Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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University of Wisconsin Colleges, Wisconsin-Extension receives diversity award

University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension received an award Thursday for their work with diversity training in their Multicultural Awareness Program.

The Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award is an annual award given out by the State Council on Affirmative Action and the Office of State Employment Relations. This is the 10th year the award has been given out, according to a statement from the council.

The award is given out to state agencies or UW campuses “for their strong commitment to the recruitment, retention and promotion of a diverse, classified workforce as measured by the creation of programs, initiatives and practices,” according to the statement.

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The Multicultural Awareness Program is a voluntary two-day workshop provided for UW Colleges and UW-Extension employees. Its website states the workshops include interactive lectures, small group discussions and facilitated activities.

“We are humbled that the Office of State Employment Relations is honoring us with this very prestigious award,” Chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension David Wilson said.

Wilson added that out of the 3,000 employees, already more than 1,000 have participated in the program. He said there are more people who want to complete the workshops than there are spaces open. Sessions in November and March are already full and more are planned for the future.

One of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension’s strategic goals is to work to reflect diversity within the college system and the rest of the state and to promote awareness between people, UW Colleges and UW-Extension spokesperson Teri Venker said.

“It’s good that our goals are not just on a piece of paper — we’re actually living them,” Venker said.

Venker said they applied for the award, were thrilled to get the recognition and hope that it will encourage more people to join the workshops.

According to Wilson, there is a growing need for this type of training because campuses have become more diverse in recent years. He said they have been working to create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all people.

The importance is not just limited to the college experience. It is becoming more important for students and anyone in general to be able to work with and understand others from different backgrounds and experiences, Wilson added.

“The ability to work well with all individuals if one is to be successful in this type of global environment is extremely important,” Wilson said. “If we are going to be competitive as a state and nation, it is an absolute requirement.”

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, diversity and awareness of the student body is a priority, according to Associated Students of Madison Diversity Committee Chair Steven Olikara. He added it is important to continue to train faculty and others in updated diversity training. He said it is an continuously evolving situation that too often uses outdated techniques and information.

“It is absolutely critical for faculty to have the cultural competence to understand the social dynamics and to be able to meaningfully engage the students that they’re educating,” Olikara said. “I’m glad that the UW System is being recognized.”

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