Posters illustrate diversity
at ULV
Jennifer Kitzmann
Staff Writer

The Institute for Multicultural Research and Campus Diversity held its third annual poster session Wednesday as part of its ongoing effort to make diversity on campus more universal.

“The poster session is a great opportunity for team leaders to share their work in the community and take on the campus’ Diversity Initiative,” said Maria Grandone-Llorente, executive director of the IMRCD said.

The Institute’s mission involves working toward creating a learning community on issues of diversity and multiculturalism through dialogue and educational programming.

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Posted April 22, 2005
Funded by the Campus Diversity Initiative, “Connecting the Spots: Sophomore Retention Program” plans to find ways to retain traditional-aged sophomore students. University President Steve Morgan, Ana Liza Zell, dean of admissions and Melissa Koers, interim director of admissions listen as Chip West, campus activities director, explains the details of the programs research at Wednesday’s third annual CDI Poster Session. The College of Law was among those who participated.
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Among its goals is to create awareness and understand diverse communities through programs, services and research.

The poster session also promoted the First Generation Student Success Program, which is also supported by the James Irvine Foundation.

This program was designed to promote diversity, educational opportunity and academic success for students who are the first in their family to attend college.

In focusing on the sense of academic purpose and confidence among students and family members, the program seeks to increase retention and graduation rates of first generation students.

“The purpose of the campus diversity Institute is to improve academic success for those who are under-represented,” Grandone-Llorente said. “It is important to reach those from diverse backgrounds, giving them all of the tools to succeed.”

ULV has taken other steps to increase diversity on campus.

“We have been very successful this year in hiring faculty members of diverse backgrounds so that it mirrors students on campus,” said Shawn Witt, assistant professor and liberal studies program director.

The highlighted goal for the event was to help faculty develop accurate representation for the diverse groups in the community by creating collective data according to students, staff, gender, demographics and academic levels.

Other programs such as the Division of Student Affairs created a program called “Connecting the Spots,” a pilot program to assist in the retention of underserved sophomores.

“The goal for the Division of Student Affairs is to increase the students’ involvement through a connection program that focuses on keeping students focused on their goals and on campus,” said Laura Kiralla, assistant dean of career services and assessment.

Participants such as the College of Law created a poster to illustrate the number of enrolled students and how many of them graduated.

“The research helps us keep track of students who enroll and see the percentage of students who also graduate,” said Vitonio San Juan, assistant dean of students at the College of Law. “Other research done by the College of Law also showed how there was a student increase.”

Llorente added: “The Diversity Initiative Poster session is a great way to enrich our learning about diversity in the community.

We are also greatful for the support of Dr. Morgan in sharing the vision.”

Jennifer Kitzmann can be reached at jlynnjen88@msn.com.