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New aspects of the Multicultural Student Services increase program advantages

September 25, 2008

The administrative structure of Multicultural Student Services is undergoing changes that will include dividing the administrative structure, hiring of new staff and creating new programs that will increase the ability to serve individual students’ needs.

“The emphasis at the University is how we can concentrate people separately so that students get exactly what they need,” Multiculture Student Services Coordinator Linda Alvarez said. 

The changes started two years ago with new buildings and the reorganizing of administrative offices into separate departments. The Dean of Students Office, which used to be responsible for student health and counseling, career services and multi-cultural services, was dissolved in Jan. 2007 to become a division of Student Affairs.

“Student Affairs absorbed the health and counseling center, judicial affairs and was charged with determining how best to address programs, support and advising for our Heritage Student Organization and our GBTQ population on campus,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gregg Heinselman said.

The goal is to make each service suited for the student. Instead of placing all aspects of University life into one program, they have now split up these features to better accompany the students.

“[The reorganization] will bring expertise for the students and it will also provide better programming,” Special Assistant to the Chancellor Blake Fry said.

The hiring process has begun for a socicultural program coordinator who will be part of the Student Life staff. They will be responsible for supporting and advocating programming for multicultural organizations and the Gay Straight Alliance.

“We’re looking to recruit and hire an individual that will be an entry-level professional that will work directly with students,” Heinselman said.

The new hire will be involved in student clubs and organizations, cultural programs, the Diversity Awareness Committee and will be active in the community. The screening for applicants will take place in October and a new individual will be hired this winter. Students can also be involved in the hiring of the socio-cultural program coordinator by voicing their opinions in the meetings. The meetings will be open to the public.

Along with the division of Student Affairs and the hiring of a socioculture program coordinator, there are new programs that are in development. One program is the Emerging Leaders Institute. The Emerging Leaders Institute brings students and professors together to create innovative ways to get students’ contribution for success, according to their Web site.

Workshops are also being put together to enhance students’ life. These workshops will provide leadership skills and study skills that will encourage academic success. There are expected to be two workshops a semester that will be open to all students on campus. There will be two team leaders who will be getting students’ input on what they would like to see covered in these workshops.

“Part of our mission will be reaching out to students in a variety of capacities,” Alvarez said.

With the collaboration of these changes to the Multicultural Student Services, students will be able to seek help with academic success as well as personal growth.

“It’s a positive step,” Heinselman said, “It will begin to lay a foundation for programming in support of some identified populations.”