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APSU creates Diversity Task Force; opportunities to build diversity in the works

9/12/2011

At Austin Peay State University, diversity in the campus population is a key factor for the University’s success in all areas of campus life.

To ensure that diversity – the inclusion of all races, sexual orientations, ages, gender, cultural heritage and other identities – is embraced on campus, APSU has created the Diversity Task Force. This new committee is a representation of APSU employees and will meet annually to review the University’s diversity plan.

“APSU is very diverse,” said Dr. Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of academic affairs at APSU and chair of the newly formed task force. “APSU has long had a strong Hispanic population, and we have a significant number of military, both active duty and retired, who enroll here.”

Many organizations and offices already help to contribute to APSU’s diversity. This includes the Hispanic Cultural Center and the African American Cultural Center, as well as the Women’s Studies academic program, among others. The Diversity Task Force, however, wants to build a greater awareness of diversity through various programs and courses.

The task force also is considering a number of opportunities to involve diversity as a core component. Some of the proposed ideas are developing a mentoring program for staff and students, establishing funds for the creation of a fellowship to encourage undergraduate and graduate research on diversity topics, and encouraging faculty to incorporate diversity topics in their curriculum.

“Our goal is to assess how we as a university are contributing to diversity,” Johnson said.

All University academic departments and offices will be required to produce an action plan template, which would help them to think about ways to achieve this plan.

“One of the major initiatives that the Diversity Task Force will be charged with overseeing is the completion of an action plan template that all University academic and staff departments will be required to complete,” Johnson said. The template will be distributed via email at a later date.

For more information about the Diversity Task Force, including the names of members and resources on diversity, go online to http://www.apsu.edu/university-wide-diversity-task-force.-- Melony Shemberger