Diversity updates: Advisory council appointed, invitation issued to participate in work groups, Deliberative Dialogues summary report online

Diversity updates: Advisory council appointed, invitation issued to participate in work groups, Deliberative Dialogues summary report online

Diversity at the University of St. Thomas is taking a new form. We are about the business of taking appropriate steps to keep diversity “front and center” and visible to our stakeholders. In other words, diversity at UST is about action, not rhetoric! Since my appointment as executive director of institutional diversity, I have been very clear about the intentionality of expanding, enhancing and rethinking diversity-related initiatives using data-driven information as well as previous institutional studies/reports, focus groups and other indicators to help shape new directions.

University Diversity Advisory Council: In a deliberate effort to be inclusive, I am pleased to announce the appointment of 16 university employees and students to the University Diversity Advisory Council (UDAC), including myself. The following members were nominated and forwarded, along with several others, by appropriate university officers, committees, and/or organizations, to the Office of Institutional Diversity and appointed to the council by the university president. Members include:

UDAC Membership


President’s appointment

Executive director of institutional diversity, chair


Dr. Lawrence Potter

Associate VP for human resources


Edna Comedy, SPHR

AA & EEO Officer


Dr. Nancy Zingale

Director, Multicultural Student Services


Denise Dieffenbach

Associate VP for academic affairs


Dr. Joseph Kreitzer


2-Year Term /1


Dr. David Welch


2-Year Term/2


Dr. Seehwa Cho

Dr. Kerry Frank

Staff representative

2-Year Term/1


Sarah Spencer

Undergraduate students

1-Year Term/2


Tim Mullee

Emily Kessel

Graduate student

1-Year Term/1


Sopanha Te

Alumni representative

2-Year Term/1


John Huber ’77

Community partner

1-Year Term/1


John Hershey

Enrollment Services

1-Year Term/1


Joe Herrera


1-Year Term/1


Susan Spray

The purpose of the University Diversity Advisory Council is to study, formulate and recommend to the executive director of institutional diversity:

  • Policies and procedures as they relate St. Thomas’ mission for diversity planning, evaluation and accountability
  • Diversity training and education
  • Assessment of institutional climate
  • Similar matters of access and equity that affect the university.

The council, in collaboration with other units, will address issues of diversity and equity as they relate to the:

  • Recruitment, retention and advancement of faculty, staff  and students – particularly those from historically underrepresented groups and international populations
  • Academic and student life policies and support
  • Outreach, curriculum, research, scholarship, and creative activity.

For your information, this council has met twice already (Dec. 9, 2005 , and Jan. 9, 2006) to begin planning for work that lies ahead. Please join me in welcoming these members to the University Diversity Advisory Council.

Diversity work groups: There is much work to be done at St. Thomas in the area of diversity. Therefore, I invite all interested faculty, staff, students and alumni to participate in organized diversity work-groups designed to give interested university stakeholders an opportunity to help shape institutional diversity-related initiatives.

These groups meet under the sponsorship of UDAC to deal with diversity-related tasks and/or issues specific to the core focus of revising the originally proposed Five-Year Diversity Plan. The Diversity Work Groups (DWGs) will study, formulate and recommend to the executive director of institutional diversity strategies to change, enhance, develop and execute diversity initiatives related to St. Thomas. In addition, DWGs will operate as sub-teams to UDAC; and, provide information, assistance and suggestions to UDAC. DWGs will abide by the rules, principles, and operations governing UDAC as described in the approved by-laws. There will be six DWGs:

  • Institutional climate and inclusion
  • Recruitment, retention and continuous improvement
  • Curriculum infusion and transformation
  • Diversity programs, training and education
  • Diversity assessment and accountability
  • Special Projects: Funding, outreach and communication

Each sub-group will be co-coordinated by two to three members from UDAC. UDAC will help organize and align DWG initiatives with other initiatives in the same focus area. The two types of sub-teams are task-focused and issue-focused.

Sign up for diversity work groups: Interested faculty, staff, students and alumni should contact Helen Hunter in the Office of Institutional Diversity to sign up for one or more of the six diversity work groups listed above no later than Friday, Feb. 17. The announcement of co-coordinators and charge for each group will be announced at the first meeting for each group. Meetings dates, times and locations are to be determined after work groups are finalized.

2005 Summary Report from the Deliberative Dialogues on Diversity: I am particularly pleased to announce t
he online release of the 2005 Summary Report from the last November and December’s Deliberative Dialogues on Diversity series. Participants contributed valuable commentary included in this report. This report serves as one medium of information that will impact the future of diversity-related initiatives through my office. You may access this report on the Office of Institutional Diversity’s home page. Click on the link under “Diversity Reports and Updates.” You may provide feedback by clicking on my name under “Contact Information.”