Thanks to UCA’s wide variety of campus activities recorded in the annual campus Diversity Strategic Plan Report and the Minority Recruitment and Retention Report, the university has been honored as an institution committed to diversity for 2019 by Minority Access, Inc. — a nonprofit organization committed to increasing diversity, decreasing disparities and reducing incidences of environmental injustices.

Dr. Angela Webster, the associate vice president of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, accepted the award on behalf of UCA at the 20th National Role Models Conference in September.

According to uca.edu, National Role Models Conference is one of the most prestigious conferences of its kind, addressing issues of diversity and disparities in our nation and assembling high-achieving innovators, recruiters, researchers, faculty, administrators, students, mentors and alumni, as well as institutions that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity. 

“This honor is important because it speaks to UCA's commitment for all students, faculty, and staff to be visible, valued, validated, and even victorious in their aspirations,” Webster said. “This aligns with campus aims for retention, persistence, graduation and employee development.”

According to its website, Minority Access was established in 1995 to recognize colleges and universities for their commitment to diversity. With the support of public and private entities, and the cooperation of 170 colleges and universities, Minority Access implements and administers programs and services that advance the recruitment, retention and enhancement of underrepresented populations to improve diversity in research, technology, education and employment.

Within the 2018-2019 school year, awards such as the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award and the 2019 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award have been presented to those at UCA whose “commitment to diversity and inclusion has made a significant, positive impact on others.”

“The application for the [Minority Access] award includes representative activities from those narratives, which includes the good work of a cross section of the campus,” Webster said.

For those looking to participate or volunteer for UCA programs or events geared toward promoting diversity and inclusion on campus — such as Career Services Engage for Latinx Students, Civility Circles, Lived Experiences for Students of Color and LGBTQIA+ Faculty/Staff Affinity Resource Group — Webster highly encourages taking part in events that highlight the importance of human kindness.

I encourage students to cultivate cultural humility and cultural agility,” Webster said. “Take more diversity related courses. Volunteer for service-learning opportunities. Inspire classmates and friends to treat all individuals well. The college experience is an excellent time for students to participate in activities and to attend events where they are neither the center nor the majority. To nurture curiosity is a great way to remain a lifelong learner.”

For more information regarding Minority Access Inc. and opportunities available through the organization, visit minorityaccess.org. To learn more about UCA’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, visit uca.edu/diversity/institutional-diversity.

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