Based on participation in public forums hosted by Georgia College’s Diversity Action Planning Committee, the initial draft of the plan will provide actionable strategies used to promote future diversity and inclusion efforts at the university.
“The plan will be successfully linked to the mission of Georgia College as well as its Strategic Directions and the Quality Enhancement Plan to ensure the future success of our great institution,” said Veronica Womack, director of Georgia College’s Institution of Diversity and Equity, and chair of the Diversity Action Planning Committee. “I was so thrilled with the participation. We had an overwhelming positive response; people were really serious about being engaged and they were very open with how they wanted the university to proceed with the Diversity Action Plan. Those are the energies we need to move our community forward.”
Three public forums were held in September with the help of community individuals and a Georgia College public deliberations class as facilitators.
“Each of the forums was very well attended by faculty, staff and students and community members, resulting in over 200 participants,” Womack said. “The community forum held at the Collins P. Lee Center was very well attended by elected officials of Milledgeville, including Mayor Richard Bentley, City Council and county commission members and members of the school board. [Georgia College Community Engagement and Economic Development Director] Johnny Grant was instrumental in facilitating the participation of local elected community leaders in the forum. We also had great representation from Georgia College, including Provost Dr. Kelli Brown and other faculty and staff members.”
The Diversity Action Planning Committee was charged by Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman in spring 2013 to develop a three- to five-year diversity plan that promotes recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students, and creates a welcoming environment on campus and in the community. The plan focuses on four areas — student diversity in access and success, inclusive campus climate, diversity in curriculum, creative learning and scholarship, and faculty and staff recruitment and retention success.
“The committee as a whole developed a work plan that would include developing strategies and objectives around the overall goal of the committee and engaging the Georgia College community and the greater Milledgeville community in a dialogue about the needs of the plan,” Womack said. “We developed a website survey to solicit ideas about the plan in the spring of 2013. In addition, the month of September was designated as the month for open dialogue about the plan.”
The committee plans to hold a follow-up forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the Collins P. Lee Center. The purpose of the upcoming forum is to share the end results of the September public forums and how vital information from the forums was to the actual outcome of the plan.
“For each of the four areas, we have actions, dates of completion and groups that will carry out the work. I will provide a very detailed follow-up with a PowerPoint presentation and maybe some handouts,” Womack said. “We’re giving people the opportunity to see what we’ve crafted. The community can respond during the follow-up forum; we want to make sure people feel included and they know we heard them and their input was very valuable.”
The finalized action plan is expected to be complete within the next couple of months before it’s presented to Dorman for final review.
“The goal of the plan is to build a sound infrastructure,” Womack said. “We’re very thankful of the support we’ve received. This is just the beginning.”
For more information about the action plan call Womack at 478-445-4233, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.gcsu.edu/equity.