Student Affairs Spotlight: Office of Intercultural Relations

Isaak Kifle

Office Location: Bartels Hall Top Floor

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.   or by appointment

An interview with Wanda Tyler, Director of Intercultural Relations

What can you say about the history of this office?

Originally, the office began as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and its services were limited to students of various racial and ethnic groups. Around the late summer and early fall of 2006, the name changed to the Office of Intercultural Relations to reflect the expansion that had taken place around that time to better reflect and serve the full range of diversity within the campus community.

Who comprises the staff?

The staff consists of myself, the Director of Intercultural Relations, as well as four undergraduate

student assistants.

What services does the office provide to students?

The Office of Intercultural Relations provides information about the diversity located on campus and in the community. It also provides various programs, services, and resources to enhance awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the different groups that make up the campus community. For example, the office coordinates a Safe Zone program, where faculty and staff as well as graduate and undergraduate students are trained on how to understand and disseminate information about the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community. The office also has a diversity resource center, containing written and multimedia sources of information about diversity related to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion/spirituality; all members of the campus community are free to check out items.

The Office of Intercultural Relations also works with many of the cultural student organizations on campus, either as an advisor, co-sponsor, or just a source of information and assistance. Some of those cultural organizations include the Latin American Student Association (LASA), Black Student Union (BSU), Caribbean Student Association, PRIDE, Hillel, and the cultural Greek organizations, among others. Lastly, the office works with the Office of Academic Services (next week’s spotlight) to identify and monitor students in need of assistance.

Is there anything else you would like students to know?

The Office of Intercultural Relations is working to expand its efforts to collaborate with other offices and departments to present panels and workshops on various diversity-related topics. The diversity resource center is expanding and looking for contributions, so anyone with books, CDs, DVDs, or other materials on diversity willing to donate will be greatly appreciated! Lastly, the office has an open door policy, so while it’s open everyone should feel free to come in, talk with Wanda, and see what Intercultural Relations can do for you!