Kent State University’s CCI (College of Communication and Information) Diversity Team is evolving. Are you interested in getting involved with diversity work or exploring what this team has to offer? You’re in luck, because Kent State’s very own Amanda Leu is the brains behind the operation. Amanda Leu is confident in her abilities as to what she has to offer to CCI Diversity.
“I’m here to be able to provide that extra layer of support services for students, faculties and staff with whatever that possibly could be, even if sometimes that’s outside of the scope of what people would classify as diversity work, I’m here to be able to provide those services regardless of being related to diversity or not.”
According to their website; CCI Diversity’s Mission is to “advocate for and provide diversity support education and resources to the students, faculty and staff in the College of Communication and Information. They envision CCI as a supportive community in which all students, faculty and staff are valued, embraced and enabled to participate to their fullest abilities. As you can see on their website, CCI Diversity provides a unified approach to diversity initiatives for all schools and disciplines within CCI.
The CCI Diversity team is a group of volunteered members; staff, faculty, professors and students who have gotten together because they care about diversity in their college. Throughout CCI Diversity these team members collaborate to come up with different programs, events and outreach activities. Currently the CCI Diversity team is putting together a new training program for faculty and staff, and are in the process of planning CCI Diversity week for the spring semester. CCI Diversity week is a program to raise awareness about diversity. The goal is to get people and students talking more about diversity and inclusion.
This year CCI Diversity is focusing more on students’ needs and less planning. Team member and Junior at Kent State, Arkayla Howard says she got involved by the suggestion of her Student Success Leader. From there she began attending Diversity meetings. Since last year was the building year for the Diversity team there was a lot of starting out things to get done such as; building a mission statement, and a vision statement. “I thought these two things were the same but they are clearly very different”. Arkayla told me that they started to look at what resources students need and what the college already had. “This semester we’ve focused on just getting the name out there to the community.” Attending Kent State events is a selling point for the Diversity team when trying to raise awareness and get the name out there. One of the most important aspects to this according to Arkayla is simply, the concept of having a team devoted to diversity. “As a student of color this type of thing makes me feel more comfortable and confident when approaching my professors because I know they are devoted to giving me the best education possible.”
Arkayla also mentions how she hopes to see the mandating of micro aggression in the diversity training in the future. She believes this to be a very important aspect of diversity training.
I met with the FYE Director at Kent State, Cathy Zingrone. When interviewing Cathy, she spoke very highly of the CCI Diversity team and Amanda Leu. She believes that ever since Amanda’s Diversity unit in FYE students have become more involved and aware of the subject. “Amanda was the highest rated class session by students in terms of beneficial to them.” Connecting freshman and giving them exposure is what FYE is all about so of course Diversity is a direct component to this. Cathy says, “It’s all about that get out of your comfort zone, get out of your box experience.” Many of the students in FYE come from backgrounds with very little diversity playing a role in them and this is a key aspect that Cathy and Amanda want to change for their futures. The purpose of the CCI Diversity is to get students to expand their comfort zones and what better way to do this than to have it start with freshman year?