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K-State Today

May 10, 2017

Strengthening diversity and inclusion at K-State

Submitted by President Richard Myers and Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason

President Richard Myers and Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason

All of us understand there are many issues to address regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in this country, as well as at Kansas State University. We need to bring renewed focus to our diversity efforts for students, as well as faculty and staff. As was shared in the April 21 letter from President's Cabinet, we have been working on plans to strengthen our diversity team at the university.

This university is committed to improving the diversity of our student body and workforce and supporting the success of all students. We also are committed to creating an inclusive environment where we all can thrive and be engaged as part of the K-State family, regardless of racial and ethnic identities, age, nationality, social and economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, political and ideological perspectives, and physical and mental abilities.

As the president and provost, we have ultimate accountability. We also believe these efforts are most successful when owned by all of us. To continue our progress, members of the President's Cabinet met last week with representatives from constituent groups and others involved in diversity and inclusion efforts at the university. We discussed plans for a new diversity and inclusion structure, and we now need input from all in the university family.

The proposed plan calls for creating two associate vice presidents, one in Human Capital Services and one in Student Life. The Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Human Capital Services would serve as the chief diversity officer, with a focus on faculty and staff and promoting a welcoming and inclusive university climate for all. This person would provide strategic leadership for diversity and inclusion initiatives for faculty and staff across all campuses, while coordinating student issues with the proposed Associate Vice President in Student Life. The AVP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion would lead university strategic planning in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as efforts to measure and track progress in improving our university climate. This position would report both to the president and the VP for Human Capital Services and serve as a member of the President's Cabinet. The Office of Institutional Equity, as well as Employee Relations and Engagement, would report to this AVP.

The Associate Vice President for Student Life/Director of Multicultural Student Affairs, with a focus on student diversity and success, would be the senior leader for university strategies designed to increase the recruitment, enrollment, support, retention and graduation of multicultural students designated as historically under-represented at Kansas State University. This AVP, along with the Vice President for Student Life, would take the lead in the multicultural center initiative, building on the work of the multicultural center planning group. As a university advocate for diversity and inclusion, this AVP also would champion an inclusive culture where all students can thrive. This position would serve on the executive council for the Division of Student Life and be a member of the President's Advisory Council.

The current Office of Diversity would be renamed the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and moved to Student Life, reporting to the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Director of Multicultural Student Affairs, effective this fall. The two associate vice presidents would co-chair the President’s Commission on Multicultural Affairs, and work closely with the university’s network of diversity point people.

We invite and need your feedback. The draft organizational structure and position descriptions are available for review on the president's website. Please send your comments by May 30 to president@k-state.edu. We have made progress because of so many of you, but there is still much work to do. Thank you for your time and efforts. 

Richard B. Myers                  April Mason
President                             Provost and Senior Vice President


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