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Diversity scores high for freshmen

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Clive Houston-Brown, chief information officer, Derek Vergara, executive director and Krystal Wilson, research assistant, discuss the push for diversity and the growth of minority success on campus. / photo by Jennifer Contreras

Clive Houston-Brown, chief information officer, Derek Vergara, executive director and Krystal Wilson, research assistant, discuss the push for diversity and the growth of minority success on campus. / photo by Jennifer Contreras

by Jennifer Dodd
Staff Writer

This year’s freshman class scored high points, not only in entrance exams and grade point averages, but in diversity, according to preliminary numbers recently released by the office of admissions.

Of the approximately 204 women and 118 men who make up the class of 2006, 39 percent are Latino, 8 percent are African American and 5 percent are Asian.

Only 33 percent of this year’s freshman class is White as compared with 36 percent in 2001 and 41 percent in the fall of 2000.

With 204 women and 118 men, this semesters’ freshmen have a grade point average of 3.5 and an average SAT score of 1,009, a slight increase of last year’s, said University of La Verne Dean of Admissions Lisa Meyer.

These statistics, showing a increasingly diverse student body underscores the importance of a faculty, which is aware of the needs of such a community.

It is no coincidence that the University’s theme for the year is diversity.

The Faculty Theme Committee, along with the Institute for Multicultural Research and Campus Diversity and the Student Center, are working together to link the diverse student body with the development of new and appropriate learning and teaching practices.

“We are trying to work together … to integrate the theme of diversity on campus,” said Derek Vergara, executive director for the IMRCD.

Research indicates that emphasizing diversity on college campuses positively affects undergraduate student experiences, Vergara said.

The IMRCD has hosted a number of activities in attempt to move ULV’s diversity goals forward.

Last month the IMRCD hosted a session on diversity research, inviting anyone in the ULV community to discuss the current research.

Leticia Arellano, assistant professor of psychology and faculty director of research for IMRCD, said the event drew “a good crowd.

“It was healthy for everyone involved to hear different perspectives on the various projects we’re working on,” she said.

The James Irvine Foundation has been a giant component in helping ULV reach diversity goals, Arellano said.

The Umoja Project, designed to enhance recruitment, retention and graduation rates of African American students, and the Course Transformation Grant, designed to enhance teaching methods by coaching teachers in new and diverse instruction methods, are just two examples of the successful programs being carried out on campus.

Currently, President Stephen Morgan, who leads the Steering Committee on Multicultural Initiatives, is seeking more funding from The James Irvine Foundation to continue the momentum on reaching campus diversity goals.

The IMRCD also recently held Sister Circle, which provides support, advising and educational awareness to young Black women at ULV.

For more information on Campus Diversity events, call IMRCD at extension 4036.

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