August 27, 2018
A letter from Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Bryan Samuel
It is my distinct pleasure to write to you as the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer for our campus. Since 1988, as a student, staff, instructor and/or community member, I've been intricately involved in the diversity and inclusion continuum in higher education. As a member of numerous underserved populations, my experiences, personally and professionally, will enable me to engage and credibly communicate with and for all members of our campus community.
Over the past five months, I have actively engaged many of our faculty, staff and students in a listening tour. Among the numerous discoveries from the listening tour, I've learned that K-State has much to be proud of in the realm of diversity and inclusion. Equally noticeable, there is still much work to be done. The listening tour has produced several priorities for me which I would like to take just a brief moment to highlight in this letter.
Students, faculty and staff alike have ardently expressed the importance of continuing our march — KSUnite — our campus' signature engagement opportunity centering on diversity and inclusion. I invite you to save the date for the second KSUnite event, which will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 9 (more information to follow). Although KSUnite began as a response to critical issues on our campus, continuance of this initiative will move our campus proactively along the diversity continuum as we annually recommit to our land-grant mission — "full education privileges for all" — and showcase the various successes and accomplishments of our work.
I recognize that an earlier notification of the date for KSUnite could have assisted faculty, staff and students in their planning. However, I ask your patience and continued support of this initiative as both I and Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president, are in the process of completing our transitions to the K-State campus.
Nearly every colleague and constituent with whom I've met, has identified recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff as a primary concern for our campus. While this concern is certainly valid, it is in all likelihood more accurately characterized as symptoms of larger challenges — e.g., closing revolving doors by solving problems and advancing the campus' intercultural understanding. Working with the President's Cabinet, the President's Commission on Multicultural Affairs, or PCMA, the Deans Council, Human Capital Services, Faculty Senate, University Support Staff Senate, Student Governing Association and other campus entities, we will be just as diligent in proactively identifying emerging issues in order to improve the overall campus climate and facilitate sustainable change and growth. The PCMA, for example, has begun reviewing best practices in diversity and inclusion as well as the various stages of multicultural organizational development. These tools will be utilized to inform our level of awareness and guide the PCMA in developing a strategic diversity plan that is closely aligned with both the revised K-State 2025 and the new Strategic Enrollment Management plan.
The diversity plan will address any organizational or external barriers to diversity and inclusion and enhance our campus environment wherein students and employees continue to meaningfully engage, see themselves credibly and fully participate in opportunities for ownership in campus life.
In partnership with Student Life colleagues, I will work on the realization of a multicultural center. As envisioned, our multicultural center will be a living laboratory for student engagement that supports our values of inclusion and provide all students opportunity to engage in experiential learning through the planning and realization of diversity and inclusion programs and events that prepare students for global citizenry.
Campus Climate Survey
Faculty and staff have requested feedback on the action items and recommendations from the 2014 Campus Climate Survey conducted by Rankin and Associates Consulting. In partnership with Human Capital Services, I will work to catalog efforts to address concerns identified in the survey and any results from those efforts. These data will then be used to formulate a forward direction for a new Campus Climate Survey slated for spring 2019.
Additionally, colleagues across the campus have indicated a desire to move K-State toward a goal of being among the nation's best institutions for meeting the physical, social and academic needs for students, faculty and staff with disabilities (learning and physical). To this end, I will work with colleagues to assess our campus and make strategic accessibility recommendations. Our goal is to be recognized as a top disability-friendly university.
These priorities are atop the list of engagement opportunities with the CDIO. It is my sincerest hope that our campus will holistically embrace each initiative listed above as Institutional priorities. Further, I kindly request that all members of our community actively engage in these endeavors as needed and/or requested.
I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as K-State's CDIO and I look forward to working with you.
Bryan Samuel, CCDP/AP
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer