Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) – offering programming and support for education and understanding while providing opportunities for student diversity, student voices, belonging, and action.




Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Viterbo University works to build an inclusive community and a supportive environment for all students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

We foster a campus environment that uplifts student diversity, individuals’ diverse identities, lived experiences, and cultural backgrounds while encouraging mutual enrichment, development, intercultural engagement, and understanding.

Serving as a central support service location, the division focuses on the needs and success of:

  •  international student,
  • first-generation college students,
  • students in study abroad programs,
  • students of color,
  • multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual, and multireligious students,
  • LGBTQ students, and
  • differently abled students.

DEI Events

DEI events are offered throughout the year and include:

  • bringing speakers to campus
  • hosting film screenings
  • collaborating with student clubs and organizations on activities to increase student diversity
  • providing opportunities and support for students to develop their own programs
  • hosting campus and community events
  • presentations on study abroad programs
  • collaborating with other divisions and departments to host events and programs
  • hosting national and regional conferences
  • hosting groups visiting from other countries

DEI Initiatives

DEI initiatives in recent years have included:

  • Latinx Initiative
  • Viterbo Leads Program in conjunction with Dahl School of Business
  • US Bank Links of Leadership grant program
  • Lenster Lycee Luxembourg Student Exchange
  • American Association of University Women partnership
  • Local non-profit partnerships

DEI Areas of Focus At Viterbo University

International Student Support

DEI works to create a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment for international students on campus through educational and cultural programs. We collaborate with multiple partners on campus and within the greater La Crosse community to provide comprehensive services to meet the needs of our diverse student population by:

  • hosting New International Student Orientation.
  • providing personal and academic assistance through one-on-one sessions.
  • offering social activities on and off campus to cultivate a deeper understanding of our diverse cultures.
  • ensuring that students with F-1 visas comply with immigration requirements.
  • eupporting international students’ transition to the U.S.
  • encouraging student persistence, graduation, and entrance into the workforce.

Study Abroad Programs

Viterbo students enjoy opportunities to study abroad in a full semester or a summer study abroad program. Students in study abroad programs earn credit toward their major, minor, or core curriculum requirements. Our study abroad programs:

  • enhance participants' global competency.
  • develop cultural awareness and respectful interactions in increasingly diverse societies.
  • foster global interconnectedness.
  • collaborate with advising and career development for students looking for domestic or international internships and study abroad coursework.

Studying abroad develops global citizens and ethical leaders. Living and learning in a different culture enhances education, friendships, life skills, and experiences for an increasingly globalized job market. Taking your education abroad raises cultural competencies and enriches your learning and understanding of other cultures.

Multicultural Support and Inclusive Programming

DEI seeks to cultivate inclusion, belonging, and retention for students, faculty, and staff by:

  • advocating for student diversity and all underrepresented populations on campus.
  • providing opportunities for intercultural engagement.
  • hosting social justice and equity training and events.
  • working to create identity-affirming spaces for students, faculty, and staff.

Sr. Thea Bowman Center

The Sr. Thea Bowman Center celebrates the life and legacy of Thea Bowman, FSPA ’65, who dedicated her life to advocacy for human rights for all people. The center provides resources for education and understanding of human dignity and social justice  and serves as a hub for social justice, inclusivity, and equity teachings.

With a focus on social justice, the Bowman Center fosters inclusivity and raises awareness of social inequalities in our communities and day-to-day lives, as espoused in the Gospels and lived by Sr. Bowman. The center highlights the gifts she treasured, including:

  • art
  • education
  • equal rights
  • literature
  • music
  • social justice
  • spirituality

Additional Offerings and Value of DEI at Viterbo University

DEI offers work study, internships, and graduate assistantships, as well as programming and volunteer opportunities. We also offer inclusive programming that assists students’ career readiness for the workforce in an increasingly diverse employment climate.

We have partnered with TheDream.US scholarships to promote access and retention of DACA Dreamers/undocumented students.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center is available for student and staff use during any open building hours and through special reservations scheduling. The center offers computer and printer access as well as a presentation screen that can be used to project information and presentations from laptops or streaming services. The center can also be used for programming by student groups, campus groups, and community organizations.

English Second Language (ESL) Program

Our ESL program assists with the development of students’ literacy and academic skills to support success in reaching academic, personal, and career goals.

We offer three levels of ESL coursework. Class sizes are small, and students receive individualized support from an instructor with a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

To stay on track for a timely graduation, students can take degree-related coursework while completing ESL coursework.

Caring, Expert Faculty

Viterbo faculty members and staff hold advanced degrees and certifications, including:

  • MA in TESOL
  • TEFL Certification
  • EdD in Leadership, Innovation, and Continuous Improvement
  • PhD in English in African Women’s Literature

DEI staff possess a combined 80 years of professional experience in education, offer experience and insights in living and teaching abroad, and speak multiple languages.

What People Are Saying

“I was fortunate enough to be Viterbo’s first official DEI International intern, and I am grateful for the experience. I was welcomed with open arms and given both the space and confidence to help expand DEI’s efforts to create an inclusive and supportive community at Viterbo. I feel that I have become more well-rounded as a person, having been surrounded by a wonderful and encouraging team that put me as an intern first. My biggest take away is that everything I learned at DEI, I can implement wherever I find myself. May it be in school, in my career, or in my day-to-day life. I’ve taken DEI’s values and made them my own.”
—Vivien Anderson, DEI Intern, Fall 2023, University of Potsdam, Germany

“The ESL program has helped me improve my English. I feel comfortable because the teaching is good. I am not afraid to talk to other students in English because I feel like I have lost my fear, and I know that every time I learn new things. It helps a lot because the teacher focuses on each student personally. The exercises we do are very good for learning.”
—Rosa, Peru, anticipated graduation Spring 2027

“I learned a lot about what I could do on my own. I pushed my boundaries and learned how to be less scared of things.”
—Annabeth, Scotland, Fall 2022

“I learned so many new things from the cultural and linguistic immersion in Spain. Experiencing another culture while studying the history, speaking the language, and trying new things taught me more than I could ever learn in a classroom. I truly enjoyed this opportunity to further my Spanish speaking abilities and gain cultural values.”
—Emma, Zamora, Spain, Spanish Immersion Program, Summer 2023

“I found it to be eye opening to see a world so outside my own comfort. To help others that are so like me but still live different lives. I am very grateful I was able to break down stereotypes I had conceived in my head. Trying new things helps me become more well-rounded and appreciative of my own experiences.”
—Meredith, South Africa, Summer 2023

“The program increased my personal cultural awareness. I enjoyed getting to watch the growth in my students while abroad and engaged in clinicals abroad. I would lead trips in the future.”
—Belize faculty member

“Medical volunteering is a great way to give back, whether working in a healthcare field, as a current student, or aspiring to learn more about mission trips. Study abroad programs have a focus on underserved and/or rural populations who don’t have easy access to healthcare. Assisting local staff not only helps improve health for all, but also can teach students valuable skills, such as teamwork and how to work efficiently with limited resources. We saw the students develop skills and efficiencies within their assigned areas.”
—Guatemala faculty member