Chaniqua Butscher is the inaugural manager of Inclusive Excellence Programs. She hails from UCLA, where she majored in both African-American studies and sociology, before coming to UC Berkeley to earn her master’s degree in education. With a particular interest in equity and inclusivity, Chaniqua has worked as an advocate for students throughout her 15+ year career at UC Berkeley. Her contributions include teaching academic success strategies courses, and developing cross-disciplinary support programs for first-generation, low-income, and URM students. She is passionate about empowering others to amplify their voices and live up to their highest potential. In her work with the EMPOWER program, she’s excited to contribute to transformative DEIB initiatives that foster a welcoming environment for all members of the College of Engineering community.
How do you contribute to Berkeley Engineering’s equity and inclusion mission?
Much of my work is in managing the EMPOWER certificate program, which engages COE staff, students, and faculty in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts. The topics offered are intended to interrupt the status quo and ensure that there’s a place in the college for all identities, backgrounds, and contexts. A sample of some of the topics offered are: equitable grading practices and inclusive learning spaces for all.
What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
I’m a former student athlete who won an NCAA title in the discus (track and field) in my time at UCLA. Being a student athlete was an honor and a challenge that I had to manage for many years of my life, so I have an appreciation for competing priorities.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Cooking is something that I enjoy, as I get to experiment with different spices and attempt to compose a meal made up of complementary dishes. I imagine that if I could learn to cook like a master chef, I would have an abundance of knowledge of the variety of spices and foods available, and how to put them together. A related, and close, second wish would be learning to become a sommelier.
Besides your work, what’s something that you’re passionate about?
I love to travel! There’s no education like the one that you gain from traveling. My time as a student athlete afforded me the opportunity to do a lot of domestic travel to popular U.S. destinations, as well as some off the beaten path, like Pocatello, Idaho. In my adult life, I’ve been able to travel internationally to places like West Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.