University puts focus on staff diversity

The University will develop a program to promote departmental diversity following recommendations released last week by the Council on Diversity and Inclusion.

University President Steven Knapp outlined five initiatives to be implemented this year that include a model to monitor ongoing diversity efforts, a revamped web presence for the council, partnerships with minority members of the campus business community and additional diversity training for staff.

“With the council’s help, we will move forward on numerous fronts in our ongoing effort to ensure that all members of the George Washington community are recognized, respected and supported,” Knapp said.

The efforts are part of a major push to increase campus diversity while boosting support for existing minority groups.

The University created the council, along with Terri Harris Reed’s position of vice provost for diversity and inclusion, last spring.

“Our campus has embraced an ambitious agenda to move us forward in advancing our goals related to becoming a more diverse and inclusive community,” Reed said.

The 16-member committee, led by Helen Cannaday Saulny, associate vice president and dean of freshmen, and Gregory Squires, professor of sociology and public policy and public administration, includes students, staff and faculty. The group first met last spring and used focus groups, surveys and two public forums to assess existing diversity efforts on campus.

University spokeswoman Courtney Bowe declined to give a specific timeline for initiatives, but Reed said progress is already underway.

“We’ve already started reaching out to the various individuals who will design, implement, or be impacted by these initiatives,” Reed said.

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