UAA’s diligent pursuit of diversity has recently taken another stride forward in the form of a newly-completed video series by the Campus Office of Diversity and Compliance.
The office, in partnership with Monica Kane, has produced these videos in order to promote diversity on the UAA campus.
These videos, which can be found on the Office of Campus Diversity and Compliance website, each feature a different staff or faculty member being interviewed about their both their experiences with and thoughts about diversity on campus.
“I really enjoyed being involved in the video. It was a really good experience,” said Timea Webster, a participant in the video. “When I came to UAA five years ago, I didn’t see a lot of African Americans in important positions on campus.”
Webster believes that has changed now, and that any student can go to the ODC website, watch that video and know that there are many different types of people here. She believes that alone can increase the university’s reputation for diversity and the amount of students that will one day choose to attend UAA.
“The hope for the project was that it would contribute to the design of a preferred future at UAA in alignment with UAA 2017 (UAA’s Strategic Plan]), by celebrating the differences, commonalities, and diversity of the UAA community,” said Kane.
“We wanted to create something that would fully embrace and share with others the diversity and welcoming environment reflected here at UAA,” said Marva Watson, director of the Office of Campus Diversity and Compliance. “We felt that giving all of those individual social identities a voice would be a great way to achieve that.”
UAA’s journey toward achieving true diversity is reflected through their website and through the various offices, such as the Campus Office of Diversity and Compliance, throughout the campus.
“…UAA strives to create an inclusive and respectful campus community that promotes and embraces our individual differences,” is UAA’s diversity mission statement and main reason for this project, according to the video.
However, some think that UAA’s journey is truly far from over. “I’d really like to see greater diversity here,” said Phillip Peterson, a UAA English professor.
He went on to explain that it is extremely important, especially in university settings, for diversity to embody the ideas of the public sphere, and that with diversity, the more the better.
“We’ve made a lot of progress with diversity at UAA, but we still have work to do,” said Will Jacobs, a participant in the video and UAA staff member.
Reasons for UAA’s diversity vary by opinion. UAA is home to many degree opportunities, so it appeals to all kinds of people with varied interests, according to Mike Mann, film major at UAA.
According to Mike Driscoll, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UAA, there are a lot of good things happening and many programs in place that are working to improve diversity and acceptance at UAA.
Driscoll also stated that diversity has always been an issue and a main goal for UAA and that the UAA Strategic Plan was put in place to achieve a level of diversity at the university that is equal to the diversity possessed by the city of Anchorage as a whole.
“[We would like to] expand educational opportunity and increase student success: improve transition to higher education with an emphasis on serving Alaska Natives, other underrepresented populations, and first-generation college students; continue to improve the rates at which students attain their educational goals; and substantially increase the number of our students who achieve the highest academic distinction,” is one of UAA’s Strategic Plan major goals.
UAA’s vision for 2017 is to be a first choice university distinguished by its diverse, engaged community of students, faculty, alumni, subsequently, its schools, colleges and campuses, according to Kane.
As UAA’s journey towards true diversity continues, students should take note of the fact that diversity and tolerance must start with the students themselves.