By Jeff Murphy, October 8, 2018
WARRENSBURG, MO – After being part of a group that provided initial input to help
launch the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity, now known as The Center, Lover Chancler has assumed a key leadership role in moving this important area forward
at the University of Central Missouri.
Chancler, who has served on the university faculty for approximately five years, is an assistant professor of child and family development. She is now dividing her time as a classroom educator teaching courses such as “Valuing Differences” along with new duties as director of The Center, an appointment she assumed in August.
Chancler fills the director’s position as the university places a continued emphasis on initiatives aimed at increasing student success. This includes retaining students so they can cross the degree finish line.
“We know that the majority of students we lose are either first generation or are minority students,” she said. “We think that if we can get them connected to the university and provide support for them, then they will continue to stay.”
“We want to make sure our multicultural students are included and know that there is a safe space, their niche to call home,” she added.
The Center was established in fall 2016 at a time when Chancler was serving as a faculty advisor for student groups, Sisters of Ujima and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Most recently, she became advisor to Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, which joins a long list of groups which use the CMI.
Created through requests and activism among UCM students, The Center focuses on creating a campus atmosphere where individuals of all backgrounds, identities and perspectives feel welcome, secure and included at UCM. It helps connect underrepresented students to resources, organizations and student support services they need to succeed, both as students and as future professionals.
“When we say ‘multicultural,’ we mean ‘cultural’ in the cultural sense. Cultural can be ethnicity, race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity – all of that is cultural in and of itself, and all of these groups are welcome at the center,” Chancler said.
Groups taking advantage of The Center include students of color, LGBTQIA, first generation, and historically underrepresented minorities.
The Center is located on the third floor of the Elliott Student Union, and includes space for individuals, student organizations, multicultural student outreach, and for campus-wide programs and events. Chancler said one of her main goals in her new position will be working with students to get their thoughts on how to best use the space provided and the types of programs they want to establish. She and her graduate assistant, Jerry Todd, will work with Meetings and Conference Services to schedule programs and special events at The Center.
“We definitely want students to know we are still here, and we want to service student groups, helping them with ideas they want to bring to fruition as they relate to either programming or space,” she said. Chancler also noted that The Center is a place where students can simply hang out and relax or visit to help address issues such as cultural barriers they may face.
Chancler came to UCM with experience working as a racial director for the YMCA in Topeka, Kan., a position she held while pursuing her Ph.D. at Kansas State University.
Individuals who want to know more about The Center can call Chancler at 660-543-8409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.