Be a model that demonstrates how gender, racial and cultural diversity strengthen a university and society
Knowledge of the contributions and perspectives of women and minorities is an essential part of higher education for all students. The workplace is changing, and students must be able to understand and cope with assumptions and values different from their own. UAF already enjoys a widely diverse student body: 55% of our students are female, 14% are Alaska Native, 6% are other American minorities, and 2% are international students. The average age is 30.7 years.
UAF takes seriously its responsibility to provide every student the highest quality education in a safe and respectful atmosphere. Having faculty and staff that mirror the diversity of American society is crucial. UAF faculty currently include only 8% minorities and 25% women. By the year 2000 minorities and women should be properly represented in the ranks of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Chancellor Wadlow has asked each unit to develop specific plans, citing how it will improve educational opportunities and enrich gender, racial, and cultural diversity. We also propose the following:
- Provide incentives for recruiting and retaining women and American minority faculty, staff, and students.
- In each unit, provide mentoring to encourage graduation for students and professional development for faculty and staff.
- Include the perspectives of minorities and women in every classroom. This involves course materials, examples, critical analyses. learning styles, and cultural awareness. Provide support for faculty incorporating multicultural issues and material in their courses.
- Provide prejudice reduction and cultural sensitivity training for faculty, staff, and students.
- Ask students and faculty to work together to find solutions to the problem of courses with disproportionately high attrition for women and minorities.
- Increase undergraduate scholarships available to part-time students, minority students, and women in non-traditional fields.
- Recruit minorities and women for graduate programs.
- Establish a UAF Women's Center, with a meeting space and a coordinator. The Center could deal with safety issues, equity, curriculum development, mentoring, and advocacy.
- Make higher education more available to those students who need flexible schedules so they can care for families and keep their jobs. Improve support services for place-bound rural students.
- Improve access for students with disabilities.
- Fight discrimination and sexual harassment. Create ongoing programs on reducing hate crimes, on increasing sexual respect, and on fighting substance abuse, which is often related to racial abuse and sexual assault. Offer early intervention and counseling services. Publicize the ways to ask for help or to file a complaint concerning discrimination or harassment.