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Updated 10:00 AM October 31, 2005




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Gurin acting director of National Center for Institutional Diversity

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U-M launches National Center for Institutional Diversity>
Dialogue Project helps students discuss differences>

When the word diversity and the name of the University of Michigan are together in the same sentence it is likely most people assume the topic of discussion is admissions.
(Photo by Martin Vloet,
U-M Photo Services

And while the University's important leadership role in the U.S. Supreme Court cases decided two years ago should not be minimized, diversity is about more than ensuring that members of all races, cultures and backgrounds are present in U-M classrooms, says Patricia Gurin, the Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women's Studies, and acting director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID).

"The National Center for Institutional Diversity is cutting a new path for talking about diversity that broadens its meaning and its message, encourages new lines of inquiry, and invites new people at both the national and local level into the conversation," says Gurin. Her research on the educational value of diversity was used widely during the admissions lawsuits.

Under her leadership, the NCID is about to embark on a number of initiatives to engage the campus and national communities in these broader discussions of diversity, says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

"I cannot imagine a better leader to launch the NCID," Monts says. "Pat brings a wealth of experience and a stellar national reputation to the development of the center."

Gurin joined the U-M faculty in 1966 and during her tenure has served as chair of the psychology department from 1991-2001 and interim dean of LSA during the academic year 1998-99. She has been active at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Institute for Social Research, the Women's Studies Program and the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. She is the author/editor of eight books and numerous articles on the social psychology of social identity and intergroup relations.

She also has received several teaching awards from U-M, including Distinguished University and Arthur Thurnau professorships.

Barry Checkoway, professor in the School of Social Work, will chair a committee that soon will begin a search for a permanent director.

"This position offers a unique opportunity for a visionary leader to build something innovative," Monts says, adding the University is looking for a scholar and teacher with proven leadership in diversity on the national and international stage.

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