The University of Alabama President’s Advisory Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) released its comprehensive report, which includes strategies for ongoing coordination and expansion of UA’s efforts.
The “Path Forward” was developed with an eye to the future on issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and higher education, said Christine Taylor, vice president of DEI, associate provost and chair of the advisory committee. It builds on the third goal of the university’s strategic plan to enrich learning and work environments by providing an accepting, inclusive community that attracts and supports a diverse faculty, staff and student body.
“I am proud of the thoughtful work of this committee to actively identify practices that will enhance the UA experience for all students, faculty and staff,” said university President Stuart Bell. “This is personal and critical for me, and it strengthens our campuswide commitment to fostering a culture of inclusivity.”
The committee of faculty, staff and students focused on increasing and retaining underrepresented students, faculty and staff; enhancing the campus community to help them thrive; providing opportunities to develop cultural competencies; and implementing the recommendations.
The committee analyzed institutional data, research and reviews of effective practices to inform the report’s recommendations, Taylor said.
“Many scholars describe this work as dynamic, impacted by shifts in demography, the emergence of new best practices, changes in laws and policies, and increased attention to historically underrepresented and underserved populations,” Taylor said. “The literature is clear that an effective and intentional approach to diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education is integral to institutional excellence, as established by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.”
According to the association, “Making excellence inclusive is a guiding principle for access, student success and high-quality learning. It is designed to help colleges integrate diversity, equity and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations.”
The report addresses many aspects of the UA community and identifies offices to be engaged in implementing the recommendations.
“Ongoing institutional reflection is imperative to ensure that we are doing all that we can to prepare our students for an increasingly diverse and global society,” Taylor said.
The preliminary report was presented to Bell in September, and progress has already been seen on campus.
The university launched enhanced diversity student recruitment efforts with new multicultural visitation and orientation programs this past summer. The university opened its updated and enhanced Intercultural Diversity Center on the second floor of the Ferguson Center in October.
The full report can be viewed on the UA Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website.
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.