New VP position well justified
It is possible to jump to conclusions when we hear the word diversity because our gut tells us “race and gender.” In reality, the definition of diversity is more complex and our new Vice President of Institute Diversity will help Tech strive towards that true definition. After speaking with each of the candidates, I came away enlightened regarding our school’s unique needs. Tech is already a fairly diverse community with students of various ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Yet, I find our community to be lacking the inclusiveness that should accompany such broad diversity. While we have a robust division within Student Affairs, a VPID could bring exciting changes to Tech that will affect every student, faculty and staff member on this campus, regardless of whether or not they belong to a minority population.
Furthermore, this new position allows collaboration and encourages discussion among current students and faculty who have a vested interest in increased diversity and inclusion. How should we define diversity? How can we identify areas of campus in which help is needed? Once identified, how can we go about enhancing those areas?
Some initiatives are apparent when I look around campus—more women in science and engineering disciplines, increased recruitment and retention of minorities, etc. However, with a campus-wide assessment, this VPID could see the areas that are not evident to the blind eye: areas like retention and development for underrepresented faculty to advance a diversity of thought in our classroom, facilities that meet the needs of Jackets who have disabilities—the list goes on and on. This position will be charged with serving the needs of the entire student body, not just racial and gender interests.
Additionally, by having a prominent role on campus, the VPID will be able to facilitate cooperation between those who typically may not work together. If Tech is to be the preeminent leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and in molding well-rounded graduates, we must rise to the challenge and establish a culture that is inclusive in its appreciation for every walk of life.
Our peer institutions are looking to us and now is Tech’s time to lead. I, for one, will be thrilled to see a portion of my tuition pay the salary of someone whose objective is to make my college experience the best and most welcoming that it possibly can be.