"Jose Villalba" Archive

“Campus Dialogues: Who and Where Do We Honor?” on Nov. 1

This message is shared on behalf of Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer José Villalba.

Informational flyer for the "Campus Dialogue" event titled, "What's in a name: Who and where do we honor." It has the black and gold compass logo for the WFU Honorifics Planning Group and the interlocking black and gold ring logo for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The flyer says "5 p.m. on November 1, 2021 in the ZSR Library Auditorium, moderated by José Villalba, VP of Diversity and Inclusion."The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is leading University efforts to advance our institutional commitment to promoting and sustaining a sense of belonging and inclusivity among our community. Toward that end, the ODI has established the Honorifics Planning Group (HPG) – composed of faculty, staff students and alumni – to engage with Wake Forest constituents and provide opportunities for feedback as the group carries on the next phase of work concerning the guiding principles for naming adopted in April 2021 by the Board of Trustees.

The ODI and HPG have been organizing structured, open dialogues throughout the semester and working with the Wake Forest community to collect names, themes and concepts which are not currently honored or remembered as fully as possible on campus.

The next campus dialogue – “What’s in a Name: Who and Where Do We Honor?” – will be held on Monday, Nov. 1, at 5 p.m. in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library Auditorium. We invite you to join a conversation on the topic of naming, who we honor and where.

Participants include:

  • Corey D.B. Walker, professor of the humanities and director of the Wake Forest University Program in African American Studies;
  • Sherri Lawson Clark, associate professor of anthropology at Wake Forest;
  • Jon Bohland, associate professor and director of the International Studies Program at Hollins University; and
  • José Villalba, vice president for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer.

The event will take place in person, but participants may register to join virtually via Zoom webinar.

Honoring and remembering our values should be central to our mission as a University. These initiatives will ensure that all in our community have an opportunity to share their perspectives and insights.

Categories: EventsGuest Post

Join us for Founders’ Day Convocation on Feb. 18

Each year, the Wake Forest family gathers for Founders’ Day Convocation to observe the University’s founding in February 1834. This year’s virtual program will include a student oration, musical performances and an update from the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community provided by José Villalba, vice president for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, and Erica Still, associate dean of the College for faculty recruitment, diversity and inclusion.

We will award the Medallion of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the University, to Donna Boswell (’72, MA ’74). Dr. Boswell has been a University Trustee since 2004 and was named the first woman chair of the Board of Trustees in 2015, a groundbreaking appointment she held for three terms.

Since current circumstances prevent our gathering together in person, the 2021 Founders’ Day Convocation will be presented as a video which will be streamed on Feb. 18, 2021, at 4 p.m. EST. Watch the video premiere live at convocation.wfu.edu and share your reactions on social media with #foundersdaywfu.

SAC meeting to feature three speakers

Three speakers will be featured at the March 11 meeting of the Staff Advisory Council.  Open to staff and others, the meeting will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in Benson University Center, Room 401 B/D.

Speakers will include Erica Still, associate dean for faculty recruitment and associate professor of English; José Villalba, vice president for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and professor of counseling; and Carmen Canales, vice president and chief human resources officer.

Still and Villalba will provide updates on the work of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community.  Canales will provide talent updates.

The meeting and event schedule for the SAC is available online.

Categories: Staff News

A message from the President's Commission on Race, Equity and Community

This message was sent to Wake Forest faculty, staff and students on Feb. 17 on behalf of José Villalba and Erica Still, co-chairs of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community:

Dear Wake Forest Community,

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey for the institutional equity audit in the past week. Overall, 468 surveys were submitted, for an overall response rate of 4.02%. The survey is just one part of the auditor’s data collection process; they will also be holding individual interviews and a thorough document and artifact review in the next few weeks. Taken together, the data will contribute to a picture of the institution’s current position relative to its aspirations for a truly diverse and inclusive community.

We are also grateful to those of you who shared your concerns about the survey’s design, clarity, and methodology. Your questions about the accuracy and validity of the results are evidence of your commitment to achieving a more equitable Wake Forest, and we appreciate both the questions and the commitment. Your thoughtful observations are indeed shaping how we interpret the survey results, as well as how we will use them. The articulated limitations make it all the more important that the results be seen in the context of the additional data being collected.

A final note about the audit: we want to reiterate that it is designed to assess the institution’s efforts to create and sustain racial equity at the structural level. It is concerned with policies, protocols, and practices as they shape the experiences of students, staff, and faculty who are members of underrepresented groups on our campus. It is not a climate survey, which focuses on the feelings, relationships, and tensions experienced by the various constituents of the community. (In fact, conducting a climate survey may be one of the recommendations emerging from the audit and/or Commission, but that is yet-to-be determined.)

So again, thanks to everyone who has been engaged in this work thus far. We hope you will continue to ask questions, give feedback, and offer support. You can keep track of our work on the Commission’s website, and you are always welcome to reach out directly to us (José at villalja@wfu.edu and Erica at stillel@wfu.edu).

José Villalba
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer

Erica Still
Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion
Associate Professor of English

Response to malicious emails

The following message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on September 19, 2019

Last week, an unknown individual or individuals with malicious intent sought to spread a message of bigotry, division and fear among members of our campus community through emails sent to seven members of our faculty and staff and five offices on campus. Our faculty and staff have worked to protect everyone on our campus while striving to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

We hear the questions posed by some of our students: can you see us, can you hear us, do you understand our lived experiences? Yes, we see you. Yes, we hear you. And, no, we cannot fully understand what some of you are enduring.

The emails, steeped in the vitriol of white supremacy and nationalism, were sent to individual and office inboxes associated with the Department of Sociology, the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Center, and the Intercultural Center. These emails have hurt, scared, threatened, angered, and confused many on our campus in different ways. This cuts at the core of who we are at Wake Forest and impacts us all.

While none of the emails contained actionable threats or detailed a specific attack on our campus, they still managed to elicit the fear the sender intended. Wake Forest consulted with law enforcement and national threat assessment experts — including the FBI’s leading experts on domestic terrorism, white nationalism, and hate crimes — before deciding to continue classes and normal University operations. The increased police presence on campus and enhanced security measures will continue while the investigation proceeds.

Our decision to continue classes does not diminish the real emotions and concern some in our community still feel. We pledge to stand by all our students, staff and faculty when they experience hate and discrimination of any kind. We will revise protocols where necessary and improve on the processes that we know are effective. We must remember who we are as a caring and supportive community and move forward in the spirit of those values.

There are many sources of support for those of you who are affected by these hateful emails. The University Counseling Center (336-758-5273), the Chaplain’s Office (336-758-5210) and the Employee Assistance Program (336-716-5493) are invaluable resources, as are our friendships and circles of personal support. Please continue to look out for each other.


Nathan Hatch, President
Rogan Kersh, Provost
Jane Aiken, Dean of the School of Law
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
Charles Iacovou, Dean of the School of Business
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Jonathan Walton, Dean of the School of Divinity