Multicultural initiatives

Oct 25, 2005

Kettering's Office of Minority Affairs takes a step closer toward the global economy through a name change and more

The names and faces are the same, but Kettering University's Office of Minority Affairs is now called the Office of Multicultural Student Initiatives.

Director Dwight Tavada said the name change is an important step in helping Kettering address more multicultural issues. "The definition of 'minority' is changing in terms of demographics, so we're looking at the needs of the future," he said. "Our focus on more global issues will help expand our horizons and that of the University."

Tavada said many of the basic services in his office will remain the same. Kettering's Office of Multicultural Student Initiatives strives to:

  • increase minority student enrollment,
  • support international students,
  • offer academic excellence workshops,
  • achieve the best possible retention and graduation rates for students of color,
  • secure new and ongoing resources,
  • expand orientation and mentoring,
  • teach students about co-op expectations and job responsibilities, and
  • work to ultimately fulfill the needs of corporate America.

But Tavada said he felt it was time to face the demographic shifts that will soon be upon the global society. "A Hispanic majority is part of our future here in this country. How will that change things? It's an evolution in thoughts and services for us. We felt it was time to support new populations and work in new venues. This will be a more holistic approach for us."

One of the office's top priorities will continue to be AIM (Academically Interested Minorities), a five-week pre-college program focused on attracting some of the country's best students to Kettering. Associate Director Stephanie Jones said AIM is in a category by itself. In fact, AIM won a national award earlier this year.

"I have witnessed the various career successes the students who participate in the AIM program enjoy," she said. "We'll continue to develop the motivation and work ethic which makes them appealing to our corporate sponsors."

Associate Director L.B. McCune said the staff also remains dedicated to helping students make the transition from high school to college. "Even when students come to Kettering academically sound, there are other issues that we assist with. That factor becomes even more important as students work more in a global economy."

There is one thing that won't change, Tavada added. "Our offices are still on the third floor of the Campus Center and we'll continue to celebrate the accomplishments of our students."

Written by Pat Mroczek
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