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.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.