UNLV’s brand-new scholastic multicultural resource center, The Intersection, will celebrate it’s opening on Friday, April 21, with an open house from 10 a.m. to noon in the Trainee Union Space 121. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 2:30. Guest speakers include U.S. Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen, the 2016 UNLV College of Education Alumnus of the Year.
The Intersection is an initiative from the executive vice president and provost focused on improving student success and graduation rates and building a sense of belong on school. We asked Harriet Barlow, executive director, to inform us more about the center.
In a nutshell, what is The Intersection?
The Intersection is a one-stop resource center to help students browse their way to academic success.
How did the center happened?
The center has been in the works for a couple of years now. Carl Reiber, senior vice provost, saw the requirement for a center that was grounded in academics and efforts to improve our retention, progression, and graduation of trainees– particularly first-generation trainees and trainees of color.
We thought that, as one of the most varied public universities in the country, UNLV required a various type of school multicultural center than the kind you normally discover at a lot more homogenous institutions. There simply wasn’t a best design out there to follow. We likewise didn’t wish to replicate the numerous programs and services already working well on campus. So we started a two-year process to identify the gaps. We engaged the entire campus and our surrounding community in creating this center and developing its priorities.
Exactly what are those priorities?
The requirements of our trainees ended up being very clear, extremely early in the process. They kept coming back to that theme of “browsing” the school. Think about how tough it is for first-generation students– they don’t constantly have a person with experience in college to rely on for responses. In some cases they do not even understand the concern they require ask. The Crossway isn’t going to be their utopia, but it’s the location to start.
While we will grow with time, however today our leading concern is to help students– especially first-generation students and trainees of color– discover how to browse their way on campus and, eventually, graduate.
A secondary requirement for trainees was just a physical area to share ideas and develop a sense of belonging. For marginalized groups, that sense of belonging is a big consider their academic success.
We chose the area of The Crossway (on the first flooring of the Student Union) to make it very noticeable and convenient to student. I think it’s also a sign that the university is actually buying helping our specific trainees prosper.
Exactly what were the priorities for professors and personnel?
They’re really focused on training and programs to help them serve their students much better. At the top of the list are resources associated to cultural proficiencies in the courses to serve UNLV’s specific student body much better.
On Aug. 21-22, we are partnering with other school units to host a truly exceptional program called Incorporating Cultural Competence into Guideline, Assignments & & Evaluation. The program has been customized for UNLV and will give attendees really practical methods to right away bring best practices into their courses.
The Crossway is also an avenue to improve student-faculty engagement. For example, we’re working with the PIECES (Service Learning Initiative for Neighborhood Engagement in Sociology) program to research campus treatments from the trainee perspective.
How did you develop the name, The Intersection?
That’s another great example of the trainees influencing our development. They desired a name that was inclusive of all the elements that go into their identity. You cannot restrict them to one. The name originates from the term “intersectionality” coined by UCLA law professor Kimberle Crenshaw and it seems to state precisely what trainees were stating about themselves. Then we asked 2 art trainees– Jonathan Estrada and Alain Datuin– to design a graphic to represent our mission.
Exist any misunderstandings you ‘d like to address?
This is more of an intriguing point than a mistaken belief, however we use “multicultural” in our description because it’s a shorthand way to discuss exactly what we’re doing. Sometime I fret the term can be unique and it might push individuals to select to omit themselves from a “multicultural group.”
Yes, individuals are going to naturally self-segregate however it behooves us as an organization to set up systems where individuals– minority and bulk, privileged and marginalized– have to work together. The Intersection will become part of creating an environment on so we can safely learn more about each other and get to the level of understanding. One that says all students belong here.
Exactly what will success be for the center?
Success, to me, will be that there is a marked and considerable distinction in our retention and graduation rates in students of color– one that we can associate with trainees who have actually been associated with The Crossway. I likewise wish to the campus to be able to identify The Intersection as a top resource for them. Ultimately, we want everybody on school to see us as a fundamental part of the material of the university.