University to 'redouble' diversity efforts with dialogue

By Eric Quiñones

Princeton NJ -- Seeking to amplify discussions about diversity and increase the number of voices in this essential dialogue, the University has developed a new program to foster a more open and welcoming campus environment.

The initiative, Dialogue@Princeton, is funded by a three-year, $225,000 grant awarded in July by the Bildner Family Foundation. Fleurette King, who most recently ran the Office of Diversity Education at DePaul University in Chicago, is joining the Office of Campus Life as the coordinator of Dialogue@Princeton.

Fleurette King, who most recently ran the Office of Diversity Education at DePaul University in Chicago, is joining the Office of Campus Life as the coordinator of Dialogue@Princeton
 
  

As part of the initiative, a $30,000 Bildner Fund for the Advancement of Diversity on Campus has been launched to support projects dealing with race, ethnicity, gender, faith, class differences, social justice and other issues. Applications are now being accepted for grants.

"I hope we can redouble Princeton's efforts to make this a place that is truly inclusive for all of the students here, which is particularly important in a time when we're getting more students of varied backgrounds and income levels," said Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life.

U.S. minorities and international students currently constitute 34.8 percent of Princeton's total undergraduate population, up from 32.1 percent four years ago.

One major goal of the initiative is to expand the University's ongoing Sustained Dialogue program, which currently includes 12 groups of about 10 people who meet twice a month to discuss diversity-related issues.

Dialogue@Princeton is aiming to increase membership in Sustained Dialogue to more than 200 people, particularly by convincing more administrators and faculty members to participate. President Tilghman and Professor Cornel West, for example, recently have joined Sustained Dialogue groups.

In her new role, King will seek ways to bring representatives from all areas of the Princeton campus into Sustained Dialogue and develop additional programs and activities to promote diversity, such as a retreat for faculty and students of color. To gauge its success, Dialogue@Princeton will conduct annual surveys to measure learning and attitude changes among participants in its various activities.

With her experience in raising the level of diversity awareness at DePaul, King was the ideal choice as the coordinator for Dialogue@Princeton, Dickerson said.

"We had a search committee that was quite diverse in and of itself -- people ranging from students to administrators to deans from several areas of campus life across the University. Everybody thought she was an effective listener, that she had excellent outreach skills and an entrepreneurial spirit," she said.

"Fleurette has already been very much engaged in thinking about how to find ways to engage people in topics of diversity when, in fact, a lot of people are skeptical of the whole subject, dismissive of it, or uncertain of their own ability to talk about things that are hard to talk about," Dickerson added.

King will work closely with other organizations, such as the Pace Center for Community Service and the Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, which helped develop the proposal to the Bildner Foundation to create Dialogue@Princeton.

Another major facet of King's new position will be serving on the committee for the Bildner Fund awards program, which comprises $15,000 from the Bildner Foundation and $15,000 from the Office of Campus Life. The first grants will be awarded in the spring semester. Application information is available at http://web.princeton.edu/sites/campuslife/Funding/.

King also will collaborate with the seven other schools that received similar grants from the Bildner Foundation as part of its New Jersey Campus Diversity Initiative, including Rutgers University, Rowan University and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Among her accomplishments at DePaul, King oversaw the UNITY project, a required diversity education program, and a variety of programs focusing on student development and cultural diversity training. She also founded the Mile Walkers, an educational theater troupe that deals with difficult dialogue issues.

Before being named coordinator of diversity education in 2001, King was the coordinator for programs and services for DePaul residence life. Prior to joining DePaul, she was the multicultural affairs coordinator at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

King earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and ethnic studies from Bowling Green State University.

 
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November 25, 2002
Vol. 92, No. 11
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Contents

Page one
Gossman expresses gratitude through book on WWII rescue
University to 'redouble' diversity efforts with dialogue

Inside
Personal involvement provides inside view
Enthusiasm for biology is contagious

People
Healy named director of public safety
Taylor to step down as dean of the faculty; search committee formed
New associate, assistant professors appointed to faculty
People, spotlight, retirements, briefs
Obituaries

Sections
Nassau Notes
By the numbers
Calendar of events


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Editor: Ruth Stevens
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