President addresses students in special video message about diversity, equity and inclusion

Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, shares the personal message that It’s now time for action.

“It’s time for us to act first by coming together with a shared commitment and determination to do the things we all know we need to do to make our university the place where all students, faculty and staff feel welcome, included and are given equal opportunities to thrive.

“We can do better. We must do better. And we will do better.”

 

 

Contact Us

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Health Sciences Campus

G. Lombard Kelly Building

AA-172

706-721-9265

706-446-0276

ODI@augusta.edu

Path toward an Inclusive Campus Climate

Since joining the AU family in September 2019 as the university’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Townsend has sought out opportunities to learn more about AU’s cultural landscape. In the first few months of her arrival, Dr. Townsend met with over 100 faculty, staff and students on a “listening tour” designed to help understand AU’s current cultural climate. What became clear during this listening tour was the need to build a stronger foundation for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at Augusta University, Dr. Townsend terms these the Foundational Pillars to an Inclusive Campus Climate. Recent efforts in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) have focused on building these DEI pillars, which include:

Additional listening sessions held in the Summer of 2020 by ODI and Multicultural Student Engagement, in response to societal calls for racial justice, resulted in additional recommendations from students, staff and faculty on ways to advance equity and inclusion across AU’s campus. Many of these recommendations aligned with plans that were already underway through ODI and MSE, but some, outlined below, enhanced those plans.

In an effort to foster open and transparent communication with the AU community, ODI, in partnership with the Division of Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA), which includes Multicultural Student Engagement (MSE), has developed this webpage to provide a systematic account of the actions we are taking to advance DEI and to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus. We encourage you to check the site on a regular basis to get status updates on plans in progress and to learn more about activities taking place at AU as it relates to DEI. Additional actions will be posted to this site once plans for those activities are more definitive. In ODI, we appreciate that creating a welcoming community, which celebrates diversity, will take a united effort. If you see an activity or initiative that you would like to join, do not hesitate to reach out to our office or MSE to become involved. We look forward to working together to realize our shared vision for an inclusive campus.

Plans to Foster Open Communication

Improved ODI Website

  • Serves as a hub for DEI resources and information at AU
  • Provides status updates to AU community regarding progress of DEI initiatives

Active Now

Quarterly Online Listening Sessions with ODI

  • Provides increased opportunity for faculty and staff to engage with AU administrative leadership regarding DEI initiatives and concerns

Active Now

Sista Circle

  • A gathering of women identifying as people of color: fellowship, connection, and support.  Each session focuses on a relevant topic

Active Now

Student Involvement with DEI Committees

  • Students have been participating in MSE committees during summer 2020 and there will be more opportunities for students to participate in the upcoming semester.

Active now

More opportunities in August 2020

Monthly Courageous Conversations with SGA

  • Critical and insightful dialogues on diversity, equity and inclusion between our students facilitated by a campus or regional/national expert in the field.

Fall Semester 2020

“Being _____ at Augusta University”

(Black, Latin X, Asian Pacific Islander, Queer or Trans, Minoritized Religion)

  • Quarterly sessions to provide forum for students from minoritized communities to share concerns and connect with alumni and faculty/staff affinity groups

Fall Semester 2020

TRUST (Tolerance Reformation & Unity Support Team)

  • University system that provides an avenue for bias incidents to be reported and documented
  • Provides an organized, evidenced-informed campus response that fosters healing following incidents

November 2020

 Training to Foster a Culturally Responsive Campus Climate

Multicultural Wellness Wednesdays

  • Monthly collaboration with Student Counseling and Psychological Services (SCAPS) and Wellness- Focus on health issues that directly affect minoritized communities

Active Now

Education of valuating news for reputable sources (CRAAP Test)

  • Available now at the Library web site

Active Now

Provide specific diversity related training for health professional students

Recommendation from Professional Students:

Educate students on disparities and systemic oppression in health care; medical racism

Recommendation from GSGA:

Provide Cultural Competence training in Professionalism Forum

  • ODI provides Healthy Perspectives (HP) is an online, high-tech, cultural competency training, primarily for students, but also open for faculty, staff and residents at Augusta University. All first-year health professions graduate students enrolled at Augusta University are required to complete this course
  • Add a diversity education component to the Professionalism Forum required for all new health sciences students

Active Now

August 2020

Recommendation from BFSA

Online training for students, staff, faculty and AU leadership through ODI

  • Provides broad training to ensure everyone on campus is exposed to basic DEI principles and language

October 2020

Online in-depth training on specific DEI topics

  • A library of additional online trainings available through ODI for faculty, staff and leadership to delve into topics of choice in more depth

October 2020

Recommendation from BSU: Foster a culture of respect, tolerant of difference and intolerant of hate

  • Culture of Respect campaign linked to University values through Enrollment & Student Affairs (ESA)
  • Free Expression Training for Students through ESA during student leader training

August 2020

Recommendation from SGA: Offer mandatory DEI introductory training for all freshman through Wellness course

  • Add a Diversity education module to the Wellness course and link that module to an outreach event from the MSE through a collaboration between College of Education, Department of Kinesiology and ESA

Fall Semester 2020

Cultural Competency Training for Student Organizations through MSE and SLE

  • Training for Student Orgs by Professional Staff members

Fall Semester 2020

Diversity Peer Education Program through MSE

  • Train student leaders to train other students on Free Expression, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and other relatable topics

Fall Semester 2020

In depth training on specific DEI topics of choice

  • A menu of in-depth, in- person trainings through ODI to provide more specific training for faculty, staff and leadership in DEI

Fall 2020/Winter 2021

 

Plans to Increase Visibility of Diversity on Campus

Featured Student, Staff, Faculty or Community Member who works in Diversity Equity and Inclusion

  • Increase the awareness of the significance of DEI work and the visibility of diverse members of the AU community by featuring a new faculty, staff, student or community member engaged in DEI work on the ODI website each month

Active Now

Recommendation from BSU:

Present more diverse stories regarding AU’s history

  • ODI in partnership with the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Augusta University’s Department of Art and Design will highlight the rich story of Drs. Justine and Isaiah “Ike” Washington
  • ODI and MSE in partnership with Dr. Caldwell (Director of the Center of GA history) to identify additional people and moments to commemorate

Fall 2020/Winter 2021

Recommendation from BSU and BFSA

Examine campus signs and symbols to ensure a welcoming and inclusive campus environment

  • President Keel will launch a broad task force which will include students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members, to explore ways that diverse signs and symbols (e.g., signage and plagues) can be added to the campus to recognize AU’s full history.
  • USG Task Force established to examine current building names and other symbols at universities across the Georgia system

Fall Semester 2020

Active Now

Recommendation from BSU:

Additional staff support for Black students

  • President Keel approved the addition of a Program Manager position in ODI to increase campus DEI training efforts. In addition, a coordinator position for Multicultural Student Engagement position was also approved to implement a mentoring program, diversity peer educator program, etc.

Fall Semester 2020

Plans to Develop a DEI Strategic Plan

Campus Climate Survey through ODI

  • Assess current campus climate to inform strategic planning

Active Now

Preliminary DEI Report prepared by ODI

  • ODI to conduct Diversity Audit and prepare a report of current DEI efforts at AU to serve as a baseline measure for strategic planning and future progress

Diversity audit Fall Semester 2020

Report to be released Winter 2021

AU’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

  • ODI to engage campus community in the development of a plan to guide campus DEI efforts

Campus Engagement Fall Semester 2020

Strategic plan released Winter 2021