2023 Outstanding Diversity Champion: Mary Choi Robinson of Rollins College

2023 Outstanding Diversity Champion: Mary Choi Robinson of Rollins College

The Orlando Business Journal's weekly edition of May 12-18 2023 featured a story on the Outstanding Diversity Champion.

Choi Robinson, assistant director of Rollins College's international programs, is also a part-time instructor in the classroom. She advises her students on how to become global citizens and develop intercultural awareness.

Robinson's biggest achievement in the last year was to create and teach a new Asian American Identity course that challenges students' thinking about who they are and why it is important. She said that it was gratifying knowing she had contributed to expanding student worldviews and perspectives.

Robinson has more to say:

How do you communicate diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI) to your employees or other people? I clearly communicate to others my mission of diversity, equity and inclusiveness through my individual actions both in and outside the classroom. My everyday life and my lived experiences show that I am committed to social justice, equity and inclusion.

When did you first notice a lack of diversity in your professional life? In my first professional job, which was more than 20-years ago, I had the only person of colour in my office. I've seen great progress in that time, and appreciate Rollins' efforts to be more inclusive.

What was the impact of this experience on your efforts to lead or create initiatives for Rollins in the end? It inspired me to find others who shared my views on DEI and to create opportunities for myself to promote DEI issues.

What effect has it had on the college The course has changed the perspective of students who have taken it.

What kind of pushback, if you got any, did you receive? I've received a lot of support. Students will question and challenge course content in the classroom. This is part of the process to learn, so it enriches the experience for all.

What is the biggest obstacle to DEI in Florida? The current political climate and headlines in Florida are the greatest hurdles for DEI. Rollins has been diligently working on a strategic plan that emphasizes diversity, equity and inclusion to build upon our strengths.