The Catholic University of America

Student Affairs

University to Launch New Center for Cultural Engagement in the Fall

By Mike Allen, vice president for student affairs

In recent years, the University has made considerable progress toward our goal of building a more diverse student population. As President John Garvey noted in his recent address at the Student Government Association Town Hall, students of color and international students comprise approximately 30% of our student population. This is a number that we expect will continue to grow in the coming years. With this growth in mind, I am pleased to announce that we will be launching a new Center for Cultural Engagement that will be operational for the start of the fall 2016 semester.

Global Fest
Events during International Week, such as Global Fest, celebrate the various cultures represented at Catholic University. 

Intercultural education at Catholic University has traditionally focused on providing programmatic initiatives that celebrate culture in our community in an effort to expand knowledge of differences and facilitate a lifetime of cultural understanding. Due to its unique position in the Church and Washington, D.C., Catholic University has the ability to affect a broader evangelization of culture than many other Catholic colleges and universities. Our students go on to become leaders, both lay and religious, in their vocations and within the Church in America. It is critical that University graduates are sent into the workforce and broader society sufficiently prepared to thrive in intercultural contexts.

The center will have a dual mission of:

  1. Direct support, outreach, and engagement with underrepresented minority students, international students, and student cultural groups.
  2. Cultivating a community environment that understands, appreciates, and respects cultural and human differences on both the individual and global level.

The work done through the center will complement and expand current programmatic initiatives established within the Office of Campus Activities, Center for Global Education, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Campus Ministry, and the broader academic community to bolster outreach and support for students, while also providing co-curricular opportunities for all students to develop intercultural competencies.

Through a series of office moves planned for this summer, the Center for Cultural Engagement will be located on the second floor of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, across the hall from the Office of Campus Activities and adjacent to ISSS, which will be relocating from McMahon Hall. A search for the director of the center is currently underway.