Message to the Campus Community
August 8, 2016
As we enter the last few weeks of summer, many of us on campus are finishing plans and projects in anticipation of the start of a new academic year. To assist in preparing the community for a productive year, I want to update you on some of the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDEs) efforts and provide you with information on an upcoming event.
During the last academic year, there was broad campus support for a diversity officer. I am pleased to inform you that the search for an Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion is well underway. This position will report directly to me and be a member of the Executive Council. This summer, the search committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, has been working to thoughtfully screen all the applications and narrow the pool to a small number of qualified individuals by the end of August. Thus, initial interviews will begin in a week or so. For such a key position, it is important for the entire campus to have the opportunity to help select this individual. The finalists will be brought to campus in September to permit the whole community to hear from each candidate. I hope you will make a sincere effort to participate in the interview forums and provide helpful feedback to the search committee at the appropriate time.
From the recent tragedies we have witnessed in Orlando, Baton Rouge, and Dallas; to challenges overseas in places like Turkey and France; to the mounting tensions surrounding the November Presidential election, the need for attention to our concept of “community” has never been greater. Therefore, I invite the entire campus to participate in small group community conversations on August 30th from 4:10-5:15 p.m. These student-led conversations will address the central question: How do we maintain community and preserve the principles of our democracy in the midst of the many divisive issues that exist for us as a nation and as global citizens? Details about this event will be sent via email in a couple of weeks, and additional information will be available on the IDEs webpage. I encourage each of us – regardless of where we as individuals stand on these challenging issues – to find the time and make the commitment to fully participate in this important and unique opportunity.
We must be intentional in our approach to living and learning with each other if we are to find solutions to these and other issues we face as a community. Diversity without inclusion creates an unhealthy environment. I believe we can live up to the St. Mary’s Way. Come join us in our quest to become a model community working towards a more just and humane society.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer. I look forward to a great start to the new academic year.
Tuajuanda C. Jordan
President, St. Mary’s College of Maryland