Diversity Equity and Inclusion


In 2007, a task force, appointed by then President John M. Hilpert, met to develop a strategy to initiate a long-term plan related to diversity.  To fulfill one of the recommendations of the task force, in November 2007, Professor Georgene Clark was appointed by the President to serve as Coordinator of Diversity Activities and as Chair of the Diversity Advisory Committee. The Diversity Committee, composed of 12 people representing departments and divisions across campus, was established in January 2008. The charge to the Diversity Committee was to work with the entire campus community to set the university agenda for diversity—planning, employment practices, services, and programs. Included in that work was to establish a mission statement; assess the campus climate regarding diversity and other related issues; arrange opportunity for development across campus; and assist with strategies that broaden personnel searches. Since then, under the leadership of Presidents Hilpert and William N. LaForge and Chairs Georgene Clark (2008-2014) and Arlene Sanders (2014-2020), the committee’s dedicated faculty, staff, and students have worked tirelessly to fulfill its original purpose. In the fall of 2020, the Diversity Awareness Committee became the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee, chaired by Michelle Johansen.


  1. Define what diversity, equity, and inclusion means and operate with a greater urgency and intentionality toward our DEI goals.
  2. Reexamine curricula for narratives which exclude, erase, and/or diminish groups of people, even if that means breaking from “traditional” modes of thinking and teaching.
  3. Support faculty and staff engaged in developing or enhancing DEI courses with incentives, such as stipends, time, mentoring, tenure and promotion weight, and professional development opportunities.
  4. Expand outreach to and partnerships with the Delta community, using our institution as space for leadership, dialogue, and action.
  5. Utilize compassion and empathy to guide faculty and staff to a better understanding of our implicit biases.
  6. Make students, regardless of their identities and backgrounds, feel welcomed, celebrated, supported, and included. In other words, every student feels a sense of belonging.
  7. Provide students, especially marginalized or underrepresented students, with equitable knowledge of and access to resources, whether academic, supporting, technological, or financial, to be successful while at DSU and beyond.
  8. Include and welcome undergraduate students, graduate students, non-traditional students, faculty, staff, retirees, and community members.
  9. Offer opportunities to learn, reflect, and grow. Campus offerings and spaces, in and out of the classroom, can be windows into identities different from our own and also be mirrors in which we see ourselves as valued.
  10. Prioritize diversity, inclusion, and equity courses, activities, and service through academic curricula, certificate programs, and other forms of recognition.