By IVORY MCGUIRE – CENTO WRITER
The start of each school year is a time to focus on a new area of Centre’s campus, because, as the old saying goes, there’s always room for improvement. It would seem that this year, Centre’s staff has put a lot of time and effort into diversifying the campus. Not only has a big focus been on diversifying the student body, but also expanding the diversity of the faculty.
Mark Addison, a Centre College graduate of the class of 2013 and the Community Service Coordinator for the Bonner Program, has seen a noticeable increase in the diversity of the student body. Addison firmly believes that having students from a variety of backgrounds has many benefits both academically and socially.
“Students (both Caucasians and other races) I know express having a better experience at Centre because of peers who are racially and ethnically different from them. A diverse student body increases awareness of real-world issues among students. Most students are having conversations that most of our parents aren’t able to sit at the table and fully discuss in order to reach workable results,” Addison said. “Students are reaching solutions with peers who grew up thousands of miles away from them in different parts of the country and globe and speak languages other than English.”
With programs like the Posse Scholarship, Centre College has clearly made great moves in the right direction when it comes to diversifying the students who call Centre home.
So what about the faculty? In addition to sharing his views on diversity in the student body, Addison also gave his thoughts on the current state of diversity within the faculty.
“I do not consider our body of faculty to be diverse,” Addison said. “We lack racial diversity among our faculty especially when compared to our improved number of students of color since my first year. I believe that to be the most important comparison and way of measure for several reasons. One reason is that students of color usually lack role models… You need a role model to help you navigate these personal challenges.”
With the recent focus being heavily directed toward diversity, Centre hopes to see a growth in the diversification of the faculty in an attempt to reap some of the benefits that Addison mentioned.
“Centre is definitely working to diversify the faculty ethnically, politically, geographically, in religious background and in gender, etc,” Associate Dean and Stodghill Professor of Religion Beth Glazier-McDonald said. “In fact, all the diversity officers at the Associated Colleges of the South are working together to help ACS schools think about additional ways to diversify faculty.
“We rewrote our advertisement template this summer to include a statement of diversity and community and we try very hard to create job advertisements that will attract a deep pool of applicants.”
Dean Glazier-McDonald stated that she too felt diversity was beneficial to the student body and Centre community.
“There are loads of positives to a faculty that is diverse in terms of race and gender, but also one that is diverse in talents, experiences and teaching approaches,” Dean Glazier-McDonald said. “A diverse faculty helps attract a more diverse student body. Further, scholarship has consistently shown that a diverse faculty enhances benefits across the board for students who have opportunities to explore issues from a variety of perspectives, to be connected to a larger ‘global’ community, and to find role models and mentors with whom they have things in common. Indeed, diversity in discipline, intellectual outlook, ethnicity, gender, cognitive style, and personality offers students the breadth of ideas that constitute a dynamic intellectual community. Crucially, a diverse faculty helps prepare students to live and work effectively in a society that continually grows more diverse and inclusive.” of ideas that constitute a dynamic intellectual community.”
Diversity across campus is essential in making the Centre experience a personal and successful one for those of all races. With programs like Posse, Centre is moving in the right direction, one that will benefit everyone.