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The Tilford Group

Hale Library's Diversity Committee Executive Summary

Diversity committee members were asked what the word "diversity" meant to them. They spoke of increasingly diverse living and work environments that would allow for--even demand--an "understanding that you can learn from [others] and their backgrounds and experiences." Several referred to the trend of diverse environments becoming so ubiquitous that the meaning of diversity would soon necessarily become self-evident.

When asked to give meaning to "multicultural competencies," the discussion brought forward the individual traits of self-exploration and openness to experience, behaviors leading to harmony in work and social interactions, and even the challenges faced in overcoming the "natural tendencies" of animal (human) species to separate into social groups of like members. Conversation also included the negative consequences K-State graduates would face without benefit of these competencies. These consequences were seen as significant and sufficient motivation to inculcate multicultural competencies as part of the accumulated proficiencies expected of K-State graduates.

The library's support of this effort was believed to come primarily through the library's collections, the Multicultural Center, and the ongoing liaison activities between reference librarians and the departments they served. There was some discussion of a required university course to foster multicultural awareness, although members anticipated initial student resistance to an additional university requirement in this area. Further, an understanding of current state budget limitations led to a pessimistic view that such a course would be possible.

The conversation between team members culminated in their affirming the need for the university to "keep talking like this, and bring more people into the discussion about what diversity is." They would like to see an understanding of multicultural competencies codified and implemented so that the university could be assured of the preparedness of its graduates in this area.