College Creates Office of Academic Diversity Outreach
The Kent State University College of Communication and Information (CCI) has created a new office and position in its college in an effort to better support the needs of its underserved and underrepresented students.
The Office of Academic Diversity Outreach (OADO) provides diversity education, support and resources to the faculty, staff and students within CCI. The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion defines diversity broadly as the “presence of difference.” All OADO initiatives are driven by this comprehensive and inclusive definition of diversity and work to serve all CCI students who identify within various underrepresented or underserved populations. Underrepresented or underserved student populations include, but are not limited to:
- Racial/Ethnic Minorities
- LGBTQ+/Gender and Sexual Minorities
- Students with Accessibility Needs
- First Generation Students
- Low-income Students
- International Students
- Non-traditional/Adult Students
- Military/Veteran Students
Amanda Leu has been named the OADO coordinator. Leu isn’t new to Kent State or CCI. She has previously worked as an academic advisor in the School of Communication Studies since 2014.
Leu believes her time spent as an academic advisor has prepared her for the responsibilities that come with her new job.
“The main concern I have is the academic success of our students, specifically with our diverse student populations,” Leu said. “During my time as an advisor, having that one-on-one interaction with students and really understanding what they need to be successful has prepared me for this.”
Leu’s job description looks a little different from other diversity positions on Kent State’s campus. She will be focusing on diversity in the college as it related to academic success. Her job description will evolve over the first year as she talks with students, faculty and staff to determine diversity needs in the college. For now, her position is one of the only diversity positions at the college level.
According to Leu, the university has been pushing recently for each college to appoint or create a position to specifically focus on academic diversity. Before now, there was minimal attention to diversity at the college level, and CCI is one of the first colleges to go forward with the creation of a full-time position.
Much of Leu’s first year on the job will be spent developing a diversity strategic plan as well as planning for tangible outcomes of diversity-related goals in CCI.
Leu expressed that she also wants to serve as a resource for all CCI students, faculty and staff who have any diversity-related questions or concerns. Whether there is trouble in the classroom, with a professor, or even if students or staff want to just have a conversation about diversity initiatives in the college, Leu will be here to assist.
“I want input from students, faculty and staff,” she said. “I want people to come to me and tell me what their concerns and ideas are so we can all work together to build a more inclusive community in CCI.”