Jenkins details University’s new initiatives relating to diversity
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, May 3, 2017
University President Fr. John Jenkins announced new initiatives the University has implemented as a result of findings from the President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion early Wednesday morning via an email to the student body. Jenkins said these programs were “positive steps” toward improving diversity on the University’s campus
These initiatives addressed three major groups, Jenkins said in the email — faculty, students and staff.
In regards to faculty, new initiatives included a diversity and inclusion panel on the Office of the Provost’s website, diversity workshops, continued participation in the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, work with the National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development and new inclusion plans, Jenkins said in the email.
“Each college/school has now completed a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan, focusing on five areas: making the case for diversity; resourcing the recruitment effort; hardwiring the faculty search process; strategies for retaining and developing faculty; and improving climate,” Jenkins said.
In terms of student life, Student Affairs staff are participating in multicultural competencies workshops, new pieces of art celebrating the University’s “commitment to diversity” have been selected to be showcased in the Duncan Student Center and the Office of Student Enrichment has helped underprivileged students, according to the email.
“With the goal of creating a more inclusive environment, the Office recently launched the Fighting Irish Scholars Pilot Program to facilitate peer mentoring between upperclassmen and first-year students, as well as providing financial resources and programming,” Jenkins said in the email. “Instructors in the Moreau First-Year Experience course were given training to enhance the cultural competency component of the course taken by all first-year students.”
In the email, Jenkins said staff hirings and promotions had become more diverse, and the University had implemented a new system for tracking its commitment to affirmative action where “senior management … [tracks] gaps in hiring versus market availability across the University.”
Widespread participation in “Walk the Walk Week,” and the events surrounding the celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. highlighted the University’s commitment to diversity, Jenkins said in the email.
“Notre Dame’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration … has become one of the most widely-attended MLK Day commemorations among universities nationally, with over 4,000 students, faculty and staff in attendance this year,” he said.
Jenkins said a commitment to diversity was key in maintaining Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, and he hoped these initiatives would spark new conversations on diversity and inclusion, according to the email.
“We cannot be afraid to talk openly, in ways that are both honest and respectful, about the opportunities and challenges, hopes and anxieties, before us,” he said in the email. “Yet, whatever challenges there are, they should lead us to recommit ourselves to building a community of respect, love and mutual support that will reflect the spirit of Notre Dame.”