Thursday, September 22, 2011

Diversity Task Force Prepares Action Plan

From UC News:

Diversity Task Force Prepares Action Plan

Implementation of a five-year diversity plan for the University of Cincinnati has begun.

Date: 9/20/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: Greg Hand
Phone: (513) 556-1822

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati has a new five-year Diversity Plan. Work has already begun to implement the plan’s recommendations.
Louis D. Bilionis
Louis D. Bilionis

Mitchel D. Livingston
Mitchel D. Livingston

“A task force of the President’s Diversity Council completed the five-year Diversity Plan and presented the final document to University of Cincinnati President Gregory H. Williams, according to Council Chair Louis Bilionis.  The plan was reviewed by the university’s various governance organizations over the past year.
Members of the Diversity Plan Subcommittee and all others who have worked diligently to create this plan are commended for their work,” said Chief Diversity Officer Mitchel D. Livingston. “It is a milestone achievement. We have already begun implementation efforts”
The plan identifies five broad goals to improve the culture of diversity and inclusion at the University of Cincinnati:
  • attract, retain and graduate academically prepared students who reflect a wide range of diversity,
  • attract, retain, and promote an increased number of historically underrepresented and other diverse faculty in tenure and clinical track positions, including faculty at advanced ranks,
  • recruit, retain, and promote historically underrepresented staff at professional, mid-level, and senior leadership positions,
  • create and support learning and work environment that reflects the University’s mission which includes a commitment to excellence and diversity,
  • increase supplier diversity and strengthen its community partnerships with particular focus on the inclusion of historically underrepresented and other diverse constituents for the benefit of both the community and the University,
  • develop and implement a comprehensive, integrated, university-wide system of accountability and assessment that will evaluate and quantify institutional performance against these diversity goals at all levels.
The subcommittee who drafted the Diversity Plan included Terry Kershaw, chair of Africana Studies in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences; Debra Merchant, associate vice president for Student Affairs & Services; and Barb Rinto, director of the UC Women’s Center.
Although the Diversity Plan provides a comprehensive blueprint for achieving greater diversity throughout the university, it recommends five measurable priorities or immediate action steps for the current fiscal year. These first-year action steps are:
  • Improve the diversity of the applicant pool of qualified incoming students,
  • Improve the hiring of under-represented faculty and staff,
  • Increase diversity among suppliers providing goods and services to the university,
  • Take substantial steps toward measuring the university work environment and our commitment to excellence and diversity,
  • Take substantial steps to develop and implement a comprehensive, integrated, university-wide system of accountability and assessment on achieving diversity goals.
In order to begin measuring progress immediately, managers throughout the university will be directed to collect information about diversity initiatives in their units. Vice presidents will compile an inventory of these initiatives. President Williams has added baseline data for tracking diversity efforts to the annual Report Card he presents to the Board of Trustees. Implementation efforts will be tracked by the President’s Diversity Council through a variety of metrics.
Work toward the development of this plan began five years ago when the President’s Diversity Task Force, co-chaired by former president Nancy Zimpher and UC alumna Marian Spencer, was established in 2006.  College of Law Dean Louis Bilionis chaired the Steering Committee and led that group to assess UC’s progress toward diversity.
“The task force’s work resulted in a strategy and action plan for promoting diversity that integrates ongoing efforts and existing institutional structure to encourage a campus environment that embraces diversity and inclusion as a core value,” Bilionis said.
One of the recommendations from the task force plan was the establishment of the President’s Diversity Council in 2007.  Cynthia Berryman-Fink served as the first chair of this body until her retirement.  In 2009, Bilionis was named chair.
“The Council, under these leaders, has seen many of the recommendations from the original report implemented,” Livingston said. “Last year, a subcommittee of the President’s Diversity Council was commissioned to develop a five year University Diversity Plan. Their work has been completed, and we now have a plan that will guide our efforts for the next five years.“

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