Darron Turner was very busy this summer. Newly appointed as the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, he worked hard to organize the changes within his office. Of the many responsibilities Turner will hold as part of his new position, one includes heading Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services. Over the summer, several departments within the Student Development Services were combined to form IIS.
The IIS is a collaboration of efforts with existing services and leaders on campus. Chancellor Victor Boschini and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills will continue to be a driving force behind the unit. In addition, Human Resources, Academic Services and faculty members will be essential to the success of the programs.
“Students are our No. 1 priority,” Turner said.
The IIS is available to mentor and advise students of color, and will focus on helping student athletes to become more connected to the TCU community. Inclusiveness and diversity training for students and faculty will be a significant task of the new unit.
“He (Turner) is very student focused and oriented,” Cyndi Walsh, director of the TCU Leadership Center, said. “He is without a doubt the best supervisor I have ever come across.”
Turner contacted local businesses and corporations to determine what they look for the most in a college graduate. He said that corporations stressed the importance of students being able to work in a diverse environment.
“It’s not just about education. It’s about gender, religion, socioeconomic and international diversity,” Turner said of his discussions with local businesses.
Through diversity education, Turner said he wants to get students ready for the real world now and prepare them to join the workforce. The IIS is also responsible for the Community Scholars program, and will be in close contact with area schools.
“Community scholars participate in leadership classes,” Walsh said. “SDS (Student Development Services) will continue to collaborate with Turner with workshops through the leadership center.”
Weekly diversity classes for students, comparable to the leadership classes that are already offered, are currently in the planning stages.
Turner is also serving as the Title IX officer and the Equal Opportunity officer, working for fair business practices and affirmative action. A TCU alumnus, Turner became the director of minority affairs in 1994 and the associate dean of student development in 2003.
The new unit will join International Student Services, University Ministries and Fraternity and Sorority Affairs in Suite 111 of the Student Center by October. Having these services all housed within the same office is intended to increase accessibility for students.
“Come by and see us. We have an open door policy,” Turner said.
Tuner said he hopes that students will voice their concerns and opinions.
Director of Intercultural Services, Greg TreviÂ¤o, will be joining Turner in promoting diversity and awareness of minority issues on campus through the new programs. Various intercultural committees are already in place for students to participate in.
“There will be more opportunities for students to be involved in event planning this year,” TreviÂ¤o said, “We want to engage non-minorities as a part of the programs.”
John Singleton, director of ISS, is also looking forward to the benefit the collaboration of services will have for students.
“I feel like it will strengthen what we already have,” Singleton said.
By housing all these services under one roof, Turner, TreviÂ¤o and Singleton share a common goal: to raise awareness of their programs and to get more students involved.