Since Gail Bouknight-Davis’ resignation as director of the Multicultural Center (MCC) in late August, the organization is now on the hunt for a new director. While the MCC previously worked with two director positions â€“ a faculty director and a director of the MCC â€“ the organization is now looking to consolidate leadership into one position.
According to Mike Reed, vice president for strategic planning and institutional diversity, the MCC wants to move toward operation under one director because it “makes programming a little cleaner and simpler,” he said. Reed added that having two directors is comparable to running a company with “two CEOs instead of one,” and there is a “greater margin for error or miscommunication,” he said.
According to Reed, the MCC in the past was led by a faculty director, who would work to teach classes or secure speakers for MCC events. Meanwhile, the director of the MCC took care of the remaining responsibilities, such as counseling and supporting students, organizing lecture series and orchestrating events associated with important celebrations like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month.
“In general, the faculty director would work [on] building relationships outside the MCC and the director worked with programming and students within the MCC,” Reed said. He explained that while the director of the MCC is a fairly permanent position, the faculty director post is rotated every two years. “[We] run the risk of getting a new agenda and not having continuity,” Reed said. “And there’s a learning curve.”
Currently, Ed Epping, professor of art, is serving as the single director of the MCC until someone is hired. Epping had previously served as faculty director before Bouknight-Davis’ resignation.
While the MCC has not yet formed a search committee to hire a new director, the MCC Advisory Committee is in the process of drafting a position description, as well as discussing what adjustments will need to be made structurally to accommodate the upcoming change. Reed hopes the MCC will be able to actually start the search by the beginning of November.
“We will bring someone on as soon as we can make the decision and as soon as they’re available,” Reed said, adding that the MCC would have ideally selected someone by mid-year so he or she can start at the beginning of the second semester. “That may be a bit ambitious, but that’s what I would like,” he added.
Though the search process is in its early stages, Reed has a fairly accurate idea of whom he would like to see serve on the committee. According to Reed, the committee will be made up of various students, faculty, representatives from minority student groups and specific representatives from certain academic departments such as Africana Studies, Latino/a Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.
“You have to have a diverse representation because the MCC serves a very diverse constituency,” Reed said. “These people need to have a voice in determining what the Center needs.” According to the organization’s Web page, the MCC strives to support “underrepresented,” groups that include African American, Asian American, Latino/a, Native American, as well as Multiracial, low-income, first-generation, women, Muslim, Jewish, International and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) students.
Natalie Friedman ’10, co-chair of Minority Coalition (MinCo) will likely serve on the director search committee once it is established. According to Friedman, students are looking for a director who is both “powerful and able to define the MCC as a core center of the College rather than an association of groups,” she said.