Dr. Donnesha A. Blake–the new director of diversity and inclusion on campus–began her career in the Center of Student Opportunity this Winter Semester.
She has received a positive response from those on campus, and her plans as the new director of diversity and inclusion will be an improvement for the Alma College community.
Dr. Blake graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies.
Her plans, regarding her new position in the CSO will be focused on promoting diversity in education.
“I came to Alma because I want to be a part of the College’s journey to increase diversity and inclusion and to promote diversity education,” said Blake.
The main priority for Blake is to be present on campus and effectively prioritize the community on campus. “My main priority is understanding the needs of staff, faculty, and students on campus. I am here to listen,” said Blake.
As her time in the CSO continues, Blake plans to address and progress solutions for the needs of students on Alma’s campus.
“Moving forward, I will be thinking critically about how to address the needs of our campus as it relates to diversity and inclusion. I also plan to work collaboratively with other staff, faculty and students on campus to address the needs of the campus community,” said Blake.
The encouragement of diversity will involve reaching out to other groups on campus, creating a network to aid and promote the environment for equal learning opportunities.
“I intend to find ways to support the diversity and inclusion efforts already taking place at Alma. I also want to continue building coalitions between groups who are doing similar work on campus,” said Blake.
Blake’s experience on campus has been producing these past three weeks. During her time here, she planned out several events for the Martin Luther King celebration week.
“I have had a pretty busy couple of weeks with the planning of our MLK Week keynote speaker, Joshua DuBois,” said Blake.
Blake reached out to DuBois and planned for the speech that took place at the Remick Heritage Center, Presbyterian Hall. All students, faculty, and the local community were welcome to attend that evening.
“DuBois spoke to students, faculty, and staff about Dr. King’s legacy and the future of minority male leadership,” said Blake.
DuBois – previous head of the WhiteHouse Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama focused on the significance of faith-based organizations partnering with community aid to encourage positive change.
“I enjoyed hearing him respond to faculty, staff, and students who, in different ways, wanted to know how we increase cultural awareness on campus and in our community. It was a wonderful start to my year and job,” said Blake.
Blake has also enjoyed the opportunities to work with students who have received the Campbell Scholarship. This scholarship is one that is awarded to students from Detroit, Michigan who promote academic excellence. She also worked with students from the King Chavez-Parks Mentor Program as well during these past weeks.
Blake’s beginning at Alma has been a useful improvement in the CSO and for the community of Alma College. academic environment.