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University of Kentucky Creates Diversity Task Force

University of Kentucky Creates Diversity Task Force 


      A task force will look for ways the University of Kentucky can increase the number of Black faculty, administrators, staff and students on campus, University President Lee T. Todd Jr. said last week.

      Todd announced the creation of the Task Force on Racial Diversity, which will review and recommend ways to ensure diversity on search committees and other groups on campus. Todd said the committee will also seek to make sure the campus climate welcomes diversity. The new task force will consider whether UK should have a chief diversity officer.

      “This is a critically important issue for the University of Kentucky,” Todd said. “A diverse, welcoming and open campus makes us a better place. We won’t be a Top 20 university without also being a diverse university.”

      Todd wants the task force to send him recommendations by December 2006.

      Everett McCorvey, a music professor and a task-force member, said the group has the potential to bring about positive changes for Blacks at UK.

      “In order to recruit high-quality African-American students, you’ve got to have high-quality African-American faculty and you’ve got to have more than one or two in an area,” McCorvey said. “I think we can help create a larger body of African-American faculty and that in turn will led to recruiting more top African-American students.”

      Todd met with many Black faculty in October, after which the task force was formed. Some Black faculty called for the meeting after UK had a 40 percent drop in Black freshmen last fall, raising concerns about UK’s commitment to Blacks in hiring and promoting faculty.

      The task force will work with the President’s Commission on Diversity, a group Todd commissioned to look at a broader range of diversity issues that included other ethnic groups in addition to Blacks.

      William Turner, the university’s vice president for university engagement and associate provost for multicultural affairs, will chair the new task force.

      In addition to McCorvey, the confirmed members of the task force and their departments are: Garry Bibbs, art; Tamara Brown, psychology; Mike Crutcher, geography; Carol Elam, medicine; Ron Eller, history; Zakkulu Gouvindarajulu, statistics; Debra Harley, education; John Harris, education; Carol Jordan, Center for Research on Violence Against Women; Nora R. Moosnick, sociology; Ricardo Nazario-Colon, President’s Commission on Diversity; Jamie Nebbitt, President’s Commission on Diversity; David Watt, associate provost for Academic Affairs; and Russ Williams, human resources, who is also the staff member of UK’s Board of Trustees.

      Doris Wilkinson, a UK sociology professor, will be a special consultant to the task force. In 1968, she became UK’s first full-time Black female faculty member.

Associated Press

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