Newly hired director aims to increase retention and graduation rates

Blane Harding named director of The Center for Student Cultural Diversity

Blane Harding began his new duties as the director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity on June 1. Prior to joining the University, Harding was the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kansas, and served as the director of advising, recruitment, and retention at Colorado State University.

"I believe Blane's focus on student success and graduation is what sets him apart for the position," Gerald Marczynski, associate vice president for student life services and dean of students said. "He is committed to providing the experience that will enable our students to be successful after graduation."

Harding said he firmly believes that an increase in cultural competency in all aspects of campus correlates directly with an increase in student retention and gradation, and has learned through his experiences and interactions with students and faculty that if students do not feel welcome and accepted they might not feel as compelled to remain enrolled.

"Students leave school for a variety of reasons, and not all are academic," he said.

Harding said he looks forward to building relationships across the University and would like to see diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice woven into a wider range of programs. This would include, but not be limited to, orientation for new students and employees, leadership training and opportunities for discussions and workshops for any interested students or faculty.

"I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and students at UNR to increase cultural competency across campus, support student success in terms of retention and graduation, and support the mission and vision of the institution," Harding said.

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