Diversity on the rise: more than just numbers

The CSU student body is more diverse than ever before.

15.6 percent of undergraduate students at CSU are minorities, according to the CSU Fact Book from the 2012-2013 school year. In the fall of 2005, 12.2 percent of students were minorities.

According to Mary Ontiveros, the vice president for diversity, CSU defines diversity very broadly. Ontiveros said people often think about race and ethnicity when they talk about diversity, but it also includes gender, disabilities and sexual orientation.

“There was a strong feeling that we should not exclude populations just because it’s not easy to count them,” Ontiveros saidUntitled-1

Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, said he thinks the numbers in the CSU Fact Book are low, if anything, because of the broader description of diversity.

“It’s really diversity of thought,” McCubbin said.

The College of Health and Human Sciences was recorded as having 17.0 percent of students who were minorities last year.

According to the CSU Fact Book, the College of Natural Sciences is the college with the highest diversity with 19.41 percent of students in the college categorized as minorities.

Intra-university, which is undeclared students, was made up of 21.3 percent minorities last year.

The College of Business, where 13.3 percent of students were minorities, was one of the colleges in the middle. The Warner College of Natural Resources was the least diverse with 9.5 percent of students being minorities.

The College of Natural Sciences works with many organizations to increase the diversity of the college, according to Arlene Nededog, the director of enrichment and retention for the College of Natural Sciences.

Some of these organizations include the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Colorado Alliance for Minority Particiaption.

According to Ontiveros, CSU has room for improvement in diversity, but the numbers have been increasing.

“We’re not where we ideally would like to be,” Ontiveros said. “But the progress that has been made and the attention that has been given to diversity and to trying to make change has been compelling.”

Ontiveros said some obstacles with increasing diversity have been in regards to recruiting students. She said a lot of people think Fort Collins is really far away.

“People think we are in the arctic or something,” Ontiveros said.

Nededog also said she sees recruitment as a problem.

“The obstacle that I see is enticing students to see what a science degree can do for them,” Nededog said.

In the 2012-2013 school year however, biology was the most popular major with 1,447 declared as biology majors.

McCubbin said he thinks it is important to hire a diverse faculty. In the 2012-2013 school year, 11 percent of faculty in the College of Health and Human Sciences were minorities.

“Students want to see faculty that look like them,” McCubbin said.

Nededog said it is important to have a diverse faculty as well as student population. Last year, 18 percent of faculty in the College of Natural Sciences were minorities.

“Other obstacles would be ‘do students have role models in the classroom, role models as teachers, do they connect?’” Nededog said.

One thing the College of Health and Human Sciences has done to increase diversity is start My Spaces, which displays artwork representing different cultures around the college.

McCubbins said the goal was “to identify reflections of culture that we value” in order to create a higher sense of community.

According to Nededog, having a diverse campus is desirable not just for the university. Nededog and McCubbin both said the community also benefits from diversity.

Nededog said, “I think having diversity in the college assets the students and the community at large because it provides different perspectives and different experiences from people’s cultural experiences.”

Collegian Reporter Amber Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.