Diversity VP’s plans include ‘Year of Yes’

Kelly Petryszyn

Brown looks to retain, recruit minorities

Alfreda Brown has had a busy month and a half since she took office as the first vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. Three concerns top her list:

&bull implementing a diversity scorecard

&bull recruitment of diverse applicant pools for open positions at Kent State

&bull diversity commitment statements from the faculty and staff

Her first concern, the diversity scorecard, is a composite report of data about minorities. Once collected, the data is then analyzed and interpreted by teams that will decide if strategic action is needed. The scorecard is still just a draft.

The scorecard would include the following minorities: blacks, Native Americans and Latino Americans. The assessment will focus around access, retention and excellence.

Without counting Asian Americans, minority population is very low, Brown said. To address this, she said she would like to focus on recruitment and retention of these minorities. The scorecard will help highlight the areas that need attention. She also would like to get the perspectives of how faculty, staff and students view diversity.

Brown said she is putting together mechanisms to create diverse applicant pools. There are 43 faculty positions she is looking at.

The Human Resources office reaches out to diverse groups through a variety of different methods, including posting jobs on diverse Web sites and sending e-mails to diverse listservs, said Judy Brooks, manger of talent acquisitions and operations in the Human Resources Department.

Another one of her goals is implementing university-wide commitment statements from faculty and staff to encourage the “Year of Yes” for students.

“Year of Yes” is an initiative of President Lester Lefton, in which the university wants to commit to finding a solution to problems instead of just saying no.

Brown would like to address this concept by having faculty and staff members make commitments about diversity goals.

One statement reads: “I will have a conversation partner,” and another reads “I will introduce a person of diversity to my class.”

The statements would be posted on the walls of different buildings, so faculty, staff and students can keep each other accountable to following through on those commitments.

The Rev. Ronald Fowler, a member of the University Diversity Advisory Council, said publicizing the statements reflects what the university believes.

Contact diversity reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].