To better prepare students to live and work in a diverse global society, the Division of Enrollment and Student Affairs is taking steps to promote diversity, multiculturalism and inclusion on campus.
One of its initiatives is the creation of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, which will complement AU’s academic curriculum through programs that enrich student learning and promote an inclusive environment on campus.
“Our university’s strategic plan calls for us to prepare a diverse student body for lifelong contributions to the varied communities in which our students will live and work,” said Dr. Susan Davies, vice president of enrollment and student affairs. “The co-curricular programming offered by the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement will contribute directly to this preparation.”
The Office of Multicultural Student Engagement will be housed in Bellevue Hall and will be led by Karen Mobley, who has served as the director of academic diversity initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and has worked in the areas of student development and multicultural education at AU for 16 years.
Mobley will continue to collaborate with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which is led by Dr. Lindsey West, interim chief diversity officer.
“Diversity and Inclusion are central to our university’s values and educational mission,” West said. “The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has worn several hats throughout the university’s identity development, and it will continue to serve the university through initiatives that ensure that Augusta University is flourishing in terms of diversity and inclusion for all of its members.”
While the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will focus on initiatives for the enterprise, the new Office of Multicultural Student Engagement will aim at building the cultural competence of AU students.
From Diversity Summit to Multicultural Series
The annual Diversity Summit will also transition into the new Multicultural Series, which will feature speakers and programs year round.
Through this series, the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Diversity and Inclusion Alignment Committee will provide the university community with monthly programs to create an ongoing dialogue about diversity and multiculturalism on campus. Programs will be hosted on both the Summerville and Health Sciences campuses.
“This new Multicultural Series will provide ongoing, dynamic programming that will prioritize students’ multicultural educational experiences,” West said.
The series will kick off on Sept. 13 with a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Esera Tuaolo, who will discuss his experience as a gay NFL player. Tuaolo played for many NFL teams, including the Atlanta Falcons in 1998 when the team made it to the Super Bowl but lost to the Denver Broncos. Tuaolo has also had a singing career and was a contestant on The Voice.
Multicultural Student Center
Plans are also underway to build a Multicultural Student Center, which will be located on the second floor of the Jaguar Student Activities Center.
“(The center) will assist in providing a supportive and inclusive environment for underrepresented students on our campus,” Davies said. “It will also encourage students from all cultures to work together to learn about each other’s backgrounds and experiences.”
West says having a Multicultural Student Center not only enriches student experience but also helps with student recruitment.
“It is very exciting that our university is creating a Multicultural Student Center to build a sense of belonging and inclusion for our students, especially underrepresented students, West said. “Creating (a Multicultural Student Center) not only builds a sense of community for our current students, but it will attract prospective students.”
The Office of Multicultural Student Engagement is also hosting a Multicultural Sneak Peek from noon to 2 p.m. on Aug. 29 at JSAC in room 209 to give students an opportunity to share their thoughts on the look, direction and goals of the Multicultural Student Center.
“As a growing university, Augusta University is growing into a competitive institution, and enhancing its multicultural focus is one of the many ways AU is going beyond boundaries,” West said.