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Diversity & Equity appoints 2 to new roles

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

LAWRENCE — The Office of Diversity & Equity at the University of Kansas announced new leadership and program appointments.

Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs Precious Porras is now assistant vice provost for diversity & equity and director of Multicultural Affairs. Associate Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Jennifer Ng is now director of academic inclusion.

“These important appointments support two objectives that are critical to this university’s mission,” said Jennifer Hamer, vice provost for diversity & equity. “The first is that diversity and equity are essential components of our effort to prepare students to lead, work and contribute to an increasingly global world. Second is the need for broader institutional cultural competency. Specifically, we must enhance our understanding and capacity to work effectively with minority and marginalized identities in order to ensure more of our students, faculty and staff have opportunities for success. I have had the opportunity to observe each of these individuals in their work at KU, and I have the greatest confidence in their ability to positively impact the KU community.”

The appointments are part of the Office of Diversity & Equity’s work to streamline efforts, develop and further a cultural shift that helps KU better reflect the social diversity and demographic representation of the United States while also crafting an environment that supports students, faculty and staff — especially those with marginalized identities — in their efforts to successfully learn and work.

As vice provost and director of multicultural affairs, Porras will have oversight of all diversity and inclusion student-centered programs and initiatives related to creating an equitable and inclusive academic and student-life environment. She and her professional staff will help foster an institutional climate across the university that supports and encourages multicultural learning and engagement around social differences and fairness.

As director of academic inclusion, Ng will work with the Center for Teaching Excellence and other campus offices to offer guidance for faculty on improving course syllabi and methods of creating more inclusive classroom environments. She will serve as a one-on-one resource for instructors to facilitate the correction and prevention of classroom incidents and craft professional development opportunities and tools that support instructor cultural competency and inclusive classroom learning. The half-time position will also have Ng assist with immediate action regarding reports of campus incidents that directly affect student experiences in learning environments. Ng will continue her faculty appointment in the School of Education at half-time as well.

About Precious Porras

In December 2015, Porras was named director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which develops and administers a variety of programs and strategies to retain underrepresented students as well as workshops that inform and guide faculty and staff. Porras has been at the university since 2005, working first as a Hawk Link retention specialist. In 2006, she was named assistant director of diversity education for OMA. In 2013, her assistant director position was expanded to also include social justice programs.

Porras is a TRIO participant and a first-generation college graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Northwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in counseling/student personnel from Emporia State University. This year she is completing a doctorate in educational leadership & policy studies from KU.

About Jennifer Ng

Ng came to KU in 2004 and is an associate professor of educational leadership & policy studies. Her research and teaching focus on how the social contexts of schooling affect educators’ work, especially with race, class, culture and other forms of diversity as primary features. In 2015, she was appointed by then-Interim Provost Sara Rosen to the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Group. She also served as a faculty fellow in the Office of Faculty Development from 2016-2018 and is a current member of the Kansas Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Ng is a distinguished teacher and received the School of Education’s Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2009, the Gene A. Budig Teaching Professorship in 2011 and the Dr. Bob Frederick Educator Award in 2016. She was awarded a Keeler Intra-University Professorship in 2010 and selected to be part of the Leadership Kansas Class of 2015. Other honors include the Steeples Service to Kansans Award in 2017 and School of Education Faculty Achievement Award for Service in 2018.  

Ng completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Iowa and her doctorate in educational policy studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to her career in higher education, she taught middle school English in Houston.

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