Students Assist in MRC Director Search


Bryan Rubin

Associate Dean of Students and Dean of the Class of 2016 Kimberly Jackson Davidson, a member of the search committee for a new director of the Multicultural Resource Center, watches fellow committee members address student concerns at a listening session on Tuesday.

Kerensa Loadholt

With the recent departure of its former director, the Multicultural Resource Center is on the lookout for a new supervisor — a selection process that many students hope will yield a more suitable leader than the previous one.

This time around, selecting a candidate capable of supporting the goals of the Center will in part be up to the students. Two listening sessions launched a series of discussions designed to assess how students interpret the traits and responsibilities necessary of a capable MRC director earlier this week.

According to Dean of Students Eric Estes, the sessions have the potential to foster unparalleled transparency in the search, resulting in a more well-received hire.

“Students will have tremendous access to this search, perhaps unprecedented, starting with these listening sessions, which will help shape the job description in meaningful ways,” Estes said. “There are five students on the search committee as full voting members.”

The session opened with Associate Professor of Religion, Associate Dean of the Curriculum and Chair of the search committee David Kamitsuka asking the crowd if they wanted to make suggestions on how the job functions of the new director might be improved.

The answer was a resounding yes. Previously, the director has been responsible for overseeing the daily activities, operations and budgets of the MRC, administering grants and serving as a resource and collaborative partner for academic departments and other student support networks, among other activities.

The new director, according to the students, should be more involved in student life, especially within the curriculum for classes like ethnomusicology. Those in attendance also suggested that the MRC engage more with ResEd.

“The director should be more involved with undocumented and first-generation College students because those are groups that aren’t well-represented on campus,” said College senior Ariana Zuri.

Students also called for the new director to have a larger presence on campus than the outgoing one. According to some, despite former director Alison Williams’ positive legacy at the center, she was not given enough opportunities to foster personal connections with many students.

“The director’s job should be structured almost like two half time jobs; they should be involved with the students but still maintain their responsibilities,” said College junior Ryan Dearon.

For Kamitsuka, an overarching theme of the discussions was that students wanted the MRC to feel “more like a home than an office.”

Estes, who was MRC director for seven years before becoming dean, said he expects the new hire to mesh well with the student body.

“We’re going to get someone great who students are excited about working with and who will advocate for students and be energetic and dedicated about working with them,” Estes said. “The director will also help build collaborative opportunities for students with faculty, staff, alumni, community members and activists and academics from around the world.”

The students on the search committee are Brian Cabral, Anne Chege, Alex Cunningham, Miles Ginoza and DeRon McDaniel. Faculty and staff members Kazim Ali, Gillian Johns, Shelley Lee, Meredith Raimondo, Dana Hamdan, Kimberly Jackson Davidson, Chris Jenkins and Marcelo Vinces join Kamitsuka in the search.

The search committee hopes to bring in the new director by late November, but the timeline is flexible. The committee said it plans to hold listening sessions for faculty in the near future, but has yet to release the official schedule.