ISS and MEPD to receive $32,000 for chair payroll and programs
Matthew Hooper, associate dean of students, believes the International Student Association and multicultural relations chairs leaving Associated Students will lead to a more streamlined structure. This move will go into effect on July 1.
Next year, the International Student Association chair and multicultural relations chairs will be moving into the International Student Services and Multi-Ethnic Programs & Development, respectively, as the departments begin to integrating diversity into the school.
“If you’re trying to make things better, everyone has to give a little. That happened in this decision,” Hooper said. “Because everyone gave a little, ultimately, I think it was a decision that will be effective in the long term.”
Departments work with AS to determine funds
Hooper worked with Ivan Chung, director of International Student Services, and Glen Kinoshita, director of Multi-Ethnic Programs & Development, to present the structural change proposal to AS in the fall and help find a solution.
Hooper and the two directors initially requested $40,000 in the proposal, with approximately $26,000 going to Multi-Ethnic Programs & Development and the remainder going to International Student Services. The requested funds included the payroll for the chair positions and the programming dollars for both International Student Association and multicultural relations.
Hooper also said Poetry Lounge was initially intended to move to Multi-Ethnic Programs & Development, as it is an event driven by multicultural relations. After working with AS adviser Laura Igram-Edwards and the AS executive board, it was determined that Poetry Lounge would stay in AS.
Additionally, the two departments would receive a combined total of $32,000, instead of the original requested amount.
Restructure will begin to empower directors
“Anything that involves learning outside the classroom is really student-directed, so with this change, it’s a fundamental shift in philosophy,” said Chung, who has been with International Student Services for six years. “It’s only a small shift in philosophy but it’s a fundamental shift. What they’re saying is they’re giving power to have someone outside — which is me — of the student body to speak into a big portion of the student body.”
Chung oversees the international student population, which makes up approximately 7 percent of Biola’s student body, and works to create the best environment to foster positive growth for them. Yet, he expressed some frustration over the fact that, in the past, his position of director seemed limited to an adviser role.
“Is the best way to have a structure where they don’t really report to me?” Chung said. “Is the best way to do that where they’re reporting to folks who change hands and leadership every year, or is it better to have some ongoing support where a director position would be able to oversee [them]?”
Change will also affect other schools
Kinoshita, who oversees Multi-Ethnic Programs & Development, said that multicultural relations and Multi-Ethnic Programs & Development have been working together to carry out their vision of higher diversity in Christian education for the past 10 years. However, as both programs grew, discussion of a restructure began taking place, and it became apparent to those outside of the department that a change needed to happen.
Kinoshita, who said his department draws from the eschatological vision in Revelation 7:9, believes that the change will improve quality in diversity programming for both the Biola community and other Christian schools, including those who attend the annual Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation.
“We also hope to collaborate and interact with others on campus and other departments,” Kinoshita said. “As things are much more under the same vision and purpose, it just functions better, so hopefully, the time and the energy [will be] more focused.”
Still, the change will also require some restructuring within the department to integrate student leadership.
“We’re still in the process of casting the vision and restructuring, but they will be very integrated into the larger picture of what we do,” Kinoshita said.