MSA director candidate shares vision at forum

MSA director candidate shares vision at forum

MSA director candidate shares vision at forum

Ivy Christianson

EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of four candidate forums to be held in the second round of the university’s attempt to find the next assistant dean of students and director of multicultural affairs. The next open forum will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Multicultural Center, in the Memorial Union.

A candidate for the assistant dean of students and director of multicultural affairs said she wants to help students in the same way she was helped throughout her academic career.

AnaMaria Diaz Martinez, director of new student programs and transitions at Eastern Washington University, answered questions Thursday during the open forum for the assistant dean of students and director of multicultural affairs.

Martinez said when she was eight years old she could not speak English or understand it and caused her teachers to believe she needed to attend special education classes. It was not until she was in fourth grade that her teacher realized that although she may not have been adept in English, she could be well advanced in her own language. Martinez tested past the 80th percentile of Spanish speakers her age.

“I’m a product of support systems that intervened then [in fourth grade] and intervened in my K-12 years, helping me to be successful beyond,” she said. “I’m a recipient and benefactor from those services. Academic support I received helped me live outside that stigma.”

Martinez said she is lured by Iowa State’s collaborative processes and its commitment to diversity. She said it’s an exciting time and that there is a great opportunity to work across the university in serving the students and the community.

She said her vision is “an institutional and campus culture that is inclusive, multicultural and globally aware, that embraces and appreciates diversity within the university and its communities.”

Martinez said if she were to be accepted for this position, she would serve as a leader that can provide direction for student programming and community collaboration.

She said she is especially interested in finding out how student and multicultural services Iowa State currently offers are impacting the student experience. She is looking to find any gaps in the program, fix them, and continuing to serve students.

According to her slide presentation, Martinez’s goal is to promote student success through collaborative relationships in addressing the needs of students on a personal, academic, social, career and cultural level.

“I want an opportunity to be a part of the shaping of something that’s incredible and that I have a true passion for,” Martinez said.

As part of her presentation, Martinez wanted to know how many of the attending faculty regularly engaged in campus activities outside of their work schedule. She believes staff and faculty members need to participate in these types of activities because it’s an “incredible experience.”

“It’s an incredible experience because we’re humanized,” she said. “Students say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s my professor, he’s actually not that bad’.”

Martinez said she also wants to help students transition to life after college by providing excellent connections inside and outside of the classroom and plans to tackle language barriers by using academic interventions that were beneficial to her as a child.