Changes in Student Development

Changes in Student Development

Nicole Johnson

On February 1, Dean of Student Development Raphaella Prange made the announcement about changes that will be happening with the Office of Student Programs and the Center for Multicultural Student Affairs.

Prange wrote in the announcement that as of May 31, 2013, a reorganization of Student Development will commence. After OSP and CMSA were evaluated, it was found that they are not meeting the needs of the students. Prange wants Student Development to assist in meeting the academic mission of the institution, and she feels that a student development area of campus should be focusing on ways to engage the student outside of the experience of a classroom. As they are now, OSP and CMSA are not meeting these goals.

These operations will merge to become the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement in hopes that this will meet the needs of the current students and maintain the increase of retention rates and academic success. The five positions between OSP and CMSA – Director of Student Programs, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Associate Director of Student Programs, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs, and Assistant Director of Student Programs – will also be reworked so that they will change as necessary with OISE.

“We [Student Development] could cross train five positions,” Prange said, “and we could look at having really diverse staff across those five positions, and we could start really working with intention to create these experiences. All five positions will be responsible for inclusion and diversity efforts and programming activities.”

While no organizations have been officially announced that they will be cut, Prange did say that they are looking at a few programs right now, such as Food for Thought.

“Wonderful set of programs but not usually well attended by students,” Prange said. “Maybe that’s because it’s during the lunch hour or maybe that’s because it’s not marketed well, but I’d like to look at programs like that to see how can we make them more widely attended. Some of those speakers are absolutely marvelous, but our students aren’t reaping the benefits of those programs, so how can we connect it better to the student population?”

Before this announcement was made, it had been known by some members of the student body that Latrina Denson, director of the Center of Multicultural Student Affairs and Dr. Ishwanzya Rivers, assistant director of the Center of Multicultural Student Affairs, were told that their last days in CMSA were on May 31.

When asking Prange about that, she said, “Well, they were not let go, so that’s an inaccurate statement. The positions have been eliminated that they sit in now. They have the opportunity to look at other opportunities, whether on this campus or other places.”

At the time of writing this, Latrina Denson could not be reached for comment.

With this announcement, though a few questions have been answered, many questions have been left unanswered. Prange has given assurance that no organizations would be shut down, but some students are not so sure of that. Unofficially, a few students have shared concerns that their programs will be cut unfairly and have concerns for the future after May 31.

At this point in time, all we can do is wait and see.