Assistant Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion
My name is Renee Wells and I am one of the assistant directors of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). My academic background is in writing and teaching, and I have degrees in Education, English, and Creative Writing from Auburn University, Miami University, and Southern Illinois University. From 2000–2011, I taught college composition, American literature, creative writing, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (GLBTQ) poetry and fiction.
I have lived in many states, mostly in the southeast, including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and now Michigan. I enjoy reading literary fiction, poetry, and the occasional mystery novel. I also enjoy photography and camping, and I have fallen in love with snow. In 2011, I left Alabama with my three adorable (and now very cold) chihuahuas to begin my new life in the UP.
In my role at CDI, I work very closely with a wide range of students. I am the advisor for the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC), I chair the Women’s Programming Committee, I serve on the Title IX Committee, and I coordinate the Young Women Leaders Program, which trains the women of Michigan Tech to serve as mentors to young girls in the local community. I also help plan and coordinate the Women’s Film Series, the Women’s Month events each March, and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaigns in October and April.
I also work very closely with the Keweenaw Pride (KP) and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) student organizations, helping to plan and coordinate the GLBTQ History Month events, National Coming Out Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, World AIDS Day, Pride Week, National Day of Silence, and Lavender Graduation. I also assist students who are dealing with the coming out process or who are looking for resources and support services related to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Much of my work also involves working closely with faculty and staff from across campus. I coordinate the Michigan Tech Safe Place Program, which trains faculty, staff, and student employees to serve as allies for the GLBTQ community. I also provide cultural competency training for faculty, staff, and students.
On a daily basis, I work to provide resources and support services for all underrepresented students, including women, GLBTQ students, and students of color. These services include assisting with career and professional development (résumé and cover letter review, scholarship application review, and connecting students with internship or conference opportunities), providing academic outreach, engaging students in leadership development opportunities, and encouraging collaboration between students and organizations.