PITTSBURG, Kan. — Over the past decade, Deatrea Rose has had the opportunity as director of student diversity programs at Pittsburg State University to work on some of the issues she is most passionate about. Since she began the transition into her new role as Assistant Vice President for Student Life - Senior Diversity Officer in the fall, she has begun to expand that work while also taking on a new set of job duties.
“I’m passionate for creating access for all, and when I talk about access for all, just everyone having the opportunity to, you know, if they desire to go to college or if they desire to own a home, or you know, to live in a nice community, that they have access to the same opportunities that any other citizen would have,” Rose says.
“I’m passionate about making sure that our students, once they get to college that they stay and graduate, because we know a lot of students start but then they don’t end up finishing, and so, you know, I’m really big on issues of student retention, student success, student access as well.”
In her new position, however, Rose is working not only with students, but with PSU faculty and staff too, as well as the broader community beyond the university.
“I will also be doing some work out in the community in terms of outreach, in terms of making sure that the community kind of has a face of diversity if you will, in terms of attracting new people to want to move to Pittsburg that are of diverse backgrounds, you know, making sure that they can find housing, if they’re interested in maybe opening a small business in our community, how would they go about getting started with something like that,” she says. “Just basically being a liaison between the university and the community of Pittsburg as well.”
Though Rose will now be working more closely with the Pittsburg community beyond PSU’s campus, the university has long been an important part of her life, even years before she worked there. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Pitt State, and is also currently working on her dissertation to complete a doctorate in higher education administration.
Rose even met her husband at PSU — on her very first day of school in 1993. They dated for a year, then got engaged, and got married the following year. Today, they have three daughters, one of whom graduated from Pitt State in May. The other two are in their freshman year of college and in 7th grade, respectively.
“I am very much family-oriented, and so outside of work I just really enjoy spending time with my family, doing, you know, outdoor type activities, just being a mom outside of work,” Rose says.
Before she was a mom and before she moved to Pittsburg to attend PSU, though, Rose grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. She attended Wyandotte High School, where she was active in a wide range of extracurricular activities, from student council to cheerleading, to sports including basketball, volleyball and track running. She was also in the school band and choir — the latter of which she continued in college, although she gave up playing sports to focus on school.
When Rose heard she had been selected as a 2021 Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Woman of Distinction, she says, it came as a surprise.
“I got a phone call congratulating me on being chosen as one of the Pittsburg Women of Distinction and, I mean, it was quite an honor and quite a shock because, you know, I don’t reside in Pittsburg but I do work in Pittsburg, and so it was a nice honor to be recognized for the work that I’ve done over the years,” she says. “So I’m very honored and very humbled to be chosen for such a prestigious award.”
As she takes on her new position — which was just created in the fall as part of a reorganization of the university's office of student diversity and its student life division — Rose sees not only a new set of responsibilities, but a new set of opportunities as well.
“I think that the work that I do, it’s important work — diversity, equity and inclusion, you know, it’s very important work especially with the time that we’re in now,” Rose says. “And, you know, I encourage people to really examine themselves and examine the interactions that they have with people on a daily basis and take an opportunity to learn something not only about who you are as a person, but about the people that you are working with.”