Rachel L. Gildiner 

Objective:  to explore/obtain a position in an Office of Diversty or Multicultural Affairs, or in an external higher education group such as the NAACP, Hillel, or a National Association. 

I am currently exploring a career in diversity and multicultural affairs, or in a consultation capacity with an external higher education organization that is committed to
diversity and inclusion on a national level.  It is my interest and background in sociology, combined with my fascination of the system of higher education, which has led me to pursue this track.  As our society continues to grow in diversity and awareness of multiculturalism, we are still far from equal access, or complete inclusiveness and fairness in the field of higher education.  I am currently exploring positions in both the every-day efforts of a diversity officer on a micro level, as well as a more external position that focuses on national trends and policy issues regarding increasing diversity and inclusiveness on campuses across the country. 


The George Washington University
MA, Higher Education Administration, Expected Summer 2010

Columbia University
BA, Sociology

The Jewish Theological Seminary
BA, Modern Jewish Studies

Employment History________________________________________________

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Washington, D.C.
Senior Associate, Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative (CEI), Current
Associate, Innovation and Implementation, 2007-2008

Columbia University, New York, NY
University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR), Office of Faculty Foundation Relations
Assistant Director, 2006-2007
Development Assistant, 2005

Columbia Business School, New York, NY
Individual Giving and Stewardship Coordinator, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, 2006


Pluralism and Inclusion (Love, et al., 2008)

Personal Philosophy  

I strongly believe that the skills of pluralism, inclusion, and open-mindedness are not only essential to any profession, but also to living in a diverse society.  It is precisely because I feel so strongly about this particular competency that I intend to pursue a career in diversity and multicultural affairs.  In order to serve students, either from a national policy perspective or from daily interactions, I must have an awareness of the existing biases, assumptions, and expectations of mine and of others—students, co-workers, etc.  I do not believe the appropriate way to work with people of different backgrounds is to diminish differences and expect that everyone is coming from the same place, but instead to foster an environment where everyone’s differences and unique perspectives can be leveraged to contribute to the overall functioning and success of the unit.   It is important to celebrate culture and background, as it is part of the holistic individual which influences how one views and acts within society. 

            One role of a diversity officer is to expand the cultural awareness on campus and increase sensitivity to minority communities.   This can be achieved through facilitating inter-group dialogues, providing effective multicultural training to students, staff, and the community, and implementing “culturally relevant” (Love, et al., 2008) and inclusive programs.  On campus or within the professional setting, it is important to be an advocate and ally for minority groups in all aspects of university life, as well as a role model for proper inclusive and culturally sensitive behavior.  While this ongoing behavior is necessary, it is also important to adopt a strategic and sustainable method of fully integrating diversity awareness and sensitivity into departments and across campus.  And to ensure this is happening, there must be a system in place to assess the effectiveness of the institution to address multicultural issues, as well as a way to conduct climate surveys by students and staff. 

Current Self Assessment

Most of my adult life I have been aware of the disparity among minority groups and have seen, even from my own undergraduate experience, the different college experiences that individuals who are part of different cultural groups can have.  My interest in closing these gaps in society has been explored primarily academically up until this point. As an undergraduate I attended a joint program between the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, the most diverse of the Ivy League institutions.  At Columbia I studied sociology with a focus on race, class, and gender stratification, and at the Seminary I served as a Resident Advisor.  It may seem that because I worked in the residence halls of a seminary one would assume my residents were entirely homogenous in terms of their religious backgrounds.  However, the reality is that even on a macro level within one religion, as an RA I counseled students from a variety of backgrounds and sectarian perspectives within Judaism who were having questions about their role in the community. 

Similarly, in my current position I also work with a Jewish organization but I run a project whose mission is to engage students are currently uninvolved and help them find connection to Jewish campus life on their own terms.  We have based our strategy on research about today’s generation of college students.  In this capacity I also meet with a variety of multi-cultural campus professionals to discuss how our project can be a partner to the university in its larger diversity mission. 

I am also well aware that part of being a diversity professional and practicing inclusion will also mean having to confront, tolerate, and even advocate for positions and viewpoints that I personally may not agree with. I know that when opinions are put forth that I may find offensive or incorrect, my professional duty will require me to act appropriately and turn that experience into an open dialogue to bring awareness to the issue. 

Leadership Administration (Love, et al., 2008)
and University Partnership

Personal Philosophy

When working within an organization, specifically in a capacity where you have an institutional mission to bring diversity and inclusion to every aspect of campus life, it is important to understand how to be a good university partner and fully understand the mission of the University leadership and administration.  It appears from a variety of current job descriptions that the Office of Diversity/Inclusion/Multi-cultural Affairs reports directly to the Office of the President.  It’s important to have a greater understanding of your role within that organizational context.

            The ACPA Report on Professional Competencies identifies several categories of the administration with whom it is important to develop competencies.  The most relevant to my specific field would be Resource Management, Technology, Human Resources (including Conflict Management, Team-building, Motivation, Supervision, and Hiring), and Organizational Development (including Planning and Organizing, Cultural Landscape, Political Landscape, Types of Leadership, Change, Goal Setting, and Organizational Improvement) (Love, et al., 2008).  Additionally, Joan Hirt, Associate Professor of higher education administration at Virginia Tech, suggests that “by adapting their narrative to more closely parallel the dominant narratives that faculty and academic administrators use to define their world, student affairs professionals might find faculty more receptive to their ideas and more appreciative of their endeavors” (2007, p.258).  It would be of utmost important to me in this role to speak the same language as other university partners so that our common goals could be best achieved. 

Current Self Assessment

In my undergraduate and previous work experiences, I have learned first-hand and from my supervisors how to be a collaborative university partner while maintaining and protecting the workload of the employees within a particular department.  As an RA, I was part of the Office of Residence Life but had to work closely with the Office of Student Affairs as well as the Jewish Student Life Office, among others.  I conducted many programs with a variety of these other offices, and was always a team player in terms of sharing resources, ideas, and credit. 

Similarly, as a development professional for Columbia University the purpose of our work was to support and collaborate with the many individual development offices within the specific schools of the University.  As one would expect, this can sometimes cause tensions and competition for resources, but as Carpenter and Stimpson suggest “[e]ducators don’t compete, they collaborate…Competition within institutions for resources or influence is cancerous and wrong” (2007, p. 280).  In my present role, I work in a consulting capacity with Universities across the country.  When we visit each campus we meet with university leadership in order to align our goals and language with theirs so we can be a strong partner in their mission. 

Assessment, Evaluation, Research (Love, et al., 2008)

Personal Philosophy
        This competency encompasses many specific tasks as set forth by the ACPA in their 2008 report.  First, the design and implementation of assessment, evaluation and methods on campuses should be based on professional development and training, student learning and satisfaction, organizational issues and satisfaction, and they should be both quantitative and qualitative.   A good professional will be able to facilitate this data collection and through an understanding of statistical reporting, provide analysis and interpret the results.  After judging the current effectiveness and status of our programs, I should then be able to provide suggestions for new techniques to improve.  It will be important to have a comprehensive understanding and familiarity with the current professional literature in the field.   And understanding and strategic use of budgetary and personnel resources to support high quality program evaluation will also be necessary, as will providing training for other university professionals. (Love, et al., 2008)

Assessment is a pivotal element for progress and continued success of any university.  As a diversity professional it will be important to assess both the progress of our broader strategies in increasing the sense and the actual diversity on campus, as well my own personal work and improvement within my department.  According to the Dean of Students at the University of Minnesota, “personnel workers should be engaged in constant evaluation of their efforts” (Williamson, 1961, p. 131).  It will be important for assessment to happen on an individual and larger scale in order for me to be most useful and effective.

Additionally, these measurements and studies would have to be based on genuine interest in assessment and not a cursory attempt in order to appease external stakeholders.  According to Carpenter and Stimpson, “[a]ccountability should not reflect simplistic goals, written for management bureaucrats from outside the profession, using meaningless or even harmful ‘measurements’ or ‘ratings’ that result in increased injustice and inequity on campuses or in a false kind of success based on profit or efficiency…Assessment should be not only ubiquitous, but also meaningful” (2008, p. 281).  When professionals get busy with actually doing the work, there is no doubt that assessment gets pushed to bottom of the priority list. However, when trying to create institutional change, it needs to remain at the forefront. 

Current Self-Assessment
Again, as a sociology major I have a taken a variety of courses on statistical analysis and research methods.  My senior thesis was a quantitative study and I used Stata, an online statistical analysis tool, as my primary research method.   After graduating, I worked briefly on a research project for an academic report, researching the wage discrepancies between male and female clergy members.  Professionally I have gone through the process of creating and measuring personal SMART goals for myself and for my department. 

Technology Skills (Love, et al., 2008)

Personal Philosophy

The college students of today are of the Millennial generation.  They grew up with technology moving at an incredibly rapid pace, and most of their daily routine happens on the internet.  It would only make sense then, to keep up with the demands of the university’s primary constituents, and to capitalize on the efficiency their technology facilitates, that the tools of higher education professionals are now primarily online as well.   From registering for classes, to receiving feedback from professors, the internet is the primary source for college students today.  In this vain, it is essential that employees who work with this population also understand how to fully utilize this tool. 

            According to the ACPA’s 2008 report, a student affairs professional must be able to:  maintain their own level of technical proficiency and knowledge in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their work; identify and meet the technological needs of the team; be able to identify new technological advances appropriate to the nature of work in the unit; and discern the pace in which technological advances should appropriately be incorporated into organizational life, with students, staff, and other constituents (Love, et al., 2008). 

Current Self Assessment 

            I have made great strides professionally by working with a wide variety of online tools, and actually accomplishing a great mastery of these systems.  As an Assistant Director for Prospect Research at Columbia University I used a variety of online databases and search engines to collect data and compile reports to distribute to departments within the university.  Some of these systems included Advance, Access, Factiva, Foundation Directory, Millennium, and InfoEd. 

        In my current position one of my primary responsibilities is to manage our Microsoft Share Point database and provide trainings for campus professionals across the country who use the system.  This year alone I have trained professionals and students from over 50 campuses.  I am also a part of further development of this system to ensure it continues to meet the needs of its users while maintaining a user-friendly interface.  In order to do this I have worked closely with the IT department and by doing so have built a solid and positive partnership with another department.  This experience has instilled in me more technological competence and confidence, and while different universities use different technologies, now I know I can quickly learn any system I need to.  Not only can I learn a new system but I also have the ability to teach others.


Carpenter, S. & Stimpson, M. T. (2007). Professionalism, scholarly practice, and professional development in student affairs. NASPA Journal, 44(2), 265-284.   

Hirt, J. B. (2007). The student affairs profession in the academic marketplace. NASPA Journal, 44(2), 245-264.   

Love, P., Carpenter, S., Haggerty, B., Hoffman, D., Janosik, S., & Klein, S., et al. (2008).  Professional competencies: A report of the ACPA steering committee on

        professional competencies. 

Sandeen, A. & Barr, M. J. (2006). Critical issues for student affairs: Challenges and opportunities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Williamson, E. G. (1961). Student personnel services in colleges and universities. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Samples of Work_______________________________________________________________________________

Time and Money Management Module

Research Paper on Current State of Diversity on Campus

Contact Information__________________________________________________________________________