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The Third World Center will increase its core staff positions to five by hiring an assistant director for diversity initiatives in an effort to foster cultural awareness. The new staff member will work most directly with ethnic student groups on campus and will also serve as an adviser for international student and first-generation programs, according to Ricky Gresh, senior director for student engagement. The search is underway, and the center is hopeful that the position will be filled soon, Gresh said.

The search committee for the new assistant director is composed mainly of undergraduate students, Gresh said, adding that the committee includes a first-generation representative, one representative of the international mentoring program and three students from cultural student organizations or who work for the center to plan diversity events.

"Because the position is so critical and because of its high level of working with students, the committee relies heavily on student voice to help identify the best candidate," Gresh said.

Though the University had to make budget cuts, it wanted to do so while enhancing diversity and investing in the center, Gresh said.

In 2010, the Organizational Review Committee met to assess student services, Gresh said.

"Coming out of last year's discussions, there was a strong sense that we should more effectively center efforts around diversity programs," Bergeron said.  "We recognized last year that we are all doing a lot, but not coordinating very well."  

The Undergraduate Council of Students also brought forth recommendations in October that called for a more centralized approach to providing services to international students, The Herald reported at the time.

"UCS recommended that the energy of efforts be brought more clearly into the TWC as a kind of hub," Bergeron said.

Three staff members previously led the center, but the organizational review recommended adding the additional position of associate director, Gresh said. The center originally hired Rosario Navarro as associate director, but after taking maternity leave, she assumed the position of director of international programs and languages at the Office of Continuing Education.

Gresh said this gave the center another chance to reevaluate their staff and their staff's responsibilities.

"Now we have the opportunity to hire an assistant director and a program associate, thus expanding our staff to five people," Gresh said. "The real difference between the positions, however, is the level at which their work is expected to be done," Gresh said. Navarro's departure was an opportunity to configure positions in the most effective way.

Top candidates for the assistant director position will go through a series of events including campus visits and interviews with student groups, the search committee and current and former staffers including Navarro. "Only then can an offer be made," Gresh said.

The position of director, formerly held by Karen McLaurin, is also currently open, and a search committee has been formed, according to the TWC website.


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