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“Appalachian Perspective”: The Value of Campus Diversity

BOONE–A university campus where students represent diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds helps make all students smarter, Dr. Harry Williams says on “Appalachian Perspective” cable television show.

The 30-minute program is hosted by Frank Borkowski, chancellor of Appalachian State University. Williams is Appalachian’s newly appointed associate vice chancellor for diversity.

The episode titled “The Value of Campus Diversity” airs locally through May 16. It is seen on Charter Communication’s Channel 2 Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., Channel 18 Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesday 7:30 p.m., and Channel 21 weekdays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Williams discusses Appalachian’s diversity plan that calls for increasing admissions applications from minority students by 10 percent, increasing underrepresented faculty by 10 percent, and doubling the enrollment of international students. All goals are to be reached by 2008.

Citing national research, Williams says that campus diversity enhances learning both inside and outside the classroom by creating dialogue and interaction among students who are different from each other.

“Diversity is very, very important. It’s the right thing to do because it makes everyone involved with it smarter and better human beings,” Williams says.

To increase its minority representation, Appalachian has hired two minority admissions counselors and extended its outreach to encourage more minority students to apply for admission to the university. It is also increasing contacts with minority faculty to encourage their applications for employment.

Some colleges and universities have come under scrutiny for alleged admissions bias toward blacks and other minorities. Unlike these schools, Williams says Appalachian does not base its admissions on race or use point systems that include race.

“We look at a variety of factors in determining admission to the university. We look at socioeconomic factors, we look at GPA, we look at SAT scores…we look at a host of factors in making up the student body here,” Williams says.

“Appalachian Perspective” is a production of Appalachian’s Department of Communication and University Advancement Division’s Office of Public Affairs. It airs in Boone, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Kannapolis, Newport, Hickory and Morganton.

For more information, contact Producer Linda Coutant at (828) 262-2342 or