LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2020) — "On any given day, there are 60,000 people on campus. Those people speak many different languages, have many different racial and ethnic backgrounds, many different sexual orientations and gender identities and many different physical abilities." That description of the University of Kentucky by Lance Poston, executive director of inclusive health and campus partnerships, gets to the heart of UK's diversity.
And it's the job of the Office for Institutional Diversity (OID), along with units across campus, to serve these students and their needs.
At the University of Kentucky, an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is at the core of everything we do. Dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion throughout campus, OID works to build the university into a world-class model of inclusive excellence, and most importantly create a space for folks to belong.
Through collaborative efforts, OID is working to create a sustainable climate where campus can benefit from the highest quality of education and care. These focused efforts bind together the tapestry that is community — one intricately woven with threads of students, faculty, staff and members of the Commonwealth.
"We value creating opportunities so that students can engage each other, ask questions, challenge each other and then leave campus better informed, so when they engage the world, their perspective is much broader," said Vice President for Institutional Diversity Sonja Feist-Price. "If we don’t facilitate opportunities for students to engage each other, hear perspectives that are totally different from their own, understand other points of view, we fail our students."
At UK, diversity is critical to the process of discovery. Different backgrounds, viewpoints and perspectives are not only sought after and encouraged, they are used as building blocks to make inquiry possible.
"I think had it not been for the resources provided by OID, I would not have made it to my senior year," said Brandon Colbert, UK alumnus. "I think when it comes to the people in these offices, if it would not have been for them, I probably would not have been able to matriculate through my degree program."
For many students like Colbert, OID provides them with a space to be themselves and build community. The units that comprise OID exist to support students and deeply value the significance of diversifying the student body and celebrating the unique backgrounds that come through their doors.
OID has recently launched a new website that improves access to important information as it relates to diversity and inclusion. The website aims to promote community by providing a mechanism for engaging the campus in dialogue and action, featuring blog postings from both President Eli Capilouto and Feist-Price, OID units and resources, an event calendar and more. Explore the new website at www.uky.edu/inclusiveexcellence/.
As we continue to commemorate 70 years of integration, now more than ever, OID remains resilient in their efforts to weave an even tighter, more colorful tapestry — today and every day.
To further explore how OID helps students discover their wildest ambitions through community and outreach, watch the video above.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.