Campus, Toledo community members invited to discuss UT diversity

January 21, 2016 | Events, UToday
By Kathleen Walsh



The University of Toledo has scheduled several sessions to engage students, faculty, staff and community members in conversation about their experiences and perceptions of diversity and inclusiveness at UT.

The discussions are part of UT President Sharon L. Gaber’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equal access to important institutional resources.

“The University needs to be sure all voices are heard, and these sessions are essential to our strategic diversity plan,” Gaber said. “We need to incorporate the feedback we receive into our policies, procedures and initiatives, as well as ensure that UT is an inclusive, welcoming and supportive environment for all stakeholders, from faculty and staff to students and the community we’re grateful to serve.”

McKether

McKether

In November, Gaber appointed Dr. Willie McKether special assistant to the president for diversity with the specific charge to create a comprehensive University diversity plan.

In December, McKether formed a diversity plan advisory committee of faculty, staff and students to provide guidance through the process.

His next step is to solicit input from the community.

In the conversations on diversity sessions McKether will explore with participants their views on how UT currently addresses issues of diversity and their perceptions of being welcomed, valued and included at the University. Topics will include, but not be limited to, student life, campus climate, community involvement, classroom climate and inclusion.

In addition to open discussions, to engage participants, McKether will use Poll Everywhere, an audience response tool for mobile devices. The app is available in both the iPhone and Google app stores and in real time will register anonymous feedback to discussion questions.

UT will additionally launch a confidential university-wide online diversity assessment survey in mid-February. The voluntary survey will gather both feedback and implementation suggestions.

McKether will use the qualitative and quantitative data to identify emergent themes to be included in The University of Toledo diversity plan. The plan will provide an overview of the current climate of diversity and identify areas for improvement and implementation suggestions.

“We want to learn how the UT and Toledo communities feel, as well as how we should go about creating an inclusive environment at The University of Toledo,” McKether said. “These efforts to listen and gather data are critical for understanding where we are now and where we want to go as a university community.”

The final diversity plan is expected to be completed by the end of the academic year.

Student Campus Conversations on Diversity will be held Thursday, Jan. 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Student Union Room 2592 and Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Health Education Building Room 100 on Health Science Campus.

A Faculty Campus Conversation on Diversity will be held Tuesday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Health Education Building Room 103 on Health Science Campus.

A Staff Campus Conversation on Diversity will be held Thursday, Feb. 4, from noon to 2 p.m. in Health Education Building Room 103 on Health Science Campus.

A Community Conversation on Diversity will be held Monday, Feb. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kent Public Library, 3101 Collingwood Blvd.

For more information about these sessions, contact McKether at willie.mckether@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2260.