The Office of Multicultural Affairs filled one of its vacant positions when Dereic Dorman, a Temple alumnus, was hired as director of the Student Support Unit.
The OMCA, which was created two years ago, is a remodeling of the Office of Affirmative Action, and is comprised of four units.
The Compliance and Investigation unit is currently under the direction of former Office of Affirmative Action director Sandra Foehl. The Business Relations unit is directed by Tcet Sanchez.
The Student Support unit is directed by newly hired Dorman. The Recruitment and Retention unit remains without a director.
“I feel like, at the end of the day, we’re still getting things done,” Rhonda Brown, director of the OMCA said.
“This way, the wheel is still moving. If it were any other director missing, that wheel wouldn’t move.” Brown said the OMCA works to incorporate a broader scope of minority students, faculty and vendors into the university. The OMCA also handles harassment, discrimination and gender issues.
Once ranked second in diversity by “The Princeton Review,” Temple now is ranked eighth. Brown said she wasn’t fazed by the student-oriented survey.
“I was thrilled to be No. 2, not happy to be No. 8, but the fact of the matter is that we are a better institution than we were back when we were No. 2,” Brown said.
“I don’t think it should be read to mean we’re slipping. I’d be more concerned if our stats were slipping.”
A search firm is currently developing candidates for the Recruitment and Retention position, and Brown expects they will be able to make an offer by early November.The Student Support Unit remained without a director for several months, but according to Brown, Dorman, who was formerly employed at Lebanon Valley College, was worth the wait.
“Students are going to love him and hate him,” she said. “He’s going to make them think, he’s going to make them work.”
The mentoring program the OMCA is developing is one year behind schedule, though Brown predicted it will be fully functional by next fall. According to Brown, this program is designed to increase the retention rate of minority students by determining which students are likely to leave the university and reaching out to them.
According to Brown, the OMCA, which is currently located in the newly renovated office in the basement of Mitten Hall, will be fully functional by next fall.
“It will be a hub for resources,” Brown said. “We can market and develop what we do, and we can take it to the next level. Temple can become a nationwide institution when we talk about diversity.”
Vicky Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.