New Century College Boasts Active Diversity Committee

Posted: January 25, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

New Century College (NCC) is inviting all students, faculty and staff to a monthly Diversity Matters Brown Bag Lunch discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 6. The purpose of the informal gathering is to “kick back” and meet all those who wish to share opinions and discuss issues on diversity.

NCC is an intentionally inclusive community that celebrates diversity. In the fall of 2003, the Diversity Committee was formed out of the NCC Dean’s Advisory Council after students requested the council create a group to actively address matters pertaining to diversity.

“Since [the diversity committee’s inception], we’ve been moving right along,” says Suzanne Scott, a diversity affairs committee member and former chair. “Because of our open membership and engaging activities, we’ve really seen good things come about. We’re all very, very proud of what we’re doing here.”

Most of the committee’s activities are centered on creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and where all are reminded of the importance of diversity. So far, the committee has succeeded in defining themselves within the university and addressing the issues surrounding diversity. They have also compiled a booklet of tips based on faculty and staff input and explored the work of other universities that address similar issues.

The committee holds monthly meetings throughout the school year, hosts workshops for faculty development and maintains a presence at all NCC events. Beginning March 6, the committee, along with the Women’s Studies Program, will add even more to their array of monthly meetings by sponsoring panel discussions on international human rights.

But the committee’s vision goes beyond holding meetings and planning events. Matt Bruno, diversity committee co-chair, says the group wants to be a resource for faculty, staff and students, and committee members plan to promote their work through publications and at conferences.

“As a resource, we have and will continue to set up training opportunities around multicultural education for students, faculty and staff,” Bruno says. “For example, we created a working document entitled, ‘Tips from the Trenches.’ It gives practical advice to faculty discussing diversity issues in the classroom.”

Among the committee’s activities in 2005-06 are:

  • Conducted diversity workshops at each NCC faculty retreat
  • Kicked off the Diversity Matters Brown Bag lunch series; participation increased each month
  • Participated in Safe Zone training – educating allies of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) community
  • Participated in the Tunnel of Oppression – a multimedia presentation designed to address discrimination issues, as well as provide a forum for discussion
  • Attended the lecture of Melanie Bush, author of “Everyday Forms of Whiteness,” a book focusing on white racial identity
  • Greatly increased committee participation and awareness of student activism, including involvement in the Invisible Children demonstration to help underprivileged children in Uganda and the Save Darfur Rally to aid humanitarian efforts in Sudan

On the second Friday of each month, beginning again on Feb. 9, the committee will meet at noon in the NCC conference room on the fourth floor of Enterprise Hall. Topics to be discussed will include campus activities, noteworthy articles and tips on teaching in a diverse classroom. The meeting is open to all.

For more information on the Diversity Committee or to obtain a “Tips from the Trenches” booklet, contact Matt Bruno or visit the NCC web site.

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