Frequently Asked Questions
› What inspired the transition from Multicultural Affairs to Intercultural Affairs?
› What is the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism?
› How does this transition/change impact the current work of the office and will this impact current or future initiatives for students of underrepresented backgrounds?
› Will there continue to be a Black Cultural Center (BCC)? Will there be other identity-based spaces added?
› Who has been involved with the transition to Intercultural Affairs?
› How can I become more involved as a student?
› How can I support Intercultural Affairs?
› What services, resources, and training opportunities are provided by Intercultural Affairs?
› What is or will be the impact of the current legislation on the work of the office?
The transition from the department name Multicultural Affairs to Intercultural Affairs represents a continued commitment to the goals and legacy of past programs while signaling our intent to expand efforts to promote the personal, cultural, social, and academic success of our students. It reflects the excellent work being done by our team members to foster engagement across cultures and identities and promote an inclusive campus environment. The transition to Intercultural Affairs is in alignment with similar changes at other institutions and acknowledges the value of learning from others, the intersectional nature of identity, and importance of cross-cultural competence in a global, diverse society.
These words are often used interchangeably, but interculturalism emphasizes the importance of not only cultivating diverse communities but also fostering intergroup dialogue, collaboration, and interaction. As a result, Intercultural Affairs efforts will emphasize cross-group connections. For instance, Campus Conversations events highlighting different cultures, backgrounds, and identities increase understanding and provide opportunities for collaboration and support. Intercultural Affairs team members will work to support individual culture- and identity-based student organizations, but also facilitate partnerships between and among these groups. In partnership with other Student Engagement programs, heritage and culture events will be blended into traditional campus programming, such as Live on the Plaza, bringing cross-cultural awareness to new audiences who might not otherwise seek out intercultural events.
How does this transition/change impact the current work of the office and will this impact current or future initiatives for students of underrepresented backgrounds?
Many generations of students have benefitted from the programs, mentoring, and peer support associated with Multicultural Affairs. These initiatives are vital to the success of our students and the mission of Tennessee Tech. The transition to Intercultural Affairs will not negatively impact the R.A.C.E. and R.A.C.E. PLUS programs, Man Up, Women of Worth, or any other ongoing initiatives. Rather, the transition seeks to bring more resources to these efforts by way of partnerships, new facilities, and unique events. Intercultural Affairs engages the idea of “culture” broadly, seeking new and additional ways to provide support and engagement related to a wide range of identities. Furthermore, increasing the scope of the program to engage a wide range of campus groups and communities to increase cross-group interaction and understanding aligns with the ongoing mission of the department to promote the personal, cultural, social, and academic success of students from underrepresented populations.
Will there continue to be a Black Cultural Center (BCC)? Will there be other identity-based spaces added?
The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center (BCC) continues to be a valuable resource for Tech students. Located on the second floor of the Roaden University Center, the BCC provides spaces to study, meet, work on projects, and more. The BCC offers a computer lab and printing station, a conference room for student groups to interact, a student lounge and staff offices. The space and Intercultural Affairs team provide that “home away from home” for many students.
In addition to the Black Cultural Center, the Intercultural Lounge and Meeting Room 246 recently opened in the location of the former Noble Cody Suite. The Lounge is designed for socializing, group projects, and informal gatherings. A display system is updated monthly to promote awareness and perspectives related to interculturalism and diversity on campus, and a student workspace serves as the office for Intercultural Affairs student leaders.
Meeting Room 246 was renovated to create meeting room space equipped for hybrid in-person and virtual meetings, workshops, and more. Located between the BCC and the Intercultural Lounge, Meeting Room 246 provides a convenient location for R.A.C.E. and R.A.C.E. PLUS classes, Man Up meetings, and a variety of other Intercultural Affairs activities.
The Women’s Center is located on the third floor of the Roaden University Center under the leadership of Dr. Helen Hunt. We are exploring opportunities for spaces that meet students’ needs, but no additional spaces are in development at this time.
The Intercultural Affairs Steering Committee was convened during the Spring semester to help shape the plan for the Intercultural Affairs transition. This group has been instrumental in crafting the department’s goals, mission statement, and learning outcomes, as well as identifying potential points of concern and program priorities. As the transition is implemented during the fall 2023 semester, the Steering Committee will itself transition to an ongoing advisory council.
Steering Committee Members:
- Cody Bryant (Communications & Marketing)
- LaKeisha Claybrooks (Student Engagement)
- Carlos Galindo (STEM Center)
- Chester Goad (Accessible Education)
- Helen Hunt (Faculty & Women's Center)
- Harry Ingle (Engineering Administration)
- Shanna Muncy (Communications & Marketing)
- Rob Owens (Diversity & Inclusion)
- Ben Stubbs (Student Engagement)
- Amanda Thatcher (Athletics)
- Charlie Wilkerson (International Education)
- John Craw (Undergraduate Student)
- Miguel Fuentes Garcia (Undergraduate Student)
- Joshua Gordon (Graduate Student)
- Karol Guerra (Undergraduate Student)
- Mark Rine (Graduate Student)
- Jamaal Thompson (Graduate Student)
- Gloria Uduehi (Undergraduate Student)
Many opportunities are available for students to connect and get involved with the department. These include the Reaching Achievement & Committed to Excellence (R.A.C.E. and R.A.C.E. PLUS) Programs, Intercultural Affairs Ambassadors, or as a volunteer. Information and applications for the R.A.C.E. (new freshmen) and R.A.C.E. PLUS (transfer and continuing students) mentoring programs are available each spring semester through early June. Visit the R.A.C.E. program page for more information.
Continuing students can also apply to serve as a R.A.C.E. program mentor or Intercultural Affairs Ambassador during the spring semester.
All students are invited to attend Intercultural Affairs events, including cross-cultural dialogues, Campus Conversations, heritage events, and speakers. Visit the Events page and follow us in Instagram @tntechinterculturalaffairs to learn about upcoming programs.
Alumni, campus partners, parents, and others can best support Intercultural Affairs by supporting our students. Financial gifts can be made to the Tennessee Tech Ethnic Diversity Scholarship Initiative, the Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center fund, or other department-affiliated funds. Visit our Giving page for more details.
Other opportunities to support Intercultural Affairs include serving on alumni panels and the Multicultural Affairs Alumni Advisory Council (MAAAC), being a guest presenter for events, serving as a mentor for students, and supporting events throughout the year.
For information about upcoming campus events, visit our Events page. To explore training and workshop opportunities for your organization or class, contact Charria Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional resources, such as Resource Guides for specific student populations and culture- and identity-based organization programs are in development and will be implemented throughout the year.
University, Student Affairs, and Intercultural Affairs team members are monitoring and discussing state and federal legislation and policy that may impact our work. While the Tennessee Higher Education Freedom of Expression and Transparency Act (2023) and the Divisive Concepts Act (2022) restricts certain university activities, at this time, we do not anticipate that these bills will have a direct adverse impact on Intercultural Affairs programs and initiatives designed to prioritize students’ academic success and career readiness.
Divisional and institutional priorities include fostering a welcoming, inclusive environment, connecting students with the resources that they need to succeed, and providing students with an educational experience relevant in today’s global, diverse society. Intercultural Affairs team members, in partnership with University Counsel and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, will continue to monitor new developments and inform our stakeholders of any potential program impacts.