Diversity Center Renamed

It will now be called the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success

Grace Onsrud, Staff Writer

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The formerly named Luther College Diversity Center has been renamed as the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success. The new name is an effort to better represent the work the CIES does as it begins new programs for the 2018-19 school year. The CIES will continue to function similarly to how it has in the past with the addition of a few new programs in the hope of increasing all students’ success.

One of the new orientation immersion programs introduced this year  through the CIES was called Endeavor Together. It integrated international students, Chicago Connect for Success students, and other domestic students as they began their first year at Luther. In past years, international students had a largely separate orientation process from domestic students.

Incoming first-year students also participated in a Sustained Dialogue event as a part of the orientation process this year. CIES will continue to work with the Sustained Dialogue Institute to hold more dialogues at Luther in the future.

Another new program introduced by the CIES is Catalyze, and its office is located next door to CIES in Dahl Centennial Union 113D. Catalyze was created by the Americorps organization College Possible, which helps first generation college students and students with financial need apply to and succeed in college. Director of CIES Wintlett Taylor-Browne said that this program is in line with one of the goals of Luther’s Strategic Plan to restructure the Diversity Center.

“[The Catalyze Program] is part of the college’s work to improve student persistence and success,” Taylor-Browne said.

Recent Luther graduates, Marcella Meza (‘18) and Daniel Brown (‘18), were hired to be coaches for the program during the 2018-19 school year. They will act as mentors to first generation students to help them succeed on campus.

“We help students who, once they get to college, are still going to need help with things like doing FAFSA, registering for courses, and everything that functions in university life besides just academics that can weigh on a student’s ability to succeed in college,” Meza said. 

Meza also said that the introduction of the Catalyze program played a role in the decision about the new name for CIES.

“The ‘student success’ portion of the [Diversity Center’s new] name was added because the Catalyze program came in,” Meza said. “What we do is called ‘success coaching.’ And since we are part of CIES now, that’s a big reason why ‘success’ was added to the name.”

According to Meza, the name is clearer and more accurate to the Center’s current work than the previous name.

“Diversity is vague and ambiguous; a lot of people mean different things when they say diversity,” Meza said.

Taylor-Browne feels similarly about the clarity of the new name.

“We [the CIES staff and Interim Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion Lisa Scott] brainstormed the name based on new programs and initiatives and wanted to reflect these,” Taylor-Browne said.

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