'One On One' With UK Vice President For Institutional Diversity Dr. Katrice Albert
Dr. Katrice A. Albert, Ph.D., will begin her duties as Vice President for Institutional Diversity on Sept. 27. WUKY's Karyn Czar recently had a chance to talk with her 'One on One.'
KC: I'm Karyn Czar, and thank you for joining us as we go ‘One on One’ with Doctor Katrice Albert. She is the new Vice President for Institutional Diversity at the University of Kentucky. Doctor Albert, welcome to the Bluegrass.
DKA: Well, Karyn, thank you so much for having me. And I'm just so excited and thrilled to be here at Kentucky.
KC: Doctor Albert, you bring 25 years of experience from some of the country's leading institutions to the University. Tell me, what is your vision for UK moving forward?
DKA: There are so many remarkable things about the University and I think that we're all guided by trying to advance higher education at Kentucky. And in this role for Institutional Diversity, what I want to do is be in partnership with all of my colleagues across the University to implement the DENI plan. The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Plan is a plan that I think so many faculty and staff and students have worked on and so I'm really excited to be with thought leaders and a thought partner with all of my colleagues who are trying to advance this University so that we can create a culture of belonging for everyone.
KC: And this plan is something that has been long overdue, not just at the university, but across the country.
DKA: Yeah. I mean, I think that you know I've been in diversity work for 25 years, and it's very important that those that are minoritized people, people of color, women, veterans, our colleagues in the LGBTQ plus community, we want all of our folks to feel like Kentucky is their University. And so I think that this plan is one where it permeates every sector of the institution. It permeates every constituent, so that we are able to be engaged in a way where we understand that we become leaders among leaders when we have more levels of compassion for one another, where there's more understanding and where we're growing our own cultural intelligence to be able to interact. Our work here in higher education is to grow global leaders. But we've got our own work to do. So faculty, staff, students and our community should be engaged with one another.
KC: As someone who's from the outside and stepped onto campus, what is your overall feel?
DKA: It's so beautiful. The students are so excited to be back. It's just like a buzz, right? There's a buzz because I think last year, across the country, our students were having to do all of their work virtually. And the fact that we can be in person, you know following all of the COVID protocols, there's just a level of excitement to be back with their friends, to be on campus with their faculty so that they can be in person. You know, the higher education experience is not only having them excel in the classroom, but we've got to grow these civically minded students, and you get that engagement when you're able to be in relationship with one another. They're going to also be able to have their social time, to have fun in College as well.
KC: Dr. Albert, I already mentioned that you bring years of experience from around the country but for those who aren't familiar with your background, what do you bring to the table for the University of Kentucky?
DKA: Yes. So my background is in counseling psychology. So my Ph.D. was taken in counseling psychology. But all of my research and my scholarship has been around race and gender and mental health and the ways in which minoritized individuals might be able to live in a more healthy way. But it's also the work of diversity is that it's going to take all of us to make sure that we can make a more perfect union, right, that we can grow together. That we can learn together to be in higher education is to be able to have authentic critiques about things no doubt, but then also to figure out that we've got to be vulnerable and compassionate to be with one another.
So I've been in higher education. I've been in intercollegiate athletics. I've done the same work in the private sector through my work in consulting. So I've seen every sector, and we all want the best for our individual sectors and the ways in which we do that is we make access an opportunity so that we might be able to attract diverse top talent. And that's what we want to do in higher education. And we want every Kentuckian and to see that the University of Kentucky can be their top College choice.