The Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota announced the finalists for its director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence in an email Monday and invited public feedback.
The center’s new director will be tasked with increasing service to students of color and re-energizing community and campus connections with cramped staffing and budgeting levels.
Public forums featuring a question and answer session for the two candidates will be held next week. There will be an opportunity afterward to give input through an evaluation form.
E. Frederic MacDonald-Dennis, the former interim director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Haverford College, will present at 1 p.m., Nov. 29 in 140 Nolte Center.
Thomas L. Alexander III, special assistant for diversity to the Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, will hold his forum at 2 p.m., Dec 2 in 226 Appleby Hall.
The new director will have to assess staff and resources to find how to “efficiently leverage” the office to students of color, said interim MCAE director Phillip Miner.
He said MCAE wants to expand its service to undergraduate students of color, with an estimated 30 percent of students of color being served each year through academic and student engagement and outreach in the Twin Cities community.
This semester, about 18 percent of the more than 30,000 undergraduate students were of color, according to University data.
Miner said the University has a history of “valuing diversity” and believing talent comes in all colors and genders.
“There is something to be said about individuals finding comfort in spaces that look and/or reflect who an individual is,” Miner said.
He said the Office of Equity and Diversity is on the “fast-track” to picking the new MCAE director. After that position is filled, Miner said he looks forward to going back into retirement in Jacksonville, Fla.