“The CAPS Multicultural Services Committee (MSC) has been a fixture for CAPS staff to enhance awareness and development of multicultural competencies and sensitivity. Over the past three years, under the tenures of Dr. Krista Garrett (past-Chair) and Dr. Lauren Pucci (current-Chair), The MSC has become more structured and impactful in the development of CAPS clinicians, and ultimately benefitting students through the clinical work.
The goal of the MSC is two-fold. The Committee aims to promote continued learning and development of multicultural competency amongst staff, so as to better serve students, as well as foster and maintain a more inclusive, affirming work environment, so as to better serve each other. Members of the Committee work diligently to develop engaging and educational content and programming for CAPS staff, including administrative staff. They provide feedback on job postings in order to promote consistent values and messaging surrounding diversity and multiculturalism.
The majority of CAPS staff participate in monthly MSC small group meetings that utilize a variety of activities to promote reflection on one’s identities (e.g. race, gender, SES, religion), intersectionality, and points of power/privilege. The small groups utilize traditional (e.g. articles, book chapters) and multi-media content (e.g. videos), as well as activities (e.g. privilege ‘walk’), to facilitate awareness and change. Quarterly large group MSC meetings are offered to the entirety of CAPS staff, and are even better attended. Examples of the large group offerings include: ‘Microaggressions in the Classroom,’ a presentation by Dr. Johnson-Bailey on the intersection of race and gender in academia, a CAPS MSC Book Club with movie screening and discussion (‘The Hate U Give,’ by Angie Thomas), and a presentation by Dr. Leimbach titled ‘Unconscious bias, limitations on choice/individual agency, and responsibility through a systems lens.’ Within these small and large group spaces staff members take risks, identify blind spots, work through intra- and interpersonal conflicts, and practice giving and receiving feedback.
In addition to the Committee’s positive impact on CAPS climate, culture, and students through both active and passive programming, CAPS MSC’s advocacy and consultation has resulted in University Health Center (UHC)-wide change. They worked to create and publicly communicate (via UHC website) a diversity statement containing values and commitment to serving our diverse UGA student body. Multicultural competency was also added as an item on UHC supervision forms and employee evaluations.
The passion and dedication of MSC members is unparalleled. This is difficult and challenging individual work – the Committee members dig in, go through their personal reflection and awareness journey, while also guiding others through theirs. This is a large undertaking, one that encounters personal and professional barriers. It is impressive how this Committee has been able to persevere, work through barriers, all while putting CAPS staff and student services at the forefront of everything they do. Ultimately, their work is seen every day through the mental health services provided to UGA students. When CAPS and CAPS staff members are able to sensitively respect student’s individuality and multiculturalism, values of inclusion and safety are expressed, resulting in an overall better experience for the campus community. It is much appreciated and worth awarding!”
Do you have a coworker who strives to make their work more inclusive of others? Did you collaborate with another department/area to enhance a program or service to ensure it was more accessible for others?
This award recognizes an individual or a group of individuals within UGA Student Affairs who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion in consideration of affordability, ability, identity, and access.
Nominations will be evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria:
The Student Affairs Staff Awards, given to deserving staff across the division and the University, recognize outstanding accomplishments and leadership in student affairs at the University of Georgia.