Diversity Initiatives Continue, Expand on Campus

Monday, October 29, 2007

In a message to the University community last week, Valerie Dudley, Ph.D., director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, provided a review and an update on diversity-focused events and initiatives for students, faculty and staff.

"The administration believes it is important to continue the conversation about diversity on campus and to keep everyone informed," Dudley said.  "Saint Joseph's mission and our message are clear: we value and are committed to vigorously promoting diversity on our campus.  Each of us is enriched as we collectively build a welcoming multicultural campus environment."

Among the activities she outlined were a series of open forums that began last spring where students, faculty and staff came together to discuss diversity issues and ways to implement inclusiveness in the classroom.  Lunchtime discussions on how to talk about diversity issues in the classroom are continuing this semester, with the next session scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 29.

Over the summer, the office of Public Safety and Security participated in diversity training sessions led by Dudley, and Resident Assistants engaged in staff training, led by Todd Krug, Ph.D., director of Living Learning, that drew upon the real-life narratives of minority students at Saint Joseph's drawn from the Multi-Cultural Action Proposal.  The Living Learning program also launched the Intercultural Experience Hall, which is designed to enhance exposure and awareness of diversity for the 40 students that are participating.

Dudley also noted the award of seven faculty diversity grants by SJU's Diversity Commission to support the creation of diversity-based courses or infuse diversity materials into existing courses. The following faculty received diversity grants:

Althier Lazar, Ph.D., Education       

Robin Vann Lynch, Ph.D., Education

Katie Oxx, Ph.D., Theology

Jason Mezey, Ph.D., English

Brent Smith, Ph.D., Marketing

John Lord, Ph.D., Marketing

John Newhouse, Ph.D., Health Services

"The response from faculty has been gratifying," she said.  "The Commission received a tremendous number of applications – all of them outstanding proposals ­­– and we're looking forward to receiving proposals in the spring semester."

Other initiatives include increased outreach by the Office of Human Resources to enhance minority representation in applicant pools for faculty positions and this year's Diversity Lecture Series, continuing Nov. 7 with a talk by veteran broadcast journalist Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and the Office of Planning are currently developing a Diversity Strategic Plan and will unveil it later in the fall semester.

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