UAB faculty, staff and students can get a new passport to explore the world within the campus starting this month.
The new UAB Diversity Passport will provide encouragement and incentives to explore the varied cultures that are a part of our community through events and activities that are a part of everyday life here on one of the nation’s most diverse campuses.
Participants will use monthly themes, a calendar of events, activities and suggestions as a travel guide on what do, where to go and who to see. Participants then can write about their new experiences in a journal at www.uab.edu/equityanddiversity/passport and have their passport validated by a friend or fellow traveler.
“The idea is to attend an event or activity once each month for 12 months,” says Louis Dale, vice president for Equity and Diversity. The program is a collaborative effort between his office and Human Resource Management, the UAB Diversity Council and the UAB Affirmative Action Officers. “Participants can journey more than once a month if they like, and we expect people to do something different each month.
“The beautiful thing is that people also can participate in activities outside the UAB community if they like.” Dale says. “If there’s a movie that explores diversity or a specific culture, you can go see it and then tell someone about it and your experiences. The person you share it with validates your passport.”
Dale says the program also offers unique opportunities for academic departments. “A department can develop its own passport,” Dale says. “They can develop one for their students and/or their faculty. It really opens a world of possibilities for our professors and students and gives them an opportunity to be creative.”
An online calendar of events will be updated monthly. In January 2011, a reception will be held for participants during UAB Community Week.
Getting your passport
Sign up by Jan. 20 for the 2010 calendar year at www.uab.edu/equityanddiversity/passport.
Personal passports, used to document diversity activities, can be obtained from the Office of Human Resource Management on the second floor of the Administration Building or in the Office for Equity and Diversity on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall. Participants pay $3 for their passport to cover the printing cost for the booklet.
Each participant will have a unique passport number, and each month several passport holders will be chosen at random to be invited guests for a special event.
Commitment to diversity
UAB began diversity training for its employees in 2003. Employees complete an online course and attend a two-hour course hosted by Training and Development.
“The ultimate goal in any diversity program, in my opinion, is to teach people to respect other cultures, races, religions, life styles and political persuasions,” Dale says. “There is very little conflict when people respect each other.”
The Princeton Review recently lauded UAB, listing the university as No. 3 in the nation for its social and ethnic diversity and interaction between students of various backgrounds. UAB is the only Alabama university to rank in this category.
The Review summarized the students’ comments, writing: “With diverse academic and extracurricular opportunities, UAB is a school that fits most every type of person. As a result, the student body is truly a great American melting pot of different cultures, religions and races.”
The UAB Diversity Passport program extends that commitment by inviting faculty, staff and students to embark on a journey and experience the ways in which diversity in the community enriches lives at work, school and at home.
“It will enable us to draw inspiration from each other’s experiences,” Dale says. “And sharing our stories gives us important insights into life lessons and fosters appreciation, respect and true collaboration.”