Welcome and welcome back from the Office of Diversity and Pluralism!
October 7, 2016
Welcome or welcome back! We are looking forward to academic year 2016-2017 with enthusiasm. The Office of Diversity and Pluralism (ODP) serves as a resource to all faculty, staff, and students who seek to create and sustain an accessible, inclusive, and supportive community in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). We are still catching our breath from all the changes happening across the CANR, and the University. In July, we welcomed Dean Ron Hendrick, and, as you’ll read on page 2, we are already working with him on the proactive approaches to diversity work that are his priority. In August, Phillip Seaborn started as the assistant director for undergraduate diversity. We’ll be working closely with Phillip to make sure that undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff have everything they need for success in CANR. Phillip is profiled on page 8, and we welcome him warmly. The last year has seen a lot of reshuffling of the Office of Diversity and Pluralism. We said a bittersweet goodbye to our Associate Director Celina Wille, who has taken an exciting position at Utah State. Dean Poston also left the CANR this year.
This year our programming will be as robust as ever. You can look forward to our First Tuesday Mixers – an opportunity for graduate students, staff, and faculty to meet and mingle, and hear from speakers on a variety of issues at the intersection of diversity and agriculture and natural resources. Keep an eye out for the Women In STEM conference during ANR week in March, and always look for events hosted by our local MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences chapter throughout the year. Information on becoming a student or professional member of MANRRS is on page 5. While our public programming is ongoing, the office is working behind the scenes on recruitment, outreach, and advocacy to make sure our faculty, staff, and graduate students represent the full range of qualified professionals from every walk of life. I recently initiated a series of meetings with the departments and offices in the college to ask what resources they need for effective outreach and meaningful support of faculty and staff who are people of color, women, LGBT, people with disabilities, veterans, and other groups historically underrepresented in our college.
I’m now working with the dean and an advisory group to determine how best to make these goals a reality. If you want to be a part of this conversation, please do not hesitate to reach out. We hope faculty, staff, and graduate students of all backgrounds will participate in this conversation. We are working with diversity professionals in other colleges to create professional development opportunities that will give everyone in the college the chance to learn how a diverse and inclusive workforce leads to better work environments, more innovation, more effective 21st century education, better science, and (of course) better food. I hope you’ll join us in all of our efforts. Please feel free to reach out any time, or stop by our office in the Dean’s suite 102 Morrill Hall of Agriculture. Best wishes for an exciting new academic year.