St. Mary’s College Professor of Spanish José R. Ballesteros has been named director of equity programming in the recently reimagined Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity now to be known as the Division of Inclusive Diversity, Equity, Access and Accountability (IDE(A)2.
In this new role, Ballesteros will see that the College lives up to its public responsibility to create a working and academic environment where all can prosper. To meet this challenge, he will be part of the IDE(A)2 division that includes Kelsey Bush, interim diversity officer, and Michael Dunn, assistant vice president of equity and inclusion. The division will report directly to President Tuajuanda C. Jordan.
“I’m excited to join the IDE(A)2 unit to take on the challenges and opportunities that we face as an institution that is truly invested in making inclusion and equity part of the DNA that runs through everything that we do at the College,” said Ballesteros. “Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the only way that we will be able to honor and champion the changing demographics in higher education and meet our state-given responsibilities as a public institution.”
“IDE(A)2is an integral stepping stone on St. Mary’s College’s path to a brighter and sustainable future,” said Jordan.
Created and named by President Jordan, IDE(A)2 (pronounced IDEA2, in order to highlight the second more-evolved iteration of or idea about inclusive diversity at St. Mary’s College) is a cross-functional division that provides leadership, consultation, and assistance to the College’s various units and constituencies in an effort to support the College in establishing a comprehensive and well-coordinated set of actions that focus on fostering greater diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accountability at all levels.
According to Jordan, the division evolved to IDE(A)2in order to “broaden how we think about accessibility and include making our community more accessible not just to neurodiverse students but also to students, faculty, and staff who have other atypical needs.”
“I know that as a community, the National Public Honors College will be able to live up to all the expectations that our name conveys in order to become recognized locally and nationally as a place where everyone can thrive,” said Ballesteros.
Ballesteros has been a faculty member within the College’s Department of International Languages and Cultures since 2002. He has supported underrepresented students since the early 90s as a teaching assistant and mentor through the University of Kansas’ Hawklink Program. At St. Mary’s College, Ballesteros co-created and was an associate director of the DeSousa-Brent Program. The program’s retention and graduation rates for students from underrepresented populations earned it a permanent funding grant from the State of Maryland in 2019.
Ballesteros is a contributing poetry editor for the Library of Congress’s “Handbook of Latin American Studies” and the co-author of the Spanish literature textbook “Voces de España.” He is a published translator and the owner and editor of the literary press Zozobra Publishing, the premier publisher of regional Latinx poets. His own poetry has been anthologized and appears in various journals in the U.S. He is the author of the book of poems “Lovedust” (Izote Press). Ballesteros has a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.