| Program: || Moving Toward Community, College Park, MD |
| Contact(s): || Gloria J. Bouis, Associate Director, Office of Human Relations Programs: (301) 405-2842 |
| Purpose: || To promote coordination, visibility, and institutional support for diversity programs throughout the campus community |
Diversity programs at the University of Maryland have grown continuously since 1986, when diversity was first identified as a top campus priority. In 1992, a campus survey of unit heads and diversity program sponsors found that the university's diversity efforts lacked the coordination, visibility, and institutional support needed to achieve tangible, lasting effects. Survey respondents also wanted to see diversity activities extended throughout the academic year. Responding to this feedback, President William E. Kirwan established the "Diversity at UMCP: Moving Toward Community" Initiative ("Diversity Initiative") in 1993. The goal of the Initiative is to make diversity a more pervasive part of the campus community by coordinating diversity activities into a single, united effort.
The Diversity Initiative is managed by the Office of Human Relations Programs with the assistance of an advisory board, a steering committee, and numerous subcommittees that together involve over 70 students, faculty, and staff. In the 1996-97 school year, the Diversity Initiative coordinated a series of Focus Weeks on diversity that included 65 diversity events, such as lectures by prominent speakers on the psychology of prejudice and racism, as well as supported and publicized events such as a conference on reshaping Asian American studies on college campuses. The Diversity Initiative also gave $16,000 in matching grants to campus organizations to provide seed money for 19 other diversity activities.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
The University of Maryland has been asked repeatedly to share its Diversity Initiative model with other colleges and universities across the country. Furthermore, preliminary research compiled by the Diversity Initiative's Evaluation Subcommittee indicates that the public opinion of diversity programs at the university has improved since the initiation of the Diversity Initiative. Survey data also suggest that the programs made student, faculty, and staff participants feel more a part of a multi-racial campus community and helped them become more aware of diversity issues. However, challenges still remain as results from a recent survey on cultural attitudes and campus climate demonstrate some divide in perceptions between white students and students of color concerning diversity issues on campus.