PULLMAN, Wash. — To better define ways to address diversity issues relevant to the academic mission of the Provost’s office, Washington State University Provost Gretchen M. Bataille has appointed special assistants to support Native American and Hispanic initiatives.
Named to quarter-time positions are former Native American counselor Barbara Aston and counseling psychologist John/Juan Ramirez.
“Neither of these appointments is intended to suggest exclusion of other groups; however, both of these groups have had minimal representation at the administrative levels and it is appropriate that further recognition be established,” Bataille said.
Aston will be a liaison with the Native American Advisory Committee, established by the Memorandum of Understanding signed last fall by President Samuel H. Smith and Native Americans representing tribal governments in the Plateau region.
Improving recruitment and retention of Native American students, faculty and staff will also be a priority for Aston, and she said she hopes to help strengthen a curriculum that reflects awareness of Native American values.
Aston, a member of the Wyandotte Tribe, earned a bachelor’s degree from WSU while serving as a member of the classified staff at the Native American Student Center from 1986-91 and as a counselor from 1991-96. She is also employed by the Common Ministry of WSU.
Bataille said Ramirez has been appointed in response to the recognition that the most rapidly growing group in Eastern Washington is the Chicano/Latino population. “This group is of particular interest in Pullman and in the Tri-Cities, and it is important that we strengthen our commitment in this area and recognize the issues of this constituency.”
Ramirez has been a counseling psychologist and multicultural services liaison with WSU Counseling Services since 1991. He was on the faculty at University of Northern Colorado from 1975-91. He holds three degrees, including a doctorate from Texas Tech University.