The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion (OSDI) is the new name for the office formerly known as the Office of Minority Recruitment and Retention (OMRR).
OMRR was created more than a decade ago and its name represented the office's work at that time, which was to help and retain predominantly students of color. However, over the course of the last five years, OMRR was in state of transition. The students, the College, and our office started to expand beyond the scope and needs of our students of color to also include services and programs for the ever increasing and diverse students from international, LGTBQ and other marginalized populations within the College of Education.
Therefore, the office needed to have a new name that would better reflect the demographic change of our College, university and society. As educators acknowledge, the way in which we have defined diversity has changed. In the past decade, this definition has expanded to encompass different cultures, nationalities, ethnicities and identities. The OMRR name no longer fit the office's scope of the work or truly represented the students served. Additionally, some of the words in the former name were misleading for prospective students in terms of our involvement in the admissions process. Office staff proposed changing the name to something more inclusive and welcoming of all the student populations.
The process of coming up with the name began with initial conversations with our 2012-2014 OMRR Advisory Board. Past and current OMRR teams took suggestions from the Advisory Board under advisement. In consideration of the future name of the office, the 2014-2015 team further examined the various student populations they serve, the office goals, as well as the services, programs and resources they provide. The team also held additional conversations with the College's faculty, students and staff, as well as the Faculty Council Student Support and Advancement Committee to learn their insights on the matter. Finally, the 2014-2015 team also researched other institutions and units at the UW campus that had similar populations and provided comparable services and support in terms of recruitment and retention.
The new name proposed by the team was Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion. The phrase Student Diversity was chosen because it provides a wide scope of the communities the office serves (i.e., students of color, international students, LGBTQ students, students who are parents, 1st generation college students and students with disabilities.). This name allows our office to serve more than one or two groups and aligns more closely with students' conceptions of diversity. The word Inclusion was added because not only does this office support these students, but we also help educate the College at large about these populations to ensure a welcoming environment for all.
After more than two years of formal and informal conversation, and extensive feedback from the College community, the associate deans and then Interim Dean Deb McCutchen gave final approval for this change.
In the fall 2015, OSDI is receiving a proud legacy of work focused on building and sustaining a supportive community in which diverse beliefs, perspectives and values have enhanced the entire College of Education for more than 10 years.
Today, OSDI's mission is to create social, educational and professional spaces and networks of UW College of Education students of color, international students, students from other underrepresented groups and allies to build community, access one another as resources and support systems, and share conversations about diversity and inclusion in education. Furthermore, OSDI remains committed to providing leadership and support for the development of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of teaching, research, service, scholarship and learning. We strive to create a diverse community of students who are our future leaders, thinkers, researchers, educators and decision-makers.