As a university that values diversity and a culture of inclusion, NAU is always looking for new ways to foster student success and continue to be a resource for the campus community.

“Each incoming freshman class is increasingly diverse and I think that we have an obligation to continue to expand our abilities and services to provide opportunities for students to engage on campus and in the community,” said Erin Grisham, executive director of Student Affairs.

In recent years, NAU has continued to further its STAR program for first-generation college students and added LGBTQA resources. Grisham also noted that there will be even more opportunities for SafeZone training in the coming months in an effort to reach as many members of the campus community as possible.

With the school year approaching, Grisham recently named Taran McZee the director of Inclusion and Multicultural Services to spearhead a number of new initiatives. The department is aiming to educate a broader audience on campus and incorporate a peer education model.

“With a new director comes new opportunities,” Grisham said. “There’s a true role for Inclusion and Multicultural Services to play in helping students become their own best advocate and develop their leadership skills, and I am confident that Taran and his team will find ways to engage students on campus in a meaningful way.”

McZee will draw on his experience from creating diversity programs at Marietta College in Ohio and Hanover College in Indiana, and has set his sights on launching a peer education initiative. Led by students, the initiative will host lectures and presentations on topics such as diversity, inclusion and social justice.

Taran McZee, director of Inclusion and Multicultural Services

Taran McZee, director of Inclusion and Multicultural Services

“The more you talk about diversity, the easier it becomes to talk about,” McZee said. “This kind of programming is a crucial component of any university community because it makes our students well-rounded.”

A native of Flint, Michigan, and a first-generation college student, McZee anticipates the connections the fall semester will bring as he welcomes students of various backgrounds.

“I have an open-door policy and my goal is to have students in my office all the time,” he said. “I want to meet as many students as I can and make sure we are providing the resources to help them be successful in and outside of the classroom.”