By Albert Ivory, Staff Writter
Photo by Mary-Ellen Davis/ The Towerlight
To strengthen the commitment to a mission of prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion, Towson University will engage in a strategic planning process that will lead to a five-year plan for diversity, equity and inclusion covering all constituents.
This plan was approved by the University System of Maryland and will be advanced through policies and practices to promote the recruitment and retention of diverse students, staff and faculty members that reflect local, regional, national and global diversity. The institutional strategies will provide a forum for campus dialogue and action.
In fall 2018 Towson University President Kim Schatzel created a Strategic Planning Task Force, called a More Inclusive TU: The Path to Equity and Diversity, that’s comprised of students, alumni, faculty and staff from the university.
“Our community has worked tirelessly to achieve a more diverse and inclusive campus that supports every Towson University community member to thrive, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or levels of ableness,” Schatzel said.
One of the strategies to contribute to this effort is to join a More Inclusive Focus Group to share thoughts with members of the Task Force. These members were selected by Schatzel to assess specific data, talk with members of the campus community, consider current research on diversity and inclusion on the higher education level and examine the best practices to reach these goals.
Dr. Leah Cox, Vice President of the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity, is the chair of the committee.
“[These focus groups] will help us build a better TU for the future,” Cox said. “We want to hear your voice, we want to hear your thoughts, we want to hear how you feel that we can build the TU that we will all be proud of that will be diverse, inclusive, and equitable.”
Focus groups are broken down by audience and by topic. Specific areas of focus included campus climate, retention, recruitment and education and scholarship.
At the end of the year, the committee will present a comprehensive five-year strategic plan that will include short and long term goals, including ways to promote the President’s Model for Campus Diversity and measures that can be taken to prevent insensitivity and discrimination on campus.
For Lisa Simmons, a lecturer in the College of Business and Economics and task force member, feels these focus groups are important to TU.
“We want people to feel like they are included in the university regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation [or] political affiliation,” Simmons said.