The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted the fifth annual State of Diversity Nov. 16 in Nebraska Union.
Marco Barker, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, began the event with updates on the work of Diversity and Inclusion on campus, and then shared some statistics and numbers regarding diversity within the student body and among faculty and staff.
Barker touched on efforts, including recommendations for incorporating inclusive excellence in faculty evaluations and eliminating inequities; the successes of the Breakthrough Recruitment for Inclusive Diversity Growth and Excellence program, which aids in faculty and staff searches; and work in retention of faculty and staff.
Additionally, Barker shared policies and practices that are being developed, including working with Academic Diversity Officers to develop a Religious Observance Policy, which will be announced in the coming months.
“This will provide guidance and information for departments and units on the different religious observances and practices, and what is considered for accommodating and being respectful of observances,” Barker said.
The program also celebrated “Inclusive Excellence in Action,” with a short film highlighting four endeavors across campus.
Barker ended his remarks with the opportunities and suggested priorities for the future:
- Native American outreach and engagement
- Greater graduate and professional student support, including International Student Transition
- Expand retention efforts for At-Promise Scholars
- Leverage learning communities and extended cohort programs
- Forge partnerships and build more interdisciplinary studies to increase recruitment of a diversity of scholars
- Close gender and racial and ethnic gaps in faculty and staff ranks
He also acknowledged the work of Nkenge Friday, senior assistant vice chancellor for strategic initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Friday will depart Nebraska to begin a new position in January as vice president of inclusive excellence at American University in Washington, D.C.
Barker’s remarks were followed by small-groups discussions among audience members at their tables.
The event ended with a panel discussion, “Inclusive Futurism,” presented by panelists Debra Schrampfer, assistant vice president and chief diversity officer for Workforce Resources; Jasmine Kingsley, chief people and legal officer with Hudl; and Carlos Terrazas, disability inclusion and accessibility professional for McDonald’s Corporation.