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CLAS releases plan for diversity, equity and inclusion

Thursday, September 01, 2016

LAWRENCE – The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas has unveiled a plan that will guide its efforts in transforming its approach to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The plan, “Taking Leadership on Who and What Matters: The Plan to Build a Model Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive College of Liberal Arts & Sciences,” lays out key values around which the College will focus its goals and actions over the next five years.

Jennifer Hamer, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College, developed the plan with significant input from campus groups, College administrators, faculty and staff. In spring 2016, the dean of the College established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Work Group that reviewed policies, practices and processes and developed steps to address them. The group recommended the creation of an associate dean position dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. Members also created a vision statement, mission statement and guiding principles for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College.

“Faculty, staff and students have been clear in their desire to ensure our campus provides opportunity for all to feel welcome and to succeed,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College. “As the largest academic unit at KU, the College bears responsibility to take a leadership role in diversity, equity and inclusion. I am grateful to all those who have contributed to the development of our plan. As a result, we have a clear path forward on how we can make change. I am eager to see the ways this will transform the College.”

The full plan is available on the College’s website.

“Our ultimate goal is that five years from now, as a result of modifying policies and practices, that the College realizes significant change in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented communities, as well as a noticeable change in climate, one in which populations that have felt marginalized feel included and have equitable access to opportunity,” Hamer said. “I look forward to partnering with individuals, departments and campus groups to help make this vision a reality.”

The College’s actions in diversity, equity and inclusion will be centered on the following priorities:

  • Recruitment and retention policies and practices that create and maintain a staff, faculty and student body that is more representative of state, national and world demographic trends;
  • Curriculum that emphasizes equitable and inclusive learning and classroom environments, approaches and content;
  • Academic programs and services that create a holistic approach to equitable and inclusive student success, including services that promote student health and well-being;
  • Professional development and advancement policies and practices for faculty and staff that create an intentionally holistic approach to career trajectories.

The plan includes goals, action steps and a timeline for implementation in each key priority over the next five years.

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, as well as the School of the Arts, School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, and School of Public Affairs & Administration. It is the broadest, most diverse academic unit at KU.