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02/16/04 - Exploring Diversity: Diversity Week of Feb. 23 - 27, 2004

From Feb. 23 - 27, 2004, Reinhardt College students, faculty and staff will gather to examine and celebrate diversity on the College campus.

Monday, Feb. 23
Salsa night sponsored by the Reinhardt Association of Multicultural Students (RAMS)
7-8 p.m. - A dance instructor will teach
9-11 p.m - dance

Tuesday, Feb. 24
10 a.m. - the Honorable Guillermo Salah Zuleta, Consul General of Colombia, will give a presentation
Fincher Visual Arts Center

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Study Abroad Fair
W. Frank and Evelyn J. Gordy Center

Wednesday, Feb. 25
5 p.m. - Culture and Diversity Symposium sponsored by
ACADeME and Office of Student Activities

Friday, Feb. 27
10 a.m. - drum workshop by Dr. Oforiwaa Aduonum, Ghanaian master drummer and artist-in-residence at Agnes Scott College
Falany Performing Arts Center


Reinhardt's president, Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood, strongly supports the value of diversity.  With a student population that is 10 percent minority (African American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, or Native American) and a full-time faculty that is 11 percent minority, Isherwood has included efforts to address diversity in several important College activities.  In the 2003-04 and 2004-05 action plans, which outline future opportunities, one of the five main emphasis areas is to enhance the interaction and respect for the diversity of races, cultures, experiences, and ideas. Isherwood also has addressed expanding diversity in his proposed strategic vision for the College.  

 Isherwood said he is committed to increasing cultural diversity "because it is simply the right thing to do."  He said that community members with different cultural experiences add to the richness of campus life, improve interaction and enrich the lives of those around them. He also believes that students are best prepared for the future when they have studied on a campus where people of different life experiences share power and responsibility.

An awareness towards diversity is not a new concept at Reinhardt. In 2001, a committee was assembled to proactively address such issues. The College's diversity committee, formally known as ACADeME, has student, trustee, faculty, staff and community representatives. Now chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Garbrah-Aidoo, a native of Ghana who came to Reinhardt in 2001 as an assistant professor of political science, the committee is hosting Diversity Week from Feb. 23 -27, 2004, to promote dialogue and further improve relationships.

In terms of expanding diversity through admissions, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions Julie T. Cook cited four current initiatives. First an African American recruiter, Brandi Smith, a Reinhardt alumnae and former student government president, was hired in the fall. �With her history at Reinhardt and her dynamic personality, Brandi has been effective in opening some new doors for us,�said Cook. Smith has worked with 100 Black Men of Atlanta and a similar organization in Macon to help reach prospective students who are juniors and seniors in high school. Reinhardt will also be part of an upcoming event targeted to African American students, the Atlanta Dream Jamboree, in downtown Atlanta.

Cook also said the recent expansion of the College's key recruiting territories was an opportunity for increased minority recruitment. Several years ago, recruiting efforts were focused on Cherokee County and its contiguous counties, but beginning this year, these areas have been expanded to include Atlanta and surrounding areas where African Americans comprise a majority of the student population. Cook expects these efforts to be increasingly successful over the next three to five years as the Reinhardt name and opportunities become more familiar to students.

Cook is also enthusiastic about the impact the new Goizueta Foundation grant will make in diversifying the student population. The grant will provide need-based scholarship assistance for Hispanic/Latino students whose families currently reside in the United States and will pay the salary of a new bilingual assistant director of admissions and diversity recruitment.

Isherwood also sees increasing the diversity of College faculty and staff as an important issue. Since his arrival in July of 2002, approximately 45 full-time faculty and staff have been hired. Of those new hires, 10 people, almost 22 percent, were from minority groups, Isherwood said. He said such statistics are concrete evidence that the College is proactively addressing diversity in its hiring practices.

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