Moving Forward Together: Leadership Spotlight
Zenetta Coleman, Director of Multicultural Student Affairs
Zenetta Coleman, director of Multicultural Student Affairs, is featured in this ongoing series designed to allow EKU leaders to discuss their roles as well as campus issues. Coleman, who began working at EKU in 2003, holds a bachelor's degree in speech communication and an M.S.Ed. in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University in her hometown of Carbondale.
Director of Multicultural Student Affairs
Why is the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs important to the EKU community?
The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs is important to the EKU community because we provide an avenue to explore and celebrate the richness of our campus diversity. We seek to bring issues of cultural identity to the foreground of campus conversation through programs and services that encourage the understanding and respect of cultural difference as well as promote tolerance and inclusiveness.
What is the difference between the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the University Diversity Office?
The University Diversity Office is headed by Sandra Moore, Special Assistant to the Provost on University Diversity. Part of the role of that office is to make certain that EKU is compliant with federal and state laws as they relate to diversity. On the other hand, my office is a part of the Division of Student Affairs and is designed primarily to enhance the student experience by encouraging the utilization of campus resources and participation in campus life.
As director of MSA, what are your hopes and wishes for the campus?
The commitment of EKU's leadership to diversity is genuine and should be commended. It is my hope that EKU continues to strive to embrace diversity that can be reflected through programs, curriculum, hiring practices and recruitment.
What is the best way to break down ethnic, cultural and class barriers on a college campus?
I feel one of the best ways to do this is through education and open, honest dialogue. Sometimes, in order to truly progress, we need to have uncomfortable conversations which might include confronting fears and ignorance head-on.
What does Multicultural Student Affairs have planned in the future?
We are planning to open a new multicultural center in the Summer of 2007. This center will provide us ample space and resources needed to better serve our student population. As for programming, in observation of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, we took students on a bus trip to Tennessee to explore the Jewish culture. While there we visited a Holocaust Memorial and observed worship services at a Chattanooga synagogue. Other planned events for the Spring semester include a ’70s/’80s dance party, a guest lecturer on the "Cooptation of the N-Word", a Real Women's Brunch and our annual Unity Fest celebration. A complete calendar of events can be found on our Web site.