Committee Announces Implementation Updates on the 11 Recommendations from the Black Student Experience Task Force

The implementation committee of students and leaders from Institute Diversity, Office of the Provost, Student Life, and Undergraduate Education announced updates on its progress to address the 11 recommendations from the Black Student Experience Task Force that will help ensure a welcoming, inclusive campus. Quarterly updates will be released until the end of the 2018-19 academic year. 

As part of a three-year process, implementation of the 11 recommendations started in August 2016. These recommendations are grouped into four categories: programs, trainings, physical spaces, and planning and assessments.

“After discussing with the committee, we expanded the implementation of two areas from the original 11 recommendations of the Black Student Experience Task Force – Challenge and FASET,” said Archie Ervin, vice president for Institute Diversity. “The implementation committee identified broader and more long-term academic issue areas beyond the Challenge program and orientation processes beyond the FASET program as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

These implementation updates (not ranked by priority) encompass:

Programs

1. Academics – Expanded focus of the recommendation to identify broader academic issue areas beyond the Challenge program. For example, issues such as academic performance, retention, and graduation require deeper understanding of the impact of campus experiences, both in-class and out-of-class, and other factors on academic outcomes, which will be examined by the implementation committee in the future.

  • Challenge – Expanding OMED’s Challenge enrollment from 75 to 105 underrepresented minority and women students this summer; hired Sybrina Atwaters, assistant director, outreach initiatives of OMED, a unit of the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, to grow the program; and evaluating the quantitative and qualitative measurements of the five-week intensive summer program for incoming freshmen.
  • Faculty Workshops – Offered more than 20 Implicit Bias Workshops to nearly 300 faculty members, or nearly one-third of all tenured or tenure-track faculty at Georgia Tech, since fall 2015. Institute Diversity, in collaboration with the ADVANCE Program, will offer additional workshops this fall.

2. Orientation – Expanded focus of the recommendation to identify broader orientation processes beyond the FASET program.

  • FASET – Recording a video message from Ervin to share Tech’s diversity and inclusion core values, which will play at each FASET session, and encouraging more diverse representation of student leaders and staff at New Student and Sophomore Programs’ FASET.   
  • Orientation Processes – Reviewing all orientation processes beyond FASET within Admissions, Institute Diversity, and Student Life for possible modification to incorporate issues of diversity and inclusion and share campus resources that support Georgia Tech’s commitment to diversity.

3. Intercultural Student Programs – Established the Multicultural Student Advisory Committee, a joint student advisory group to advise and recommend actions that enhance diversity and inclusion experiences among Tech students. In addition, hosted by OMED, GT-PRIME, and Student Diversity Programs, Fearless Dialogues will be held on April 12 to facilitate conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for positive transformation in self and others.

4. Reporting System – Completed intake language of the reporting system and provided language to EthicsPoint to build the reporting system portal for the Institute. System will allow campus community members to submit information detailing any discrimination experienced on campus, and submissions will remain anonymous.

Trainings

5. Community Orientation and Training – Launched the following in-person and online trainings for faculty, staff, and students that address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion: Implicit Bias Workshops for faculty who serve on reappointment, promotion, and tenure and search committees from Institute Diversity and the ADVANCE Program; Inclusive Leaders Academy for staff managers from Institute Diversity’s Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement unit; Diversity and Inclusion Councils, which were formed at the college level, and Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program for faculty, staff, and students through a proposal to the Institute’s Strategic Plan Advisory Group (SPAG); and a Certificate in Multicultural Competence for staff from the Division of Student Life. 

6. Cultural Inclusivity Leadership Training – Expanded new member education programs (e.g., peer education) for students to include diversity and inclusion themes; proposed a GT 1000 or similar course on social justice for new members and/or leaders of Greek organizations focused on the development of the individual chapter and broader council and community programs; and formed Greeks United for Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity (GUIDE) as an inter-council Greek committee that includes delegates from each of the four Greek Councils (Collegiate Panhellenic, Interfraternity, Multicultural Greek, and National Panhellenic).

7. Greek Education – Provided Greek Allies training to more than 30 students through the LGBTQIA Resource Center. GUIDE is also planning events for all students to increase the interactions and engagement opportunities among the Greek Councils, and between the Greek Councils and student body.

Physical Spaces

8. Multicultural Center – Developing and envisioning the Multicultural Center as part of the Student Center expansion this summer; and tasked Lindsay Bryant, director of the Student Center, to oversee the development of the Multicultural Center, which will support students’ overall adjustment and well-being.

Planning and Assessments

9. Strategic Plan – Launched three diversity and inclusion initiatives through a proposal to SPAG: Transformative Narratives, a collection of 24 artistically embellished photographic portraits of faculty, staff, and students; Diversity and Inclusion Councils; and Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program, which brings together faculty, staff, and students to individually and collectively push their action, research, or teaching objectives forward while improving inclusivity on campus.  

10. Campus Climate Assessment – Evaluating the campus climate assessment instrument for possible modifications; Institute Diversity submitted a proposal to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning for approval this spring. Campus climate assessment to launch to faculty, staff, and students in October. 

11. Institutional Climate Change and Growth – Established the Multicultural Student Advisory Committee, which is co-chaired by the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion Executive Director S. Gordon Moore Jr. and Associate Dean of Students and Student Diversity Programs Director Stephanie Ray. The purpose of the committee is to evaluate multicultural and climate issues on campus and report any issues to the Institute’s administration.

“Although not visible to the campus community yet, there has been a sustained amount of background, foundational work from the implementation committee to move forward on the recommendations from the Black Student Experience Task Force report,” said John M. Stein, dean of students and vice president for Student Life. “I appreciate and applaud the work of the committee, and we look forward to the campus community experiencing these recommendations and seeing the positive changes in an effort to further advance a culture of close collaboration, global perspective, and intercultural respect at Tech.”

To inquire about the Black Student Experience Task Force and/or its recommendations, email institutediversity@gatech.edu. For more information, visit www.diversity.gatech.edu/blackstudentexperiencetaskforce.  

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For More Information Contact

Annette Filliat

Communications Manager

Institute Diversity

annette.filliat@gatech.edu