Thursday, Nov. 13, I entered my Journalism 220 class like it was any other day. I didn’t know the conversation made in class that day would open my eyes and change my views forever. The class discussion was about diversity on campus.
Pamela Fisher, a journalism instructor, wanted to know what everyone’s thoughts were. Students began to chatter amongst one another. There was a lot to be said. No one held back their thoughts. We as a classroom were being completely open with one another and for the first time ever I got to listen to other people’s sides and feelings about diversity at Northern Kentucky University.
“It was kind of weird when I first came here. I thought of the Northern Kentucky area as a mix of black and white. I didn’t think it was a majority of white,” Gabrielle Mays, a junior communications major and transfer student, said.
Another student, Bethany Ellen, sophomore public relations major, described the opposite.
“I came from a small town made up of mostly white people. When I came to NKU I saw international students, I saw African-American students and Latino students,” Ellen said. “Not only that, NKU has offices and programs for every kind of student.”
The powerful conversation went on for the remainder of the hour. When class ended I decided to further research the topic of diversity at NKU.
According to Forbes.com, the statistics are as follows:
Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1.0%
Black or African American 6.0%
Two or More Races 1.0%
Race/Ethnicity Unknown 3.0%
Non-Resident Alien 4.0%
The above statistics clearly show Northern Kentucky University is in need of a more diverse campus. This is what I know, NKU is expanding. There are several large projects going on around campus, making us bigger. NKU went D1, making us bigger. NKU has broken the attendance record this past year, making us bigger. We are a school that is growing in so many ways. I found that NKU plans to grow in the area of diversity, as well.
In fact, there is an entire plan mapped out to create a more diverse campus. According to www.cpe.ky.gov, The Council on Post-secondary Education worked collaboratively with Kentucky’s public post-secondary institutions, as well as numerous higher education stakeholders across the Commonwealth, to develop the Kentucky Public Post-secondary Education Diversity Policy and Framework for Institution Diversity Plan Development.
The policy was adopted by the Council September 12, 2010. The policy is implemented through the Kentucky Administrative Regulation, which is the state equivalent of the federal Code of Federal Regulations and contains final regulations. The KAR was filed with the Legislative Research Commission, has undergone a rigorous review, and is scheduled for approval.
“Northern is not as diverse as the other schools I have been too,” Mays added to the class conversation.
Personally, I believe NKU is taking the right steps to diversify campus. The NKU Diversity Plan covers several areas in hopes that it will one day reflect its achievements, inside and outside of the classroom.
The plans are to focus on the following four areas:
1) Student Body Diversity that reflects the diversity of the Commonwealth or the institution’s service area (both undergraduate and graduate).
2) Student Success (retention, graduation rate, degrees and credentials).
3) Workforce Diversity (faculty, staff, executive/administrative/managerial).
4) Campus Climate (environment, strategies, employment retention, and promotion).
NKU is about to enter it’s last year of the plan. If all goes according to plan, NKU students and faculty will see an increase of diversity on campus, forever changing Forbes statistics. As for now, we can help one another by reaching out to others and respecting the differences each and every one of us has.