Diversity office director Artie Jamison shares her personal philosophy, why she wants to give back

The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs director details why she chose to work in Student Affairs and her thoughts on diversity

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Diversity office director Artie Jamison shares her personal philosophy, why she wants to give back

Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Artie Jamison. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Artie Jamison. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Artie Jamison. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Artie Jamison. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Hope Dean, Features Editor

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Artie Jamison is a woman on the go.

“She’ll be home, and she’ll have to take her sons to go play ball, and then she’ll drive back here, speak at some program that’s at 7, go back home to feed her children and come back to a program that’s at 10,” laughed Peggy Joseph, associate director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “She’s always available, always there to support the students.”

“It’s a really amazing office, and the fact that she’s the director of such a great group of people I think says a lot about her,” said programming intern Gabby Washington.

Jamison was promoted from associate director to her current position of director in 2016 and is what Joseph calls a “big-picture visionary” — dedicated to her job and constantly ready for action.

The director said, “[I saw] the role that others played in my life as student affairs professionals, and wanted to give back to do that for other students.”

Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Jamison received her undergraduate degree in biology and minored in chemistry and psychology at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. There, she acted as a hall director, orientation leader, and governor’s ambassador, as well as a tutor for student athletes. She would later receive her master’s at Southern Illinois University.

Despite being born and raised in Alabama where she said people typically go to state or local colleges, Jamison always wished to “venture out a little bit.”

“I went to Tennessee to go to school, which was like, ‘Oh, wow, you’re going out of state.’ I always wanted to do things that were different,” she said.

Growing up, Jamison said her family had an enormous impact on her mindset. This was especially true of her grandmother, who raised 10 children by herself and went out of her way to make sure that even her grandchildren had what they needed and most of what they wanted.

“Just being the strong woman that she was, working, supporting the kids … I think she was probably one of the biggest influences in my life in terms of teaching me work ethic and teaching me that the sky is the limit if you don’t give up,” she said.

She added that she still holds close that teaching today, especially in the face of worsening race relations.

“I think right now it’s a challenge … But I do believe that for every person who is emboldened by what they feel is the opportunity to say harsh words and do mean things, there are people on the other side that are emboldened to speak up for those who don’t have a voice,” she said. “While I feel saddened by the turn of events, I also feel very hopeful, because … There are lots of people who are fighting the good fight and trying to get us back together as a country and as a nation.”

Diversity is important to Jamison, especially given her position at the university. She said that she believes the university is taking the right steps as far as “embracing, celebrating, and appreciating diversity.”

Almost half (48 percent) of FAU’s students belong to a minority group or are international students, making the university the most racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse college in Florida, according to the FAU Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis 2016-17 Quick Facts.

President John Kelly consistently aims to increase diversity at FAU, and Jamison believes that this plan is vital for several reasons. She said that it infuses down the chain of command from the highest level of the institution, affecting every person at FAU. On top of this, we live in a global society, Jamison noted, and it’s important to learn to interact with other people that don’t necessarily look or act like you.

“I don’t know that we always fully take advantage of the diversity that’s here. I want to encourage our students to get to know somebody different, to learn, to go into a different space…You learn so much more when you open yourself to the opportunities that the universe offers — not to stay in your shell, not to stay to your own,” Jamison said. “Take it all in. Really just immerse yourself in the cultures, in the diversity, in the opportunities to learn from other people, so that when you leave this space, you can share that with somebody else.

Jamison added that she lives her life by the African-American proverb that originated during slavery when Africans were refused education.

“‘Each one teach one’ is my philosophy.”

Hope Dean is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].