CCU is looking to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, with Student Advocate and Academic Advisor Jonathan Garrett as its coordinator.
“I was sitting and talking with Tom Thatcher one day eating lunch, and we were discussing diversity and inclusion issues in CCU, and he asked me if I was interested in being a diversity and inclusion coordinator because of all the work he’s seen me do at Solidarity over the last two years,” explained Garrett.
The task force currently consists of six faculty members: Student Services Administrative Coordinator Lydia Darlington, Student Involvement Coordinator Roger Bishop, School of Business Department Chair Dave Farris, Assistant Professor Laura Pressley, Urban Scholars Program Coordinator Carole Strecker, and First-Year Experience Coordinator Karin Admiraal.
“The goal is overall to actually make the campus look more like the Gospel because we have a lot of division here at CCU, unfortunately,” continued Garrett.
On the topic of international students, Garrett expressed his understanding that “international students are not only coming to this school, but they’re coming to a school in a culture that is not their own.”
“It’s one thing to say, ‘You’ve got classes and got to do homework,’ and it’s another thing to say, ‘Who helps me understand the culture?’” said Garrett. “One of the international students that came for a semester in grad school, he just needed help catching a bus to go grocery shopping.”
CCU is currently making improvements to ensure that the transition to the United States and college life is easier for international students.
Darlington, along with Registrar Amanda Derico and Associate Registrar Judy Pratt, recently went through a foreign student advising training led by Ron Cushing, director of international services at University of Cincinnati.
“The role I’d like to be in is one that can just kind of advise students not just on an academic level or for immigration reasons, but just to orient them to America and being at a university in America,” said Darlington.
“It’s so important to have somebody teach you those things, so I’d like to get into that.”