Diversity commission shapes work
at two-day retreat
By Anne Bromley
of the Presidents Commission on Diversity and Equity used
fall reading days to gather for a retreat Oct. 13 and 14. In addition
to getting to know one another better, commission members began
their work of assessing the climate for student life at the University,
especially for minority groups and women, and reviewing practices
here and at other universities that encourage and support a diverse
that end, co-chairs Angela M. Davis and Michael J. Smith formed
four working groups from the 25 members, with ex-officio members
laying out the current situation in the retreats opening
four groups are addressing the following areas: student life and
climate, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, curriculum,
and community and business models.
student life and climate subcommittee is looking at recruitment,
retention and support of a diverse student body, both undergraduates
and graduate students. It will also consider how space around
the University relates to these issues. The subcommittee will
compare U.Va.s practices to those of peer institutions in
identifying the best ways to attract minority students and in
creating a welcoming community.
faculty/staff recruitment and retention subcommittee is exploring
which strategies at every level of the institution, from
the provosts office to departments and search committees
can be adopted to move beyond existing good intentions
to ensure measurable progress in boosting the numbers of women
and minority faculty and staff.
the curriculum need to be changed to meet the varied needs of
a diverse student body and the Universitys educational goals?
The curriculum subcommittee plans to look at options for including
diversity training in academic life. The idea of a required course,
which has raised controversy among students, is only one of many
fourth subcommittee is exploring how businesses and community
organizations work to create and support diversity, and whether
their methods can be adapted to the Universitys environment.
The subcommittee is also looking into how the University can more
effectively draw upon, and contribute to, the broader Charlottesville/Albemarle
groups will continue working independently until the commissions
next retreat, tentatively set for January 2004.