By Katie Simpson
This fall Gordon welcomes Charlene Mutamba, Ph.D. as the new Director of Multicultural initiatives. Dr. Mutamba has high hopes for her time at Gordon. She said, “My main goal is to partner with the larger Gordon community and provide academic, emotional and spiritual support to students of color through programs, events, community-building activities and mentoring.”
Dr. Mutamba said, “as Director of the Multicultural Initiatives Office, my job is to direct and coordinate programs and activities that provide holistic care for a diverse, multicultural student body.” In addition, she will be involved in coordinating and overseeing the Clarendon Scholars
Program, ALANA, and all multicultural initiatives. “This also involves developing goals and strategies for the retention of multicultural students by using data-driven decision-making and making focused programmatic investments,” she continued.
Much of Dr. Mutamba’s study, research, and work has been in the area of higher education. Her first career-related experience in higher education came in the form of a graduate research assistantship on a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant.
Dr. Mutamba cites this time as her inspiration to seek a career in higher education.
“The exposure and mentorship I received while working on this grant was instru-
mental in my decision to pursue higher education as a career path because I was able to transform into researcher and educator in an environment that was affirming and supportive,” she said. “Additionally, I believe that higher education is one of the most transformative experiences a student can have to prepare for the future.”
Following her graduate research assistantship, Mutamba worked in the Office of Post-Secondary Ed. at the U.S. Department of Education on her doctoral research. She received her Ph.D. in edu-
cational research and policy analysis from North Carolina State University. Before
coming to Gordon, Dr. Mutamba worked as assistant director of graduate student support for the Department of Student Engagement and University Development at Capitol Technology University in Laurel, Maryland.
When asked what knowledge from her research and career would have influenced her as an undergrad, she emphasizes campus services that help students envision and shape their future.
“During my undergraduate studies [at High Point University], I wish I had taken advantage of other Student Life Services such as Career Services and Advising. Academic Advising can assist students in developing a plan for completing their studies effectively and Career Services allows them to plan for life beyond college,” said Dr. Mutamba.
At a time when higher education, Dr.Mutamba’s field frequent of study, endures
much scrutiny, she focuses on the cost of college and demographic changes that will
affect the makeup of institutions for years to come. Dr. Mutamba said, “there is in-
creasing pressure for institutions to ensure more students graduate because of the in-
creasing cost and continuous debates about higher education as a worthwhile invest-
ment.” She continues, “for Gordon College and other institutions, issues surrounding diversity and multiculturalism will continue to be important as demographics in the United States change in most K-12 education systems, colleges and universities.”
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