Diversity and Inclusion: Amendments to Augustana 2020

Augustana Observer File Photo.

Augustana Observer File Photo.

President Bahls released amendments to the Augustana 2020 strategic plan on Thursday, Oct. 6 that will ensure that Augustana is welcoming to all.
A strategy dedicated to diversity and inclusion has been added to the much anticipated plan.
According to the amendment, this strategy will look to “eliminate barriers to diversity, inclusion and equity, and create pathways that advance our diversity at all levels, ensure inclusion in all that Augustana has to offer and move to the lens of equity, meaning that we will meet students where they are, and give them the particular tools they need to succeed.”
Provost Pareena Lawrence believes that this strategy will lead to a positive impact on the campus. She said they have been working towards diversity and inclusion long before the amendment was added.
“We have made significant investments in the Office of Multicultural life and International Life by relocating them from Founders and Sorensen to the Gerber Center where Office of Student Life is located and by adding personnel and staff. President Bahls had created and appointed Dr. Chris Whitt as the Director, Center for Inclusive Leadership & Equity to primarily work with the leadership of the college and the Quad Cities community to promote diversity, advance inclusion and be welcoming to all,” Provost Lawrence said.
Augustana 2020 is a plan that will shape the college’s direction for years to come. The plan is centered around students and the preamble states “Our students will make greater gains in the skills, dispositions and interpersonal sensibilities needed to achieve their career goals and secure meaningful lives of accomplishment and contribution.”
The original strategic plan focused on 3 specific strategies: enhanced preparation, integrated experiences, and affordability and value. These steps involve career preparation, integrated residential college college experience, and reducing core costs where possible, while maintaining a competitive recruitment program.
“As the school’s diversity changes, what the school offers must also change,” President Bahls said.
There are 10 steps of action that are that are included in the new amendment regarding diversity and inclusion. Of the 10 steps, 7 are to be enforced within the 2016-2017 school year.
“Prior to this amendment, it was not that we were not paying attention to issues of Diversity and Inclusion. What is identified specifically in Strategy 4 was subsumed under Strategy 1, 2, and 3 of Augustana 2020,” said Provost Lawrence.
President Bahls hopes to get different parts of the college involved including students, faculty, and the administration.
“Having diversity (at a college) does not mean having the same sense of belonging,” President Bahls said.
The tactics that will be used to implement the amendment are still being discussed. President Bahls hopes to get ideas from faculty members and students.
Provost Lawrence hopes that this amendment is a step in the right direction.
“I fully understand a lot more needs to be done in all these areas. By adding strategy 4 specifically on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity – To ensure that Augustana is a community committed to cherishing diversity, promoting inclusion and welcoming all, makes this a cohesive campus wide priority and helps us a campus focus on this Strategy and develop both tactics (to address the goals of strategy 4) and metrics to measure our progress across all areas of campus.”

 The Board of Trustees will vote on these amendments next week.