Interim Vice President of Equity Diversion & Inclusion


Lais MartinezGetting to know the Interim VP for EDI at WSU: Laís Martinez

Over 15 years ago, I moved to Utah where I’ve had the opportunity to be educated and work within Utah's Public colleges and university system. I am the oldest daughter of immigrant parents from both El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, and I am the first woman to go to college and receive a degree in my family. These lived experiences inform my lens and approach to equity, diversity and inclusion work because I have seen firsthand the power of educational opportunity. I believe the promise of educational access is the bedrock of a free and just democracy and is key to transforming lives, generational trajectories and communities.

I am a fierce champion of students and removing any structural obstacles or barriers to their success. Advancing equity and student success at Weber State will not happen overnight. To move forward we must acknowledge our histories, and build on the resilient equity legacies that came before. Equity work is bridge-building work that recognizes we are greater than the sum of our parts. The goal of increasing access and closing disparities is a collective commitment to remaining curious and innovative. It challenges the ways we’ve always operated to chart new pathways where all benefit. It requires each staff, faculty, administrator and board of trustee member to consider the following questions:

  • What are the intended impacts and outcomes of each policy, practice, or program? Is student success at the forefront of the intended impacts? Who benefits? Who is excluded?
  •  Does the decision being made maintain or intervene in existing educational disparities? What is the impact of this decision on eliminating attainment gaps and creating optimal learning opportunities for each student?

Through this reflective practice, we can arrive at new practical approaches that lead to winning outcomes for students. Closing attainment gap efforts require many hands and voices across WSU campuses and its regional Ogden, Weber and Davis communities united in the cause of creating opportunity through education.

Let’s reflect together. I have reviewed the survey responses from faculty, staff and students that were submitted before I started as interim. If you would like to share anything else about your experiences with equity, diversity and inclusion at WSU or have ideas for how we can collectively improve our efforts, please let me know through the online form.

Learn more about Laís’ educational and work experience