On Jan. 8, 2013, Bellevue College announced its selection of Aaron Reader as its new interim director of Multicultural Services. Reader, previously assistant director of MCS, succeeds previous director of MCS, Dr. Ata Karim, who is now serving as interim vice president of Student Services. Reader will be serving as interim director for the next six months.
When such a position becomes available, as per regulation by the department of Human Resources, postings are made for a minimum of 10 days, during which interested parties may apply. The managing supervisor, in this case Karim, then interviews applicants and makes an appointment at his discretion.
In an email to the BC staff and faculty, Karim expressed “I have the greatest confidence that [Reader] will lead the department admirably in serving the needs of our underserved and marginalized student populations with particular emphasis on student success.”
The MCS department spends considerable time and resources in their mission to provide a culture of awareness across campus and to be a resource and advocate for students. “One of my main goals is to make sure I uphold the work that has already been done before me,” said Reader, “because the MCS team has been doing great work, and I want to uphold that and continue that.”
Currently, the MCS department operates with about 275 full time staff, and sees approximately 1700 unique students every quarter needing access to multiple resources. MCS provides a physical location for students to seek out help, whether it be getting started at school, figuring out financial aid, advice in choosing classes or sometimes just someone to talk to. They won’t stop until they see their students succeed.
Most of the feedback MCS gathers comes from the experiences students share during advising sessions and drop-in visits. The advisors at MCS see a side of students others might otherwise not get a chance to. Often times students will share their whole self, give feedback and are comfortable enough to share their experiences holistically, sharing not just their “student self” but their “whole person”. “I want students to know that we’re here to help them, and that ‘we have your back’,” said Reader. It is this personable climate MCS offers that makes it ultimately able to reach out to every unique student who comes through its doors and get them the help they need.
Students are also surveyed about their day-to-day experience on campus to give MCS better feedback on campus life.
“I think one thing I want to do is for us is to spend more time listening to what students need,” said Reader. “Sometimes I think on campus we can get caught up with ‘we want to do what is right for students’ but we don’t know ‘is that right for students?’ I think a big thing that we want to do more of is listening to what students are actually expressing and what their needs are.”
MCS hopes that by this, they can continue to be a resource to all students, specifically marginalized students and students who come from all different backgrounds, and continue to collaborate with faculty and staff campus-wide.