As the dust begins to settle from the reorganization of the University of Kansas’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging that took place over winter break, students face a number of unfamiliar faculty members in these positions of power.
During the reorganization, the Office of Multicultural Affairs moved management from DEIB to student affairs. After OMA moved to student affairs, Dr. Tammara Durham, the vice provost for student affairs, recognized that Dr. Precious Porras was holding two busy roles as both the director of OMA and the assistant vice provost of diversity and equity.
Durham and Porras agreed it would be most productive to fill the director of OMA position. In February, Dr. Kevin Joseph assumed the role as interim director.
Joseph, from Atlanta, Georgia, also holds two positions, the director of assessment and strategic initiatives in student affairs as well as the new interim director of OMA. As interim director, Joseph plans on prioritizing the longevity of programs to ensure that students are not affected by the reorganization.
He intends to make sure that the organization is in order and ready for the next director to make for an easy transition. Joseph has a long history of helping POC students on campus, working as an advisor to the DEI committee on student senate, as well as an advisor for Brothers Leading and Cultivating Knowledge (B.L.A.C.K), a group to help Black men in their academic, personal and professional endeavors. He also oversees The Plug KU, a group focused on providing resources and information about events on campus to marginalized groups.
“Kevin is really committed and student-centered, so I know the team has had a great response to Kevin and I have already seen them delve into some pieces that we haven’t actually delved into before,” Porras said on Joseph’s start with OMA. “He’s committed to making sure there’s no disruption of services.”
OMA has the final speaker in their “Diversity: It’s History & Purpose” lecture series March 25, at 7 p.m. with Dr. Barbara Ransby, a women and gender studies professor, as well as African American studies at the University of Illinois Chicago.