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Diversity and Inclusion Commission Update, May 2017

Posted on 5/12/2017 10:05:00 AM

The President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion is a sustained initiative of high institutional priority, empowered to survey IUP’s diversity- and inclusion-related accomplishments and needs, and to recommend improvements through the creation of a Diversity Action Plan.

During its inaugural year, the commission has been very active, laying a strong foundation and making significant progress toward the development of the Diversity Action Plan for IUP. The commission’s progress includes:

  • Selecting six focus areas to examine at IUP:

    1. Nurturing an accepting climate with a focus on the university response to acts of intolerance and exclusion

    2. Promoting intergroup communications and coordination

    3. Examining the financial, spatial, and human resources committed to diversity and inclusion

    4. Examining retention and support services for recruitment and retention of our diverse students

    5. Examining retention and support services for recruitment and retention of our diverse faculty and staff

    6. Enhancing and supporting professional development for faculty and staff and promoting diversity awareness

  • Developing a commission subcommittee structure to examine the six focus areas

  • Drafting a subcommittee charge for each of the focus areas

  • Soliciting the participation of the IUP community on the subcommittees

  • Appointing over 60 IUP faculty, staff, and student volunteers to serve on the subcommittees

  • Gathering resources for use by the subcommittees

  • Establishing and regularly updating a commission web page which provides meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and other updates to the IUP community

  • Meeting regularly (spring semester) and hosting representatives from the Office of Social Equity, the LGBT Commission, and the Commission on the Status of Women at IUP and the Women’s and Gender Studies program

  • Utilizing commission meetings to promote awareness of current campus issues, incidents or concern (as reported to the commission)

  • Regularly discussing the progress made by the six subcommittees

During the May 2017 commission meeting, each subcommittee provided a progress report, and forwarded initial recommendations for action that would be included in the proposed Action Plan. These recommendations are being finalized for presentation to President Driscoll, who may share them with university leadership and the Council of Trustees in early August. At that time, the commission will also share these recommendations with the rest of the IUP community.

The fall 2017 semester promises to be a challenging and exciting chapter in the commission’s work. Subcommittees will submit draft recommendations to the commission in mid-October for review, revision, and approval. By November 3, the commission will propose an IUP Diversity Action Plan to President Driscoll. He will review the Action Plan with university leadership and the Council of Trustees, and, once the plan is finalized, its implementation will begin.

The Diversity Action Plan is intended to be a fluid document, since the commission’s work is on-going. The commission will monitor our progress toward the achievement of the goals of the initial Action Plan while also continuing to explore the need for (and recommend) additional initiatives.

At the core of the success of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion are the 17 members of the commission and the 60-plus members of its subcommittees. The talent, time, energy, and passion of each of these individuals have been critical to the commission’s progress. A big “thank you” to each individual serving on the commission or its subcommittees for his or her commitment to improving the IUP experience for every student, faculty, and staff member. Your dedication is extraordinary! Thank you, also, to the members of sister commissions for sharing your valuable experiences and insights, and for continuing the important work of promoting positive change for all at IUP. Finally, another big thank you to all members of the IUP community who forwarded information and made the commission aware of concerns during the 2016–17 academic year. Your voice and your experiences remain critical to the commission’s ability to create an effective Diversity Action Plan for IUP.