Brian Bridges

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Diversity Matters: Faculty and staff can become more involved

Every month is significant in the celebration of diversity. October holds resonance because it is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and the first half of the month is Hispanic Heritage Month. These three observances do not comprise the totality of celebrations in the month but they provide a cross-section of the spectrum of difference that exists in our nation and the world.

Recent hate-spawned events targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have highlighted the need to more fully accept difference and promote the importance of ALL types of diversity in our society. This is even more important for our campus environment.
Faculty and staff play a critical role in shaping our campus culture to make Ohio University more affirming, welcoming and positive for all its constituents.

We do an effective job at that already, but there is always room for improvement. Campus offices like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center, the Women’s Center, the Multicultural Center and International Student and Faculty Services are leaders in promoting the environment we not only desire but that is best suited to fully prepare our students for the world in which they will live and work as adults.

Within Diversity, Access and Equity (DAE), we are working to infuse diversity throughout institutional policies, practices and programs and each faculty and staff member plays a role in making that a reality.

Faculty and staff can get involved in numerous ways, including participating in activities like the Summer Institute for Diversity Education, helping with the recruitment and retention of multicultural and international students, mentoring undergraduates through the Women’s Center or the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention, serving as an informal adviser to any of the seven administrative units within DAE, attending events hosted by our offices, or, simply, by serving as an advocate for these issues within your colleges and administrative units.

This is but a small sampling of the ways you can promote diversity on campus. While October provides opportunities for involvement and mutual understanding, similar opportunities exist throughout the academic year. Join us in working to make OHIO the most affirming campus it can be!