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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

September 12, 2011
Cheryl Reitan | Interim director | UMD Public Relations and Marketing | 218 726-8996 |
Susana Pelayo-Woodward | Director | UMD Office of Cultural Diversity | 218 726-8444 |

Diversity: How Did You Come to Be Here?

Chancellor Black and the UMD Diversity Commission invite faculty, staff, administrators, and students to participate in the 2011-2012 campus theme, "How Did You Come to Be Here?"

Susana Pelayo-Woodward, director of the office of cultural diversity at UMD, is one of the leaders of the diversity project. "The question—how did you come to be here—is at once simple and profound. There will be some unique combinations. We know we need to be aware of different cultures in order to fully accept and celebrate our rich diversity."

The online questionnaire asks about ancestry and heritage, as well as what led each person to the university as a student, staff, or faculty member. The answers will help define who the UMD community is as a whole.

"The project is our collective attempt to make the Strategic Plan a living, breathing evolving force on the UMD campus," said Joie Acheson Lee, co-chair, of the Diversity Commission. "It asks all of us to become culturally aware by learning our own unique stories as well as listening to each other. We hope that it is a cornerstone in the foundation of an inclusive campus climate — a climate that in turn deepens our appreciation of our rich and multi-layered community."

The UMD community is also encouraged to integrate the theme, How Did You Come to Be Here, into the classroom or with campus events and activities. A website has been created that is dedicated to the integration of equity, diversity, and social justice.

"Integrating our core values into life at UMD will help us prepare our students to contribute to an increasingly diverse world," said Paula Pederson, assistant professor and chair of the Curricular and Co-Curricular Integration Committee. "This is an opportunity for UMD to come together. As we encounter cultural difference and commonality, we also have the opportunity for increased intercultural effectiveness."

For more information about the project, see the UMD homepage story.

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