The UWG Center for Diversity and Inclusion has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.
This award was given to express the many ways that UWG brings the student body together. The student body, although diversified, continues to grow.
UWG is measured, along with other schools in the U.S. and Canada, at an institution’s level of achievement and commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus. Creating a space for diversity is a part of university pride in being able to offer initiatives, programs and outreach, student recruitment, retention, completion and hiring practices for faculty and staff so that diversity can be known as a part of the educational experience during a student’s college career.
“We are fortunate at UWG to have diversity in experience, genetic makeup of the campus, training and all aspects of diversity,” said Dr. Yves-Rose Porcena, Chief Diversity Officer at UWG. “We enveloped aspects such as age, disability, race and LGBTQ. Although there are gaps, we most certainly have succeeded at being a diverse college institution.”
There are two strategies that have been implemented by Dr. Porcena and the CDI for continuing this growth and expansion of diversity.
“We want to create more workshops for students and faculty,” said Porcena. “We want all who attend or work for the University to be prepared with on site training in developing the skills necessary to promote diversity and submerse our student culture into it.”
The student diversity at UWG has been driven organically by location and statistics of students that have chosen UWG to be their place of study. Because of this, there is a new expectation for the staff to be able to handle such a wide-array of students in the UWG population and tend to all of their needs.
“Of course we can hire a bigger base of faculty,” said Porcena. “This year we have more funds than we have in times past to hire a more diversified culture of staff, but it still isn’t where we would like it to be. There are still gaps that we are working through, but this is indeed a rare accomplishment.”
The staff at the UWG CDI are becoming more culturally competent with additional training programs and workshops.
“One thing we stress in workshops is to eradicate bias,” said Porcena. “This means that staff need to be aware that what one word or subset of words might mean to one student who is African American, might mean something totally different to a student who is Hispanic. We must become adaptable as a student body and as a staff for the growing population to be cared for and to reach the highest level of education.”
In order for UWG to fulfill its culture objective– to become the most diversified university sought after as the best place to work, learn and further education, UWG must continue to open its arms to a growing population and exemplify our core values, including diversity and inclusion. Receiving this award shows that the work is in progress.