In a press release by The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the school is praised for providing “programs that level the playing field for educational opportunities,” according to INSIGHT into Diversity, the largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.
INSIGHT into Diversity assessed colleges and universities in the United States and Canada for their contributions in advancing diversity and inclusion across their campuses. In the publication’s “Courageous Conversations workshop series” in its May/June issue, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s “Learning is for Everyone,” or LIFE program was featured and praised.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s LIFE program aims to give students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities and academic foundation, work experience, and social opportunities as they enroll in classes designed specifically for them and audit regularly schedules classes with other University students, who help with assignments.
The publication’s workshop series, Courageous Conversations, focuses on increating diversity and including in the classroom, across campus, and in the community as faculty, staff members, and students father monthly to share experiences, ideas, and resources.
Dr. Taniecea Arceneaux Mallery, the University’s executive director of Strategic Initiatives and chief diversity officer stated, “Recognition for these two programs that are integral to the University’s diversity and inclusion efforts are indicative of a campus-wide commitment to providing equal access for underrepresented groups.”
In 2014, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette became the state’s first four year institution to offer a postsecondary program for people with intellectual disabilities with the LIFE Program.
Students who are enrolled in the program have curriculums tailored to their interests and career goals. They learn life skills such as how to manage finances, and hold internships in campus offices or departments. They also participate in student organizations, clubs and extracurricular activities.
“The blend of academic, social and career development is designed to help LIFE students develop skills and confidence that will enable them to find meaningful jobs, and live independently,” Mallery said.
INSIGHT into Diversity’s acknowledgement of the Courageous Conversations series was centered on a recent virtual session where a group of panelists addressed a range of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as physical and mental wellness, and challenges faced by minority students who lack access to technology.
“The idea of the webinar was to be intentional and think about certain experiences many of our students are having, because not everyone is experiencing this crisis in the same way or dealing with the same circumstances,” Mallery said.
This isn’t the first time University of Louisiana at Lafayette has earned praise from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. Last year, the University was among 93 institutions that received the magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. It also was recognized with the HEED award in 2018.
Mallery said the recognition is, in large part, the result of a Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence created by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office for Campus Diversity. It outlines a comprehensive plan for expanding initiatives and professional development resources that advance equity and inclusion.
“We want to continue to develop policies, resources and initiatives that engage all segments of campus and the community in the University’s ongoing mission to increase opportunities for underrepresented students,” Mallery said.
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