One America Community Efforts
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Program: Diversity Initiative Program, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Contact(s): Cynthia Curry, Vice President: (305) 348-2101
Purpose: To encourage, promote and celebrate diversity by embracing all cultures, races, ethnicities, and religions within the university community

Background Program Operations Outcomes


In 1996, Florida International University (FIU) embarked upon an ambitious mission to build academic programs and campus activities that value, appreciate and promote diversity. Each of the university's administrative divisions provided input on the project, and their suggestions were incorporated into the strategic plan. The National Conference, a program that the President's Initiative on Race has highlighted as a Promising Practice, was asked to conduct an assessment of the campus and lead diversity-training programs for the staff. Inspired by this activity, FIU President Modesto Maidique hosted three campus-wide forums on diversity issues. Following these forums, the Diversity Initiative Program was created to continue to implement these types of programs.

Program Operations

In the Diversity Initiative Program, three training teams have been formed on campus, one for the staff, the other for the student body and the last for faculty. The staff training team provides "ism" training sessions, the student training team holds diversity-training seminars, and the faculty training team is exploring the possibility of producing a scholarly journal focused on diversity. The Diversity Initiative Program has several objectives: to introduce programs that continue to promote understanding and acceptance across racial groups; to create a model diverse community on campus; and to guarantee that the student body, staff, administration and faculty reflect the composition of the community.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

As a result of the campus-wide diversity training programs, diversity forums sponsored by the university's Office of the President have been institutionalized by the school. Two new academic programs have been established: the African-New World Studies Program and a degree program in Women's Studies. In addition, a Diversity Speakers Series co-sponsors events with community organizations. The school also produces two publications--the Diversity Exchange Magazine and the Diversity Update Newsletter-- that have been in print since April 1997.

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