One week after moving into new offices on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building, the staff in Academic, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) is already discovering that it is easier to work on creating a welcoming and inclusive campus when you can collaborate with your co-workers.
“The people in our offices need to interact on a regular basis and be able to maintain our good rapport, and that wasn’t always easy in our previous arrangement,” says ADEI Assistant Vice President Monique Bernoudy.
The office suite on the fourth floor of the Student Health building (in the area previously occupied by the Disability Resource Center) includes the ADEI offices dedicated to Social Justice Education, Academic Diversity and the main office of Chief Diversity Officer Vernese Edghill-Walden (all of which were previously spread across two floors in Altgeld Hall). The office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Education, which was previously housed in the Campus Life Building is also part of the move to the Health Services Building along with Brandon Lagana, director of planning and assessment for the Office of Undergraduate Studies and ADEI.
The ADEI office for Undocumented Student Support will remain in the Campus Life Building and the Diversity and Cultural Resource Centers will remain in their current locations.
The realignment is part of a series of office moves intended to improve student services by making them more accessible and convenient, and to encourage better collaboration. The broader plan includes moving some aspects of the Dean of Students office to the Holmes Student Center and moving most academic services into the Founders Memorial Library.
In their new space, located on Wirtz Drive, the ADEI teams are settling in nicely and reaping the benefits of being in close proximity to their colleagues, says Bernoudy. The change has been an enhancement, not only for staff, but also for students.
“Now, rather than sending an email or making a phone call, we can just walk down the hall to ask questions or share ideas, which just tends to lead to deeper communication and better collaboration,” Bernoudy says. “We also are a little more centrally located for students, and when they come here, we have a broader set of services that we can connect them with at once.”