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00:00:00 - Start of Interview 00:00:41 - How Manuela came to UW-Madison

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Partial Transcript: First question's a pretty broad one but basically...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela explains that she used to be on a tenure track position at the University of Texas-El Paso. But, she got a job as the executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation at UW-Madison after writing a grant that combined much of her work interests, and she also secured a tenure-track job for her husband at UW-Madison.

Keywords: Academic Staff; Sociology; University of Texas-El Paso

00:03:28 - Manuela's academic interests from her PhD to coming to UW-Madison

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Partial Transcript: You alluded to, you were talking...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela explains that as a quantitative sociologist she is interested in the organizational structures (written and unwritten) of organizations/institutions that allow for the advancement (or lack of advancement) for women and underrepresented minorities. Specifically, she studied professional engineers and representation in their workplace. She explains that as engineering moved from manufacturing to research and development, fewer hispanic workers were hired. She goes on to explain how the GI Bill allowed many working class white men to move into the middle class; however, as engineering has become more upper class, those opportunities are going away. While Manuela enjoyed this research, she thought her writing would only be read by academics, so she decided to leave her tenured-track position.

Keywords: Engineering firm; GI Bill; National Science Foundation; PhD; Stanford

00:11:17 - Manuela's job as an associate dean

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Partial Transcript: So the next question is when asked...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela talks about becoming an associate dean, focusing on policy and practices. She says her job is to help organizations think about the type of structures they need to implement to help everyone succeed. She talks about strategies for keeping students who are struggling engaged with their work.

Keywords: Advising; Engineering

00:14:33 - Examples of Manuela changing processes, policies, and practices as a dean

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Partial Transcript: Those were two great examples, I wonder...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela says that when she started engineers could take ethnic studies courses pass/fail. While that seemed like a policy that had good intentions behind it, Manuela explained that it actually allowed engineering students to not engaged with ethnic studies courses. So, she worked for over a year to change it. She also tried to implement practices and policies that emphasize diversity. She goes on to explain that she tries to lead by example and in doing so emphasizes the importance of diversity. Finally, she talks about bias training when dealing with students having trouble.

Keywords: Diversity Training; Engineering; Ethnic Studies Requirement; Pass/Fail

00:25:08 - Manuela speaks about switching to direct admissions for the school of engineering and the implications on diversity

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Partial Transcript: Of course there's also the practice of when we moved from

Segment Synopsis: Manuela breaks down the decision to move to direct admission to the school of engineering. She talks about how people were guessing the gender and race by the student's breakdown during engineering admissions. Manuela speaks to social-economic, ethnic, and race barriers baked into the engineering admissions process.

Keywords: Admissions; Diversity; Engineering; GPA; Gender; Race

00:30:58 - How Manuela's research background helps her in the workplace

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Partial Transcript: This may be an obvious question but...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela talks about how all her educational and training prior to becoming an academic staff person helped her do her job effectively and gave her unique lens to see her work.

Keywords: Engineering; Graduate School

00:33:03 - Why equity, inclusion, and diversity are important to Manuela personally

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Partial Transcript: So I have a question that sort of falls under the...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela speaks about how her personal connection to diversity, inclusion, and equity comes from her background as a part of a working class family. She talks how hard it is to learn the unwritten rules to navigate the large institutions around her. She tells the story of defending her dissertation as a PhD student and how she navigated the unwritten rules during that experience.

Keywords: Dissertation; Farming; Graduate School; Low Income; Working Class

00:38:02 - Manuela's "typical day" at UW-Madison

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Partial Transcript: So the next question is...

Segment Synopsis: She jokes that she has meetings all day. She says in those meetings she is always the voice of unrepresented students and fears what will happen when she retires.

Keywords: Diversity; Underrepresented students; University Administration

00:40:33 - The impact of the growth of technology on Manuela's work

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Partial Transcript: So I want to ask— we may have time for one more question

Segment Synopsis: She talks about how the pandemic changed everything. She felt less stressed working at home because she didn't have to put on an armor. She doesn't have to feel on guard against microaggressions and feels like she can take more breaks to let her guard down. That said, she says people having their cameras on during meetings makes it harder to connect. Finally, she talks about how she made all-campus welcome events virtual, which allows more people from different socio-economic backgrounds to attend.

Keywords: Covid-19 Pandemic; Microsoft Teams; Zoom

00:45:41 - Returning to the "new normal" and lessons from Covid

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Partial Transcript: Maybe to follow up on that since...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela speaks to how the transition period between in-person and online work is hard. However, she says that she has to "educate up" so that there can be more flexibility in the workplace.

Keywords: In-person instruction

00:48:59 - Manuela shares her thoughts on a few things she has been reflecting about — diversity in leadership, black and white thinkings, etc.

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Partial Transcript: So Manuela I would like to leave it her for today...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela talks about how the lack of people of color in leadership roles makes it difficult and lonely for the people who are there. She also talks about how the university thinks too much in "black and white" and overlooks nuance.

Keywords: Leadership; University administration

00:51:26 - Start of Interview II

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Partial Transcript: Ok today is July 23, 2021...

00:51:56 - Manuela's involvement in campus-wide groups

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Partial Transcript: So as I said before we, before we turned on the recorder...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela discusses the some groups she is a part of: Associate Deans Instruction Continuation Team, the Associate Dean Group, the Academic Advising Policy Leaders (AAPL), the Crossroads committee, various search and screen committees, and a committee on a review of a dean. She says she mostly thinks through the larger impacts in meetings, specifically related to underrepresented groups. She says she thinks and speaks strongly about these groups. She also advocates for the Engineering College.

Keywords: Academic Advising Policy Leaders; Associate Dean Group; Associate Deans Instruction Continuation Team; Engineering; Low Income students; SOAR advising; Women in STEM

00:56:46 - Manuela discusses an example where she stepped in to stop a discriminatory policy

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Partial Transcript: I can tell you about one particular example

Segment Synopsis: Manuela discusses an example in depth where students of color were for a time being advised not to take a math and science course at the same time. She talks about how the belief was based on faulty data and could have led to lawsuits. She then discusses how she had to step in to make a change.

Keywords: Advising; Engineering; Math; Provost; SOAR; Science

01:05:51 - Being one of the few people of color in leadership and another example where Manuela pushed back

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Partial Transcript: I do, you know, since you're...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela speaks about how lonely it is to be the only person of color pushing back against institutional racism and discrimination in a large system like the university. She says she mostly has to rely on connections to make sure that real problems are addressed immediately. Then, she discusses an example where advisors used generic names in the testing software, but the test names were stereotypic and offensive. They were taken down but only because of Manuela's solo efforts. However, she also discusses the stigma of being "the angry woman" and career costs that come after constantly pushing back against problematic policies.

Keywords: Academic Advising; Engineering; Math; Science; University Administration

01:17:03 - Pushing diversity and inclusion in engineering

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Partial Transcript: Absolutely. And it is also in engineering

Segment Synopsis: She says engineers can be some of the most open people because they are generally so data-driven. She says the rest of campus can actually be more difficult to work with.

Keywords: School of Engineering; University of Wisconsin-Madison

01:18:04 - Why Manuela believes she was nominated

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Partial Transcript: Absolutely. And I think that I would say...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela talks about how she believes she was nominated by people who understood and listened to some of her personal struggles with fighting for diversity and inclusion. She says that the school of engineering is more open to diversity and inclusion because they don't study diversity and inclusion as opposed to social science administration/faculty/staff that believe they already know about diversity/inclusion.

Keywords: Diversity; Engineering; Inclusion; Social Sciences

01:20:30 - Explaining her view on the "Black and White" focus of the university

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Partial Transcript: So to get to one of the other things...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela says that she believes that the university is too black and white focused, meaning that only Black people's voices are sought when people want to boost inclusion. She then speaks about a time that she gave a presentation to Provost DeLuca about how Hispanic, Hmong and Native American populations are often ignored by the university since everything is focused on Milwaukee, which has a notable African-American population. She then speaks about the same binary existing across the US.

Keywords: African-American Students; Black students; Hate Crimes; Hispanic; Hmong; Native America population; Paul M. DeLuca; Race; Stop Asian Hate; White Students

01:27:56 - Thoughts and reactions to winning the academic staff award

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Partial Transcript: And I think since you alluded to it...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela explains how the nomination letter and letters of support meant the most to her. She also says that the ceremony was very well done, and she got to share the moment with her parents since it was online.

Keywords: Chancellor's Award for Excellence

01:30:35 - How Manuela navigates faculty/staff relations

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Partial Transcript: So go back up to the last official question...

Segment Synopsis: Manuela talks about how her husband is faculty, and she is staff. However, she actually brought him on to faculty once she became part of UW-Madison staff. She says her background as a faculty member also helps her communicate effectively between the two groups. Finally, she says that she acknowledges the power relations between faculty and staff, so she can figure out how to work most effectively.

Keywords: Academic Staff; Associate Dean; Faculty; Professors; Sociology Department

01:36:10 - Manuela's relationship to her staff

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Partial Transcript: If you don't mind, I'd like to go just a touch off script...

Segment Synopsis: She says that she mentors her staff to grow professionally and grow as people. She gives an example about when her assistant booked a hotel at a conference and didn't think about all the implications of the walk to and from the conference. Finally, she says she is her staff's biggest advocate.

Keywords: Academic Staff; Professional Development

01:40:56 - Ending Chit Chat

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Partial Transcript: Ok so we have reached the moment

01:41:31 - End of Interview