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Sept. 26, 2013

Pratt to lead multicultural engagement on campus

By Tara Harris

Dr. Charleyse S. Pratt was recently appointed the assistant vice president of inclusion and multicultueral engagement in the division of university engagement. She will be working with Dr. Byron White, vice president for engagement and diversity.

Dr. Pratt has been a faculty member with Cleveland State for six years. She began her career here as the director of learning communities programs and partnerships and is president of the black faculty and staff organization.

In her new position she will lead university programs designed to make all students feel welcome and included in Cleveland State. One of the goals of multicultural engagement is to bring students from diverse cultural backgrounds together.

“It’s about various cultures connecting and evolving,” Dr. Pratt said. “We have specialized training and we want to help you, consider us the launching pad. I want to make you the best student that you can be.”

Dr. Pratt wants to work with transfer students and feels that they will do a better job to customize students’ needs by blending resources.

She helps get people connected to the right people and wants to make sure students succeed.

She wants students to take advantage of the peer mentoring program, where mentors, called navigators, usually sophomores and juniors, help freshmen adjust to the campus and feel welcome. Students must sign up and agree to the program then based upon the needs of the student, workshops will be implemented such as, note-taking tips, study groups and social interaction.

“We want people to know this is available and take advantage of this program,” she said.
Dr. Pratt wants you to speak out if you have problems adjusting to Cleveland State in any way.

“If you feel like you have lost your balance, do not suffer in silence, and find people who share your values.”

In order to be successful, Dr. Pratt said students need to go to class, do the work and become engaged in the classroom. “You don’t fail unless you quit; give yourself permission not to know, ask for help and believe in yourself,” she said.

Dr. Pratt would also like to invite the faculty to come and talk about issues they may have. And she hopes to see a “fan club” develop within departments to allow students to explore different classes and see the responsibilities that go along with each position and bond more with the professors.

She said she enjoys the possibilities, synchronicity and potential the most about her position. “Everything has prepared me to be here, opportunities are growing and there couldn’t have been a better time for it and when growth is happening more possibilities are open.”

Dr. Pratt wants everyone to know that she and her department are there to help. “Let us try to help you so you can help someone else. Our services are not self-serving, not self-oriented, they are selfless,” she said.

Pratt would also like to see the 12th floor of Rhodes Tower become a stop when the campus tours are given to inform students coming in that there are resources to help them. To visit Dr. Pratt and learn more about the department and services available visit her on the 12th floor of Rhodes Tower.