Message from the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity
Welcome to the WWU Diversity website! My primary focus as Special Assistant to the President for Diversity is to provide support to the University in the area of multicultural outreach and diversity. Much of this work entails serving as a liaison for University staff to the President and other University officials on diversity issues. In addition, the responsibilities of the position include the following:
I am responsible for outreach and regular interaction with diverse members of the community and with community organizations such as: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); the Whatcom Hispanic Organization (WHO); the Skagit Valley G.I. Forum; the Whatcom County Human Rights Task Force; and the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP). I also coordinate efforts to solicit advice and counsel from the community on salient issues pertaining to diversity.
Leadership through Representation and Collaboration
I have the privilege of collaborating on diversity initiatives with the many individuals and offices dedicated to the university's core diversity mission. I serve as a general resource and referral source for students, faculty and staff on issues related to diversity. I have been actively engaged with the office of Admissions and with the Office of Academic Affairs to provide support for outreach, recruitment, and retention of students of color to assure students of color and their parents that a college degree is an attainable goal. I enjoy the opportunity to work directly with with first generation students and students of refugee parents, to help them navigate the complex process of college admissions. I am available upon request to serve as a consultant to academic departments on diversity initiatives, faculty and staff searches, and supporting diverse speakers.
Multicultural Achievement Program Scholarship
This program, which I administer, provides scholarships for students who demonstrate leadership skills in the area of multicultural or diversity issues. It has a total annual budget of $350,000. Students apply or reapply for the scholarship on a yearly basis and are awarded $2,800 per student. It is not a requirement to be a student of color to receive the MAP scholarship, but student applications must demonstrate leadership skills and interests in this area. The program has increased the level of diversity on campus retention rates for individuals receiving the scholarship. (More information is contained in the Financial Aid web pages.)
The Diversity Fund
Representing the President, I administer a $25,000 fund that supports student-centered programs, forums, videoconferences, cultural presentations, and workshops. First priority is given to campus-wide efforts, such as diversity training and inter-group dialogue work shops. This financial support makes possible various projects designed to engender sensitivity and understanding of issues and concerns impacting ethnic minority students, faculty, and staff. Examples of programs supported by the Diversity Fund in the past include such events as the Annual Black History Month and the Vietnamese Tet Lunar New Year Celebrations, conferences sponsored by student groups, and lectures by visiting scholars.
--Dr. Kunle Ojikutu