In August, CANR welcomed Phillip Seaborn to the position of Assistant Director of Undergraduate Diversity. Phillip will be responsible for overseeing the pre-college and outreach programs and diversity initiatives for the undergraduate population.
October 7, 2016
ODP: What's your story? How did you find your way to this position?
PS: My desire and passion for diversity work developed as an undergraduate student learning to navigate the higher education system and overcome many of the diversity related challenges that come along with the process. Through my experience, I felt a deep desire to serve as a guide for future students in an effort to assist in navigating the college landscape. The process can be overwhelming and frustrating for students. Knowing this, I've always tried to find opportunities in which I could be of assistance in an effort to support diversity related matters. As a professional, that commitment and drive has continued. So, when the opportunity to serve in the capacity of Assistant Director of Diversity in the College of Agriculture and Natural resources presented itself, I was immediately drawn to the position and the opportunity to take on a more direct role supporting students and the college as a whole in matters of Diversity.
ODP: What's the most important thing faculty and staff can do for undergraduates to support inclusion?
PS: There are many things faculty and staff can do for undergraduates to support inclusion in the CANR and the university as a whole. However, I believe one of the most important things for both faculty and staff is being able to meet the student where they are. So often, we as professionals develop "tunnel vision" and we forget to embrace the uniqueness of each student and the experiences associated with who they are. When that sense of humanity is lost, it is very easy to isolate a student and inadvertently marginalize them.
ODP: What will be your first priority?
PS: my first priority will be to get a feel for the climate of the college by interacting with faculty, staff, and students. I also want to get a better understanding of current activities taking place in CANR and gain a better understanding of what initiatives or activities are desired.
ODP: What are you hoping to learn about the world of Agriculture and Natural Resources that you don't already know?
PS: I am really excited to learn more about each of the majors and to gain a better understanding of the various career paths available to CANR students. Additionally, I am very interested in learning how all of the various units collaborate.