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Final OMA director candidate to present Friday, Dec. 4

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

LAWRENCE – The last of three finalists for director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kansas will make a public presentation Friday, Dec. 4.

Precious Porras, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at KU, will address the suggested topic, “Strategic Leadership at KU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs,” at 11 a.m. in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union.

Porras has been the interim director of OMA since May 2015. In that role she provides overarching leadership and management of the office, supervising five full-time staff and three graduate assistants. She has been with OMA since 2005, taking on increasing responsibility with each role. From 2005 to 2006, Porras was a Hawk Link Retention Specialist and developed programs for freshmen, trained and supervised tutors, and worked with the Office of Admissions to recruit students of color. In 2006 she was named assistant director of diversity education at OMA. In that position she facilitated cultural education workshops and presentations for faculty, staff and students, as well as taught three academic courses, and assisted with planning and development of the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center. In 2013 Porras became the associate director of diversity education and social justice programs. Through that role she facilitates cultural education workshops and presentation, supervises staff, coordinates staff development and trainings, assesses programs and services, and teaches two courses.

Porras has been involved in a number of KU organizations including the Black Faculty & Staff Council, Unclassified Senate, KU Latino Council, Student Housing Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Awards Selection Committee. She served as president of the Black Faculty & Staff Council from 2011-2013. She is a member of the KU Climate Study Task Force. She has delivered a number of presentations on a variety of diversity and inclusion topics and served as facilitator for several training programs.

From 2004 to 2005 she was a care manager for Kansas Children’s Service League, where she processed referrals from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services for foster care and adoption. Among other responsibilities she oversaw and authorized the use of KCSL foster homes and answered crisis lines for foster parents and agencies.

Porras has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Northwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in counselor education from Emporia State University. She expects to complete a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from KU in 2016.

Jerry Crawford, associate professor of journalism & mass communications and chair of the OMA search committee, invites students, faculty and staff to attend all candidate presentations and provide feedback. Presentations of all candidates will be recorded and posted online after the final candidate has appeared on campus. Feedback about candidates can be submitted online and is due at 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7.

The director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs provides leadership that cultivates an inclusive campus community, empowers underrepresented students and enhances the cultural competency of all students, faculty and staff. The director manages a wide range of multicultural and academic programs that advance the university’s mission in:

  • Academic enrichment and programs to increase graduation rates
  • Diversity education and social justice and
  • Outreach and collaborative partnerships (students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators) to promote the mission of the office.

The director works with the vice provost for diversity & equity to integrate diversity and inclusion strategies, services, and resources into KU’s academic and non-academic units by collaborating with campus administrators, faculty and student groups. The director works with Diversity & Equity, the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity and Human Resource Management to provide leadership on cross-cultural programs that reduce and eliminate all forms of discrimination among KU community members and promote a healthy KU culture for student success. The center director also works with several offices on campus to assess and address the barriers existing on campus that hinder the academic, psychosocial, career development and ultimately the success of underrepresented students.

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