Several initiatives dedicated to furthering Oglethorpe University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion have been announced in recent weeks.
In a message to the Oglethorpe community in early July, President Nicholas Ladany announced the formation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) task force, whose primary charge is to examine areas for growth and determine action steps for the future. The task force, created to represent community stakeholders, includes members that represent students, faculty, and staff.
Members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force include Professor of Politics and Task Force Chairperson Dr. Kendra King Momon, Registrar and Assistant Provost Brian Coldren, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Janelle Pham, Student Government Association President Taylor Roberts ’21, Chief Information Officer Tanya Thompson, Lecturer of Core Studies Dr. Matthew Wild, and Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Katharine Zakos.
Every decision on our campus must be made with a critical lens that seeks to promote representation and justice. – President Nicholas Ladany
The task force will work closely with President Ladany to fill a new role: Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. According to an August announcement from President Ladany, the Vice President will be tasked with “recruitment and retention, campus climate, and community relations,” will report directly to the president, and will sit on the Cabinet. The position is expected to be filled within the next three to six months.
Recently, the DEI Task Force also announced the creation of two subcommittees: programming and training. Other subcommittees are expected to form as the task force continues to evaluate how Oglethorpe can improve with regards to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The training subcommittee will work closely with Campus Life to audit current training resources for the upcoming semester and work to bring continuous diversity education to the Oglethorpe Community.
The programming subcommittee will help to plan and coordinate the Friday Forums that have been held since early June. These forums serve as an important resource for fostering honest, open and continuous dialogue for all members of the Oglethorpe community. Any interested faculty, staff, or students who want to serve on either of these two immediate subcommittees are encouraged to submit the DEI Taskforce Subcommittee Interest Form.
“We are actively exploring opportunities to make our campus calendar more inclusive and civically focused, as well as investigating the use of explicit language, measures, and best practices around DEI in all Oglethorpe position announcements and employee assessment mechanisms,” said the Task Force in a statement earlier this month.
The DEI Task Force will also begin sending out monthly updates to the Oglethorpe community detailing next steps, initiatives and partnerships.