Diversity Commission Meeting Minutes
Present: Loretta DeLone, Ricardo Muggli, Jessica Flatequal, Kelly Meier,
John Seymour, Julie Snow, Michelle Washington Carter,
Betty Young, Co-Chair; Henry Morris, Co-Chair; Linda Duckett,
Co-Chair; Michael Fagin, Tom Gjersvig, Calvin Moultrie, Hanh Huy Phan.
Meeting called to order in WA 303.
Motion to accept minutes for 2.13.07 as amended, seconded, motion carried.
I General Education Diversity Report, Discussion/ Response
- It is clear the General Education Diversity Committee has done a lot of work
- Our Concerns:
- Broadened diversity in a way that all classes might fall under the diversity umbrella. Students need whole experiences to learn about a lot of different kinds of people, not just about majority culture in the guise of a diversity class.
- Unsure about how this particular policy will be carried out, we thought this process should start in IFO to make diversity more direct and specific since the concern is that we are too broad.
- This new proposal might reinforce the existing concerns rather than improve them. Students will still be able to choose from a wide range of courses and diversity and in-fighting is feared.
- Our goal in revising general education is to specify which courses will give students more diversity experiences, knowledge, and understanding.
- We need to take courses out of our own culture. We need to have a focus and limit choices.
- The experiential component is strong but difficult to apply and it is taxing on certain parts of our campus organization (potential flood to some offices?).
- Certain campus and community organizations that work with diversity would do the brunt of work in the experiential area. We are interested in the spirit of wanting to be inclusive, not just cultural classes for color and culture. Maybe the General Education Diversity Committee didn’t have sufficient time to work in all of the details, as the definition has changed?
- Possible Action: Ask for more intense orientation, or another presentation.
- Possible Action: Follow-up with what the university (through the Diversity Commission) has included in areas of diversity and ask for a description of how these changes reflect each area.
- We do not want diversity to be a synonym for variety (we know this wasn’t the original intent). We need a second conversation to keep the dialogue going and form a way to make a more concrete suggestion together, to talk directly.
- What drove the policy change? Is the climate study driving the decision?
- Diversity requirement: One course that everyone takes or faculty believes strongly that there are crosses listed across the board. We can’t really infuse diversity into the university in that way.
- Question: What did students feel like they were lacking? Would they rather see one course that is required?
Answer: They were dissatisfied that courses were marked “diversity” that did not seem to exemplify diversity.
- Question: What about student evaluations? Is there funding tied to the development of these courses and were the faculty trained?
Answer: Many people didn’t follow through on the training, but the courses were accepted.
- Question: What about the assessment of the program that was in place—was there adequate assessment?
Answer: Some folks have put a lot of work into this, and there
has been a conscientious review—how do we keep everyone
engaged? Talk about assessment, and how does the next
outcome reflect the university goals for diversity?
- Question: How will we know that anything has improved? Ron Nickerson said there currently is no formal assessment for courses bearing diversity labels; every year more can get the diversity label.
- Why would we make all courses re-apply if some things are going well in some areas? Departments could re-apply to have courses continue as diversity courses.
- Where would these courses be housed, and who would teach the courses?
- Could we get faculty “buy-in” to put diversity in all of their courses? It is difficult to mandate that at a public institution.
- Would any of these groups necessarily have a diverse person helping make the decision for designation? Ron said sub-group on the general education curriculum committee is to serve as the clearing house.
- We hope at the end of the day this is a step forward. Perhaps with the change to review all courses carefully we bring the dialogue about diversity in the curriculum to all members of our academic community.
In the next few days, please e-mail suggestions to Betty and Henry with questions for the next meeting.
II Sub-Groups, Goals and Expectations Report
All groups have been meeting, WORK group, and different perceptions on what we could do to move ahead with our goals.
Things that should be centralized to move us forward and have offices do the things that they know well.
- Professional chairs for search committees to help push this forward?
- Create a series of questions and ask for data to discover what kinds of things can we do to get different?
- Many institutional procedures seem to keep us from getting diverse; can we use diversity as a market condition? MSU has lost diverse candidates because we can’t consider diversity as a market condition.
- Can we pay those candidates more to get them here, thus enabling more diversity?
- Is there a way for this group to ask Minnesota State those questions directly? Their response was similar to what we have heard here. University of Minnesota just hired an African American woman, who brought her five-person staff with her, and that hire was costly; they made this happen. We had a number of hires of underrepresented faculty some years back, but some have left.
- How do we spend large amounts of money on upper administrative searches to hire a local candidate?
- Who makes the money available—HR, the divisions? There has to be commitment, there doesn’t have to be money since dollars can be re-allocated, to choose how we use existing money. Money can be found centrally for initiatives. At one time in some departments, if a diverse candidate was hired, the department got to hire two candidates—divisional commitment by a Vice President.
- We ARE coming up with diverse pools, we have a lot of diverse candidates, but we are missing a number of opportunities. We had an outstanding person of color as a finalist whom we discarded, and that person was hired by another institution. If we can attract diverse candidates, we should give them careful consideration for hire. HR has the philosophy that it is the responsibility of the hiring official to hire the “most qualified” candidate; if a diverse candidate is qualified, why can’t that person be hired?
- Recommendation—get away from the language for “meritorious” hires. Once candidates are on campus, they are qualified, and we need to determine if they can do the job; if they can do the job, they need to be hired. Don’t get into the discussion of who is “most qualified.” If there is a goal, the best hire is the one that meets the goal.
We need to change language, perception, and the reality so that we always hire a “qualified” candidate. We have to help hiring people know this.
Kevin Buisman and Mike Fagin discussed:
- scholarship dollars for students we actively recruit
- scholarships continue if a student is meeting all expectations and in-state fees.
Mike Fagin talked about the goals from his perspective.
- In three years we should have the student diversity population equal the state diversity population (11%). We are currently at 7% and need to increase by 3-4% as a base. The President talks about doubling those numbers, bringing them to 16 or 17%.
- There is a concern that students are here for four years.
Are we helping students to complete their studies in four years?
Is there recruitment outside of athletics for under-represented students?
Mike and Kevin talked about how they recruit students on a “full-ride” and we will get what they currently are doing.
- We need to keep in mind the existing graduate programs, as well as the new doctoral programs.
How do we recruit and retain students at the graduate level? This can support and dovetail with undergraduate students and programs also.
- Request through Strategic Priority Initiatives for three “culturally sensitive” graduate assistants.
More diversity now in the immediate area, so diverse hires for classified could increase.
Students need to participate at least one hour, one day a week, in organizations. Students are working, and it is difficult to get them to participate in organizations—this would help with retention.
Meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.
Co-chairs of CSW and Diversity Commission will meet with the President on March 8, 2007.