DEI Taskforce Update: 11/17/20

Dear OU Community,

Here are a few updates from the DEI Taskforce on various projects we have been working on during the semester.

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 
The search for Oglethorpe’s inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is well under way under the direction of President Ladany. The DEI Taskforce is serving on the search committee for this important position, and the search committee has been working with search firm Isaacson, Miller to narrow down the extensive candidate list.

Taskforce Subcommittees
The Programming and Training Subcommittees have been working throughout the semester on a handful of initiatives, as close to 30 people from the campus community volunteered to serve on these subcommittees. In October, the Programming Subcommittee sponsored a student-only forum on diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom. Students were asked to consider things that were working in the classroom, to provide examples from their experiences in Oglethorpe classrooms that made them feel welcome and included, and to suggest ways improvements could be made. Coming up, the Programming Subcommittee is developing separate faculty-only and staff-only forums to discuss DEI topics, with the forums mirroring the format of the student-only forum in October. Both forums will take place in December. More information to follow. 

While these subcommittees will continue to work on various events and initiatives for campus, the taskforce will start to look at determining internal areas that can be initial focus points for the new VP of DEI. To help with this analysis, the taskforce supported an initiative in October spearheaded by Dr. Carrie Mata, vice president of research and planning, to administer the Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey to all students, faculty, staff, and administrators at Oglethorpe. This nationally-recognized survey, managed by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS), is utilized by many higher education institutions. This data will help the taskforce pinpoint specific areas of needed growth to focus on as we prepare for the arrival of a new VP of DEI.

DEI website
University Communications has launched a new institutional website devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion. The taskforce will continue to post updates on this new website going forward, and we hope the site will be a useful resource for our community and a place where everyone can find details about the DEI work happening on our campus.

In closing, please take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities hosted by the A_LAB during International Education Week this week. And, as we progress through the academic year, we hope that everyone is evaluating the parts of campus where they are involved to ensure we are challenging one another to be more inclusive and accessible. This holds true for all parts of our university operations, academic programs, student organizations, policies, and practices. We need everyone to be thinking about how to improve all facets of our university to become a community that understands and values different lived experiences.

Nescit Cedere.

Oglethorpe DEI Taskforce