The Benefits of Diversity in College Staff

by Stephanie Thurrott

Universities across the United States often tout the benefits of diversity in college. A student body that represents the overall population—and a diverse faculty that brings a variety of viewpoints to the classroom—is key to preparing students for professional success in today’s world.

There’s a third component to diversity in college as well: a diverse support staff.

Students interact with a range of people on campus aside from their professors. They meet with experts in the career center who review their résumés. They seek care in the Student Health Center when they have health concerns. They buy their books and supplies from the bookstore staff. All of these interactions contribute to students’ overall educational experience.

Building Community

One of the benefits of diversity in college staff is that it helps all students feel connected and recognized. According to Paola Martinez, vice president for human resources at Azusa Pacific University, staff who represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences can provide both invaluable insights and opportunities to students seeking to fit in, to express themselves, and to find community in their environment.

“Having diversity within the staff can empower students to be expressive without feeling outnumbered,” Martinez said. “Students can feel comforted by our staff who may share similar backgrounds to their own.”

Preparing Students to Succeed

Diversity among campus support staff doesn’t just help students feel more comfortable and connected. It can also help prepare students for their future professions.

“Employers have long recognized that sameness breeds sameness,” Martinez said. “A richly diverse educational experience prepares students to enter the workforce with a unique perspective that will help them be successful in their careers.”

Martinez went on to note that working with a variety of people can teach students the value of connecting and collaborating with those who have different viewpoints and backgrounds. “This is no different than what awaits in the workplace,” she said. Interacting with staff who come alongside their education experience naturally fosters these learning opportunities, creating an advantage to the APU student.

APU Focuses on Maintaining Diverse Support Staff

Azusa Pacific emphasizes diversity in its staff as well as in its student body and faculty. Students are exposed to a range of cultures and backgrounds—some that are similar to their own and some that may be unfamiliar to them.

“In addition to learning their content area, students benefit during their time on campus by learning soft skills that are also necessary to adapt to the distinct viewpoints that people bring to the work environment,” Martinez said. “Students have a wonderful opportunity at APU to experience and appreciate the differing perspectives within our staff. It is in those differences that our students are shaped.”

Interested in learning more about diversity at Azusa Pacific University? Learn more about how APU values and promotes diversity on campus.