December 2, 2002
Student Affairs offers tips on excellence through
By Jennifer McNulty
Several leaders of the Student Affairs Division gathered for a workshop
in November to offer tips on achieving excellence by recruiting a diverse
|Deana Slater, college administrative
officer for Colleges Nine and Ten,
reminded participants to think beyond race when they consider the
goal of a diverse campus workforce.
Student Affairs was asked to lead the workshop because the division
has one of the most successful records on campus for recruiting a diverse
staff, according to Patricia Hiramoto, director of the campus Equal
Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Office (EEO/AA), which sponsored
the session. About 35 people attended the workshop.
Hiramoto credited Vice Chancellor Francisco Hernandez's leadership
of the division with following through on the campus's goal of creating
a diverse workforce. During the November 21 workshop, Hernandez described
his own commitment to diversity and the role his expectations have played
in inspiring his staff to work toward diversity.
Alma Sifuentes, director of residential and dining services for Student
Affairs, echoed Hernandez's comments, saying the "tone from the
top" is critical. She, too, works within her own unit to create
an environment that is comfortable for people of all backgrounds. Sometimes,
she said, that includes exercising what she called "active supervision,"
which can involve setting clear charges in searches, monitoring applicant
pools through the hiring process, and intervening when pools lack diversity.
Not to be overlooked, though, is the importance of tailoring job descriptions
and searches to be inviting to diverse pools of applicants, she said.
Alex Reveles, college administrative officer for Crown and Merrill
Colleges, said he rewrites job descriptions to be inclusive, makes sure
search committees are diverse, and provides clear direction to hiring
Other steps that aid the diversity effort are encouraging current staff
to apply for open positions, supporting staff professional development
at all levels, and enrolling staff in campus fair-hiring workshops,
said Reveles. Continuing to provide promotional opportunities for current
staff members will further bolster the campus's diversity effort, he
In lean budgetary times, managers need to work even harder to create
a working environment that is appealing to other campus employees, said
Reveles, noting that being open to new ideas, making an effort to thank
staff members when they "go the extra mile," and encouraging
teamwork can make the workplace desirable to outsiders.
In Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), Director Max Camarillo
sees a critical need for staff with what he called "cultural competencies
in working with diverse students." At the heart of the CPS mission
is a desire to provide a broad range of high-quality counseling services
to UCSC students to help them achieve their personal and educational
goals. CPS strives to help foster an "inclusive, multicultural
campus community in which differences are respected and valued,"
which requires a staff that is ethnically and socioculturally diverse,
Deana Slater, college administrative officer for Colleges Nine and
reminded participants to think beyond race when they consider the goal
of a diverse campus workforce. Skin color is sometimes the most visible
sign of diversity, she said, but diversity comes in many forms, including
physical abilities, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.
Class and educational background should be factored into the mix, urged
"Our custodial staff currently is Spanish-speaking, first-generation
immigrants," she noted. "What does that say to our residential
students?" Many students, she added, have said the person who made
the biggest difference in their life at UCSC was the custodial staff
member, the proctor, or the cafeteria worker who took the time to learn
their name and listen to them.
In addition to taking steps toward diversity during staff recruitments,
Slater discussed issues that can influence the retention of staff once
they join the campus community, including whether current staff portray
the campus community "honestly" during recruitments, "culture
shock" new staffers may experience and ways to support new staff
through the transition, and the need to continually "educate and
sensitize ourselves" about issues of diversity and ways to build
community among staff.
Slater urged the audience to reflect on activities within their own
units that build community while allowing staffers to share "the
uniqueness of our identities and to understand our differences."
Elise Herrera-Mahoney, administrative officer of the Student Affairs
Division, provided an overview of staff development programs that are
sponsored by the division. The division began offering its own programs
after staff development emerged as a priority and because the programs
aid in the retention of staff, she said.
Programs for "front-line" staff include classes on communication
and conflict management, organization and time management, teamwork
and collaboration, and customer service. The pilot program was so successful
it is now being offered campuswide by Staff Training and Development.
On the technical side, free classes are offered to divisional staff
in word processing, spreadsheet and database management, Powerpoint,
web production, and Pagemaker. For managers, the division is in its
third year of offering monthly sessions that cover topics ranging from
leadership development to campus budget updates. Finally, a diversity
education program is being developed jointly by the Colleges and University
Housing Services, the campus Hate/Bias Advisory Committee, and EEO/AA
to address issues that surfaced after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
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