Diversity task forces issue updates

Photo courtesy of Institute Communications

In the fall of 2015, President G.P.  “Bud” Peterson put in motion two efforts to address diversity issues on Tech’s campus. The first was the creation of a Black Student Experience (BSE) Task Force to examine issues facing the black community at Tech, and to suggest solutions to make campus welcoming, inclusive and supportive.

Then, President Peterson hosted a series of “listening sessions” to address inclusivity and gender equity issues with a focus on evaluating biases in employment practices and increasing visibility of achievements by women. The BSE Task Force and the gender equity listening sessions each resulted in 11 initiatives to move towards their goals. President Peterson accepted all 22.

Last week, committees headed by faculty and students representing multiple executive offices at Tech announced the first updates on implementing these policies.

The BSE implementation committee broke down suggestions into four categories: programs, trainings, physical spaces and planning and assessments. Among the most notable achievements are the expansion of OMED’s Challenge program enrollment from 75 to 105, the creation of a reporting system for students and faculty to anonymously submit experiences they have with discrimination and the introduction of diversity education programs to be included in Tech’s orientation process.

The committee also created a series of training programs for general students and Greek members and developed the Multicultural Center. The task force additionally created a series of initiatives to showcase accomplishments by faculty and students.

The gender equity implementation committee identified four areas of focus for improvement: hiring, promotion and tenure; professional and leadership development; leadership appointments; and recognition and increased visibility.

In hiring, promotion and tenure, the committee created programs centered on introspectiveness; implicit bias testing and guidelines for hiring and promotion were offered and created for administrators, respectively.

Additionally, Tech conducted salary equity studies for faculty and staff, created multiple leadership programs for tenured faculty and women staff leaders and, similar to the BSE policies, introduced programs to promote successes by women at Tech and events relating to gender equity.

The committee is also working on developing the same discrimination reporting system as the BSE committee, which will be available as a Tech portal when complete.