Strategic merger

New Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion combines American Indian Student Services with Multicultural Programs & Services

Stacey Borboa-Peterson will direct the new Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion. Photo by Tyler Ingham/UND Today.

Stacey Borboa-Peterson will direct the new Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion. Photo by Tyler Ingham/UND Today.

American Indian Student Services and Multicultural Programs & Services will merge on July 1, said Cara Halgren, vice president for student affairs & diversity.

The move is mostly behind the scenes, and students should not see any change in services, she said. The American Indian Student Center and Multicultural Programs & Services both will remain open.

Stacey Borboa-Peterson will direct the new Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion.

“Our mission is to focus on student recruitment and enrollment, as well as retention and completion,” said Borboa-Peterson. “There will be no physical changes. Two units that previously had been doing the same work will be merged into one.”

Being strategic

The change allows the office to be more strategic in meeting Goal 5 of the One UND Strategic Plan, fostering a welcoming, safe and inclusive campus climate, said Halgren.

“This is meant to align with Goal 5 and allows for greater focus on those priorities,” said Halgren. “At the same time, we want to be good stewards of fiscal resources and create greater efficiencies.”

“Our goal is to foster partnerships with admissions and tribal colleges in effort to increase student success,” said Borboa-Peterson.

Halgren said discussions about merging have been taking place for some time.

Serving students

“We have appreciated the communications and student feedback we’ve received about possible ideas for diversity and inclusion at UND,” said Halgren. “We believe these changes reflect the best interests of serving our current and future students on campus.”

Cara Halgren

Cara Halgren

The change will allow better use of resources, including Faculty Fellows, and focus on the expertise and interest of faculty, said Cassie Gerhardt, associate dean of students and director of student involvement and parent programs.

“Our priorities are in the classroom,” said Gerhardt. “One of the Essential Studies goals is to support faculty development and increase diversity in classroom. This will help develop curricular aspects without new resources.”

There will not be any staffing changes, said Halgren, adding that AISS Interim Director Linda Neuerburg will assume her previous title of assistant director for the new unit, while Borboa-Peterson will be director.

“I am grateful for the expertise and thoughtfulness as shown by Linda and Stacey,” said Halgren. “This merger would not be possible without their leadership and dedication to students. They have been great advocates of the merger and helped members of the campus community understand the possible benefits.”