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UW Trustees Create Position of Special Assistant to President for Diversity

January 25, 2016

Following through on a commitment made by University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity, the UW Board of Trustees has created a new position to coordinate the university’s diversity efforts.

The board voted unanimously Friday in favor of a change to UW regulations that provides for a special assistant to the president for diversity.

Reporting directly to the president, the special assistant will, “at the direction of the president and in collaboration with the other principal administrative officers of the university, lead the development and implementation of the university diversity plan,” the revised regulation states.

“This is an important step in our commitment to making UW a more welcoming place for people of all backgrounds,” says McGinity, who notes that the effort is backed by incoming president Laurie Nichols. “We appreciate the trustees’ support for this important new position on campus, especially at a time when the state and university face considerable fiscal restraints.”

Work now begins to develop the job description and prepare to advertise for applicants.

In November, the president also committed to create a UW Diversity Strategic Planning Committee (DSPC) composed of stakeholders from throughout the university and the greater Wyoming community. The special assistant to the president will work with that committee to create a “UW Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement Plan” including short-term and long-term goals, objectives, action steps, resources needed to effectuate the plan, a timeline for communication and implementation, and a means for measuring and assessing progress.

The plan will be vetted through UW constituents, with support sought from students, staff, faculty, the administration and the Board of Trustees.

Creation of the position of special assistant to the president for diversity and the appointment of the DSPC grow out of discussions the president and Vice President for Academic Affairs David Jones have had for more than a year with numerous groups and individuals representing the broad range of racial, ethnic and cultural constituencies on and off campus.

“UW currently has in place many measures to ensure and support diversity, and many people who are doing great work in this area,” the president wrote in November. “However, if we are going to recruit and retain the best students, staff and faculty, if we are going to be competitive as an institution in an increasingly global and diverse world, and if we are going to graduate students who are prepared to lead, to demonstrate cultural competency and to be successful in the world, then we can and must do more.”

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