As of July 1st, what was formally known as the Office for Diversity and African American Affairs was renamed to suit a larger group of students and staff and is now the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
Dr. Jose Picart, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, noted that, “The change in the name of the office has been discussed over the past five years in various forums with students, faculty and staff.”
Since Dr. Picart’s arrival in 2003, the office had been brainstorming about creating a more appropriate name for the department and seeking to enhance involvement with students from all ethnic backgrounds not just those of the African American community. Some students have begun to express legitimate concerns about the name change and its new outlook by questioning whether it will affect the office’s relationship with the African American community on campus. Dr. Picart has stated, “The name change will not decrease our commitment to African American affairs. I expect NC State will continue to grow our services and resources dedicated to promoting the enrollment, retention and success of African American students, as well as the success of our African American faculty and staff.”
Originally established in 2000, the Office for Diversity and African American Affairs has withstood speculation for its title, from administration and staff members, and has lead discussions about renaming the office ever since its conception. Not only does this office seek to improve the campus’ knowledge about diversity but promote more funding for programs, and change the perception of the university by creating a more inclusive environment.
By adding inclusion to it’s title, it helps to further represent the office and the NC State campus as willing to evolve into a university that is more adaptable to a changing global market, embody all ethnicities, cope with various cultures within one broad campus culture, and continue to make these groups feel included in every aspect of their college careers, social development and university life.
“The new name is much more consistent with the work of my office. Adding the word ‘inclusion’ communicates clearly that my office is directly involved in promoting diversity throughout all of the university’s operations, practices and activities. These activities include campus administration, the academic curriculum, engagement and extension services, and university advancement,” stated Dr. Picart.
Although the name has changed, so has its overall dynamic. The new name was created with a new and improved goal in mind; to improve the campus quality of life and provide more resources for all ethnicities on campus, while continuing to fully support the African American community on campus.
Even though students weren’t directly involved during the name change process, they were the primary motivation in the establishment of the new name and identity of this office.