By Eva Andrews
Spanish professor and Salem College alumna Dr. Krishauna Hines-Gaither has taken on the new role of director of diversity. While she has been teaching Spanish for more than 11 years at Salem College, Hines-Gaither also possesses expertise within Afro-Latino culture and civilization with a focus on Afro-Latina women. Her position as director of diversity consists of collaborating with students, faculty, administrators, staff and student organizations in order to create programming, discussions and training pertaining to inclusivity and diversity. Her position as the director of diversity begins in the fall semester of 2016. As of now, she plans to listen, learn and understand the position of students and others on campus.
“I have had the lense of a student…and then…a faculty member…[and] a student advisor…all those things have shaped my experience and the way that I see the campus.” Hines-Gaither comments.
She goes on to explain how she has taken steps to meet with groups on campus and speak with many members of the Salem community to plan for the fall. She does not plan to come into the position “with a scripted agenda.” She wants the position to be about collaboration.
Hines-Gaither’s PhD is in cultural studies and she has received a lot of training with individuals with a lot of differences– from LGBTQ to race and ethnicity. She plans to visit Montreal the first week of March for further training in diversity and inclusion. Planning to work closely with clubs as well as faculty, Hines-Gaither is setting up meetings to facilitate communication. She also seeks to find common links between clubs so that they can host events to strengthen bonds and create solidarity and political power. These kinds of collaborations can allow for shared funding and higher attendance rates overall.
And as far as creating safe space, Hines-Gaither believes she has to work on an individual and/or an institutional level based on the issue at hand. She plans to treat each situation with the care and sensitivity necessary.