UMUC Voices: Diversity Perspectives from the UMUC Community
As a global university serving a culturally diverse population of students, UMUC seeks to promote mutual respect and appreciation for all members of our community. Following is the first in a series of articles published by the Office of Diversity, wherein members of the UMUC community share their views on diversity and what they have gained through working with others with different customs, ideologies, and perspectives.
What does diversity mean to you?
Dr. Susan C. Aldridge: On its face, diversity encompasses all of the many dimensions of human experience--age, gender, ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, and religious belief, just to name a few. In fact, the list is endless. But beyond the labels, diversity is also about actively embracing these differences as we seek to understand how they inform both our perceptions and our practices, as individuals and communities.
What have you gained from working with others with different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences from your own?
Dr. Susan C. Aldridge: Having spent the better part of my career in an international environment, I have had an extraordinary chance to live and work in many parts of the world. And while it was challenging at times, it also prepared me to run a global university like ours. For one thing, having had the benefit of multiple angles and different vantage points has taught me to think and act more creatively, an essential job skill for someone tasked with overseeing a university of this size and scope. What's more, by stepping outside of my own narrow comfort zone, I have gained a panoramic view of the world, which has made me more sensitive to the needs of our students and our staff, as well as more adaptable in the face of an increasingly competitive higher education market.