By Ariel C. Emberton, staff writer/photographer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University is making new strides in her continuing recognition and implementing diversity. A presidential committee is bringing various facets of the university together.
“The Diversity Policy Committee is a group working to address diversity concerns, issues and initiatives for the university,” Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, said. “I am pleased that Dr. John Chowning, executive assistant to the president for government, community and constituent relations, will be leading this important university team.”
The group was established in June and is working to build on the university’s past record of diversity and inclusion and to be more intentional on addressing the needs and concerns of Blacks and other underrepresented minority groups within the CU family including students, faculty, staff, coaches and alumni.
“We meet bi-weekly to examine areas of growth as it pertains to diversity and inclusion,” Jasmine Barnett, director of Church Outreach and FIRST CLASS, co-campus minister and adjunct instructor for the School of Theology, said.
Before the Diversity Policy Committee, the university had the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) committee and the Community and Diversity Committee. Chowning said the new Diversity Policy Committee is a presidential level initiative which reflects that this is a priority for Campbellsville University.
Chowning said the purpose of the committee is to focus attention on the multiple and complex issues related to diversity and community within the Campbellsville University family.
“CU has for many years worked to address diversity issues,” Chowning said.
The university has showed her diversity in a variety of ways including beginning its Dialogue on Race program in 1999, providing more than two decades of diversity training for faculty and staff, hosting campus sessions on a number of issues related to racial justice and equity and adding a diversity minor and several minority members to the Board of Trustees, as well as other councils.
The committee is working on several immediate objectives, including developing a protocol of annual diversity training for all employees, raising funds for additional scholarships for minority students, establishing a Black alumni forum under the auspices of the CU Alumni Association, working to implement anti-racism strategies on the main campus and at all regional centers and teaching sites, integrating diversity strategies into the strategic planning process and promoting diversity via such initiatives as Dialogue on Race, Quality Enhancement Plan, seminars, chapel and more.
“The Diversity Policy Committee will be working with Dr. Carter and the Administrative Council, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and coaches to work toward a university environment that places value on all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, language, economic status, religion, etc.,” Chowning said.
“We want students of color to know that CU values them and will do everything to make our campus safe and welcoming,” Barnett said.
Chowning said the committee’s task is to work, in this era when the quest for racial justice and equity has rightfully come to the forefront, with a renewed vigor to fulfill our commitment to diversity and the oneness of all people who are created in the image of God.
The committee is working to build on the efforts of past years and move forward with a renewed commitment and energy to address the needs, concerns and issues of CU’s Black and other minority students, faculty and staff.
The committee members are Carter; Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. H. Keith Spears, senior vice president and assistant to the president; Rusty Hollingsworth, vice president for student services and athletics; Rusty Watkins, dean of student services/director of camps, special events and vending;
Dr. Carey Ruiz, associate professor of sociology/director of diversity and community; Wanda Washington, coordinator for diversity and community; Barnett; Benji Kelly, vice president for development; Kelly Vink, coordinator for strategic planning and administrative compliance;
Ashley Fox, director of alumni relations; Josh Switzer, special project manager; Jason Lawson, director of personnel services; Debbie Carter, assistant professor of social work/director of the Bridge to Success Program; and Chowning.
The Diversity Policy Committee plans to establish a student advisory group to work with them on a variety of issues and topics.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 11,900 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.
Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.