Campus Conversations on Diversity & Inclusion

A message from Vice President for Student Affairs Jennifer Brannon to students, faculty, and staff…

MGA colleagues:

As President Blake shared at his State of the University address, campus conversations on diversity and inclusion are underway this semester.  We will be meeting with students, faculty, and staff on each campus.

We are going to be asking questions, and we are going to listen and learn. In classes and other settings, we hope to learn about diversity, inclusion, and empowerment at MGA from the student perspective. We want to listen to ideas of what our university should look like through this lens. Open campus conversations with students will be hosted on each campus over the next two months as well as visits to classes and student gatherings. Please contact me directly if you would like for me to meet with your students, student group, or class.

Dr. Lisa Burroughs, our Executive Director of Human Resources, and the Working Group on Investment in Faculty and Staff to Drive Long Term Excellence will be conducting a campus climate survey of faculty and staff in March. Focus group discussions with employees, including the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion, will follow the administration of that survey.

Meanwhile, mandatory Title IX training—which supports a culture of gender equity and inclusion—continues across the university. Survey outcomes from the training will also inform our deliberations on diversity. All faculty, staff, and students are required to complete training this year, which is provided by the University System of Georgia online through EverFi (Haven and AlcoholEdu for students, Haven for Faculty and Staff for employees).  Those who completed training in the fall have met the requirement for this academic year and we thank you for participating. Those who have not yet completed training must do so this spring and should visit our Mandatory Campus Safety Training page for details and instructions.

In addition, we will consider professional recommendations on diversity and inclusion from two outside sources: CREDO, higher education consultants who visited MGA in the fall, as well as a team from the USG’s Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) currently developing a recommended framework for diversity, inclusion, and equity at MGA.  ELI recommendations will be ready later this spring.

Dr. Burroughs, Frances Davis (our University Counsel and Title IX Coordinator), and I will review those recommendations and student, faculty, and staff input gathered through conversations and surveys at the end of this semester.  We will then report results along with recommended next steps to Dr. Blake and the Cabinet this summer for implementation in academic year 2016-17.

This is an exciting opportunity to examine who we are and who we want to be. At a time when our student body is growing and changing, together we can be intentional about honoring the varied backgrounds that shape our university community, and bolstering the resources that support diversity and empowerment at MGA. We look forward to working with you on this important effort!