LAWRENCE — An individual with 10 years of experience of growing responsibility at the University of Kansas will be the next director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Precious Porras, who currently serves as interim director of OMA, will become the new director effective Jan. 4, 2016. The Office of Multicultural Affairs provides direction and services for current and prospective students from underrepresented populations. In addition, the office provides diversity education programs across campus that foster inclusive learning environments for all students.
“I’m excited to bring Precious more fully into our administrative leadership team at KU,” said Nate Thomas, vice provost for diversity and equity. “Precious has been a strong contributor to important campus discussions and initiatives. She has a proven track record of leading students and educating the campus about issues of social justice, inclusion, equity and more. I know she possesses the vision and drive that will allow KU — and our students — to advance important conversations and achieve great success.”
Porras has been the interim director of OMA since May 2015. In that role she provides overarching leadership and management of the office, supervising five full-time staff and three graduate assistants. She has been with OMA since 2005, taking on increasing responsibility with each role. From 2005 to 2006, Porras was a Hawk Link retention specialist and developed programs for freshmen, trained and supervised tutors, and worked with the Office of Admissions to recruit students of color. In 2006 she was named assistant director of diversity education at OMA. In that position she facilitated cultural education workshops and presentations for faculty, staff and students, as well as taught three academic courses, and assisted with planning and development of the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center. In 2013 Porras became the associate director of diversity education and social justice programs. Through that role she facilitated cultural education workshops and presentation, supervises staff, coordinates staff development and trainings, assessed programs and services, and taught two courses.
Porras has been involved in a number of KU organizations including the Black Faculty & Staff Council, Unclassified Senate, KU Latino Council, Student Housing Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Awards Selection Committee. She served as president of the Black Faculty & Staff Council from 2011-2013. She is a member of the KU Climate Study Task Force. She has delivered a number of presentations on a variety of diversity and inclusion topics and served as facilitator for several training programs.
“I am thrilled to serve the OMA and the university,” Porras said. “OMA has been an important component of the campus and is even more so now given not only our campus’ focus, but also the nation’s focus, on inclusion. I look forward to expanding our outreach and enhancing our relationships, both on and off campus.”
Porras has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Northwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in counselor education from Emporia State University. She expects to complete a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from KU in 2016.
Thomas expressed appreciation for the people who took part in the search as well as those who provided feedback on candidates.
“I want to thank the OMA director search committee and its chair Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Jerry Crawford for their hard work on this effort,” Thomas said.