March 4, 2016
Putting a face to a name: Travis Gill
Meet Travis Gill, Kansas State University's director of institutional equity and compliance, and institutional Title IX coordinator. He's in charge of maintaining and implementing policies to ensure K-State has an inclusive environment for all.
Growing up in a small town in southeast Texas near the border with Louisiana, Gill said he witnessed discrimination and injustice growing up. At a young age he decided he wanted to become a lawyer to help fight these injustices.
He did exactly that. After earning his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Gill worked for a large law firm representing companies with discrimination suits. Later, Gill took his corporate experience and made a switch to higher education as director of investigations and outreach, institutional Title VI coordinator, and deputy Title IX coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity at the University of Texas, Austin. He arrived at K-State to serve in his current position in May 2015.
Learn more about Gill and how he and his team provide leadership and support on matters relating to equity, diversity, respect, professionalism and inclusiveness for all members of the K-State community in the following Q-and-A:
What are some of the big changes you hope to or have implemented since you started in this position and how will this affect K-Staters?
Currently, we are working on several new initiatives to engage the campus community to strategically partner with HCS and university administration to address concerns of bias and hate on campus and to further diversify our staff and faculty with a focus on having an inclusive environment for all individuals.
We are constantly assessing where we are as a university and where we need to be compared to our national peers. A goal we have as an office is to be responsive and provide the resources and care everyone on our campus needs or deserves. We know that's our purpose and the reason we are here.
Formerly the Office of Affirmative Action, the new Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE, is here to make sure we go beyond what is expected and provide a high-level care to everyone who is in need, and to reach out to populations at K-State who feel that they have not had a voice.
I created a Title IX task force to start identifying the perceived or real gaps in university processes. The team is moving forward rapidly to ensure federal compliance and to provide high-level training to the campus community.
We do not want people to come to us to just file a complaint. We want people to view us as a partner to address concerns of discrimination, violence or sexual violence. We connect resources to persons who are in need.
What are your goals for improving employment at K-State?
First, we want to make sure we are attracting diverse talent. Diversity brings the best to the table. We are reaching out to feeder organizations that may not have been interested in the university in the past so we can attract top talent. We are actively reaching out to a number of diverse sources for top talent.
OIE is also working on affirmative action plans and partnering with our campus diversity point persons and HCS liaisons to ensure we are all working together on this critically important endeavor.
How will what you are doing help K-State employees?
We are here as a resource for people who need help.
We are trying to change ideas and mindsets and be an agent for change, inclusiveness and diversity. We want K-State employees to have a positive experience. Our job is to give a voice to those people who are experiencing discrimination, violence or retaliation, and then fix the problems so they won't persist. We work with our campus partners to come up with a strategy to address existing and perceived problems, act quickly and implement that plan with the hope that such efforts will help retain and encourage our faculty, staff and students.
What keeps you up at night?
I am thinker and my brain doesn't stop brainstorming about new ideas for advancing diversity at K-State. I am constantly in work mode, thinking about what can we do better.
What is one of your favorite things at K-State?
The K-State Recreation Complex.
Learn more about the K-State Office of Institutional Equity by visiting http://www.k-state.edu/oie/.