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Amanda Leu, cCI Academic Diversity Outreach Coordinator
How do you think your job as an academic advisor prepared you to be the academic diversity coordinator for CCI?
It was truly the one-on-one interactions with students that prepared me for this position. The main concern I have is the academic success of our students, specifically with Kent State University’s diverse populations. Having a background in advising and having a deep knowledge of academic policies and procedures has prepared me to take this next step. With all my experience prior to this, I can now confidently assume the role of the Coordinator for the Office of Academic Diversity Outreach for CCI and focus on diversity issues and how they relate to the academic success of our students.
What is your basic job description?
This job is ever growing and ever developing, because this position is brand new. Other colleges across the university are starting to select someone dedicated to diversity initiatives as well. The focus of this first year will be talking to students, staff and faculty to get a better feel for the needs within CCI. After those initial conversations, I can lay out more concrete plans for the future. For now, my major responsibility is serving as a diversity resource for the college. I will also be available to sit in on meetings and answer questions about diversity and cultural issues. Furthermore, I am here for the students as much as I am for faculty and staff. Students should know that if they’re having any trouble with professors, classmates, or anything else at the university, they can come to me. I am here to open up the dialogue about the concerns and really foster that sense of full inclusivity in the college.
What was the specific reason for the creation of your job position?
In the past, diversity efforts have not received enough attention at the college level. The university has been pushing recently for colleges to appoint or create a position that is specifically dedicated to diversity initiatives. CCI was one of the first colleges at Kent State to go full steam ahead with this initiative. After a national search was conducted to fill this new diversity position, CCI received over 130 applicants and the college chose me. I am truly honored to serve in this new role.
What are your plans for the first year on the job?
Much of my first year will be spent coming up with a diversity strategic plan for the college. This plan will include tangible outcomes for initiatives that we would like to see, goals we want to accomplish, and methods for how we are going to work to achieve those goals and outcomes. I will also create a CCI Diversity Team to serve as an advisory council for the Office of Academic Diversity Outreach. This team will help me stay connected to all of our schools and to the diversity-related concerns of our students, faculty and staff.
What does diversity mean to you?
I take a very holistic and inclusive approach to defining diversity. Diversity includes student with various racial and ethnic backgrounds, first generation students, low income students, non-traditional students, military students, LGBTQ+ students, and more. I’m here to serve all aspects of diversity. With all the resources, programs, and initiatives, the primary thought process behind everything we do will be that holistic and inclusive idea of what it means to be diverse. There are so many different aspects that contribute to being a diverse student, especially in higher education. I want to make sure that everything we do in CCI reflects this ideology and that all of our efforts serve as many students as possible.
How can students get in touch with you?
I have an open door policy; anyone can come by at any time. If there’s an issue with anything, or even if they just want to meet me because I’m new and the position is new, they can come by my office on the 3rd floor of the Library. We can sit down, chat about ideas related to diversity in the college, or discuss any concerns they’ve had in the time they’ve been here. I want to work collaboratively with everyone so that together we can foster a truly inclusive community in the College of Communication and Information and at Kent State University.
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