading race and ethnicity education efforts and coordinating student diversity education collaboratively with campus offices and faculty that have specialized expertise in specific social identities and/or in concepts of justice and equity. Muñoz will also serve as a member of the Student Life leadership team, providing strategic leadership for the co-curricular experience of students at the university.
The CREDE advances the conversation on student diversity education campus-wide to develop intercultural competence and provides race and ethnicity related advocacy, services, and programs to promote the intellectual achievement, personal success, and social belonging of all students, faculty, and staff, particularly those from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities. The CREDE is a university space for all students and serves as a resource for faculty and staff.