Princeton Fills Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Post

Princeton University recently announced that LaTanya Buck (left), founding director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis, will join Princeton in August as dean for diversity and inclusion.

The Ivy League school was also in the news recently for deciding not to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson, a previous president of the college as well as president of the United States, from its School of Public and International Affairs and from a residential college.

Protests have roiled college campuses across the country lately, many led by African American students. But Princeton has a unique history and connection to the very American legacy of racial segregation.

Wilson introduced racial segregation into the workings of the federal government where there had been none; prior to Wilson’s taking office, black men and women worked for the federal government without the unrelenting sting of racial bias. After Wilson’s arrival, black men in supervisory positions were demoted.

According to a report by NPR, the decision not to remove Wilson’s name didn’t come easily. Princeton’s board of trustees had weighed the issue and, despite student protests—one last year lasted 32 hours—decided to retain Wilson’s name.

The trustees reportedly said that the university “needs to be honest and forthcoming about its history.” They also called for “an expanded and more vigorous commitment to diversity and inclusion at Princeton.”

The hiring of Ms. Buck may just be the most obvious indication of the university’s new commitment.

Her position, dean for diversity and inclusion, was created in response to recommendations of Princeton’s task force on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Buck holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. At Princeton, she will be part of the campus life leadership team. She previously worked as assistant director and coordinator for minority student recruitment and in the Office of Multicultural Student Services at both Missouri State and Morehead State.

Janet Smith Dickerson, vice president for Campus Life at Princeton from 2000 to 2010 and formerly a dean at Earlham College, agrees that institutions can’t whitewash their past.

“While institutions cannot rewrite or erase their histories, I think we have entered a time of intellectual truth-telling that requires our institutions to be forthright about the roots of underlying racism, sexism, and classism that may have impacted their founding, development, and growth.

“I believe these decisions [to hire deans of diversity and inclusion] reflect the earnest desire of campus leaders to respond to and improve the intellectual, cultural, and social environments that many perceive to be challenging for underrepresented students.

“No one administrator … can ‘fix’ an environment that is not inclusive; however, committing resources to an office and a position can be seen as evidence of identifying diversity and inclusion as institutional priorities.”

3 Ways High School Juniors Can Prepare for College

(Image: Thinkstock)

For many students, junior year of high school is also the most difficult year. Students must prepare for their upcoming ACT or SAT test dates, evaluate potential colleges, and function beneath an immense amount of pressure to achieve high grades to impress these colleges.

[Related: 8 Ways Ninth Graders Can Prepare for College Now]

In addition to this academic stress, students must also begin asking themselves important questions about their ideal college experience in order to find schools that are a great fit. Much of this process is new and unfamiliar to students and there are some specific actions that high school juniors can take to navigate it successfully.

Three college students who have been through this process shared insights from their own junior year experiences, and here are their tips:

1. Sign up for AP or specialized classes: Your freshman and sophomore years of high school are typically filled with general education courses and other mainstream subjects that students are required to study–but what about classes that go beyond that? Junior year is a perfect time for students to delve into electives and other specialized courses. It can even help students prepare for college in a number of ways.

Sarah Turecamo, a junior ​at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in biology and anthropology, suggested this route for students.

“It would be helpful to take some specialized classes, such as AP classes or upper-level electives, to explore what you would like to major in,” she says. “Of course, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to study in college, but it would be helpful to explore a few options before entering college.”

Turecamo feels this action benefited her, but she also wishes she had pursued it even further.

“I did take AP Chemistry, which helped to explore my interest in the sciences,” she says. “However, I regret not taking a computer science or engineering elective because I never really got to see if I was interested in pursuing an engineering career path.”

Read more at U.S. News.