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Recommendations to be presented from yearlong diversity audit

Increasing the number of students studying abroad, doing
more international recruiting and developing classroom courses focusing on how
inclusiveness benefits everyone are some of the recommendations from a yearlong
evaluation of diversity efforts at Oklahoma
State University.

The findings of the study, which included input from OSU
faculty, staff and students, will be presented at Friday’s meeting of the Board
of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical
Colleges in Stillwater.

The self-study is the first step in formalizing a systemwide
diversity plan, officials said.

In addition to more than 150 information-gathering sessions,
an independent team of administrators and faculty visited the campus to
evaluate diversity efforts.

Other recommendations include expanding the role of the
Diversity Academic Support Office and stepping up efforts to increase access
for nontraditional and economically disadvantaged students, among others.

“The study not only leads to how we ought to be
addressing diversity, it talks about how we should become leaders in any
field,” said Cornell Thomas, vice president for institutional diversity at
OSU. “There’s a lot of work to do.”

One step is the university’s development of a set of courses
addressing diversity that students will be required to take beginning in the
2008-2009 academic year, Thomas said.

Even as the number of females and minorities have increased
at other universities, Native Americans, African Americans, Asians and
Hispanics make up less than 18 percent of the non-international student body
and about 10 percent of the non-international faculty at OSU, according to 2006
university figures.

But Thomas said progress is being made: last year, about a
quarter of OSU’s new faculty hires were minorities, for example.

In addition to discussing the study, regents will also
vote on a new health care plan for system employees and receive an academic
donation from alumni.

– Associated Press

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