VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion here to make changes on campus

VP+of+Diversity%2C+Equity%2C+and+Inclusion+here+to+make+changes+on+campus

Dr. Monica Smith has been chosen as the new vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. As of Monday, Mar. 19, she will be part of the president’s cabinet and focus on issues concerning social issues at Augustana College.
In the past, Smith has served as the chief diversity officer at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and has worked in higher education for over 20 years.
Some of Smith’s specific goals are to make the faculty more diverse and to integrate issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom. She will also be working with students through the Office of Multicultural Student Life (OMSL) to ensure that the experience of all students is of a similar high quality. 
“I do plan to be a presence on campus,” Smith said on Jan. 24. ” I don’t expect to be in an administrative building, only doing what administrators are assumed to do. I want to be present. I want to connect with students at a variety of points. I want to be at some of the established events that students have.”
Another goal for Smith is to work with the employment office to make sure International students have access to internship opportunities to allow for preparedness after college. There was a consensus within the President’s Cabinet to search for candidates to apply for the new position. A group of students, faculty, administrators, and a member of the Board of Trustees, appointed by the President all voted unanimously for Smith.
“We want to make sure that the sense of belonging of all groups students of students is equal, and ensure that there are similar post-graduate outcomes for all groups of students; that they have access to great jobs and employers at Augustana are employers who appreciate diversity,” Bahls said. 
According to junior and student government association (SGA) senator, Karthik Kasireddy, the creation of Smith’s position is a direct response to what students have called for in the past few years.

“Before this position, the main place for students of color to go is the OMSL – or if they felt comfortable, their advisors,” Kasireddy said on Jan. 24. “But their advisors are not usually people of color and the OMSL is obligated to report to Dean Campbell. That’s just one dean who has to address all student concerns. If students of color had a dean they could go to, they could rely on two different administrators to hear them.”

What drew Smith to choose Augustana was her previous foundational work that communicated her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In her perspective, students can truly benefit from faculty and staff who come from a diverse background and experiences.
“I believe it’s very important for people to bring their whole self to places,” Smith said about students on campus. According to Smith, she is excited to begin her new projects and is looking forward to getting to know all of the students and staff.
Amanda Corona, president of Latinx Unidos, is hopeful that Smith will be an advocate for students in the administrative realm.

“From first interaction, she seems like she clearly knows what she’s doing,” Corona said on Jan. 24. “It’s so great to hear she cares about the student perspective so much. That’s really what’s going to guide her focus when she’s here: taking student consideration and working in the capacity of administration helps ensure that our voices are being heard as far up as possible.”

 According to Augustana’s 2020 strategic plan, Smith will be committing the college to creating pathways that advance our diversity at all levels, and ensuring equity in access to resources students need to succeed.
Smith will arrive on campus on Mar. 19, and will have her office located in Founder’s Hall. Campus Ministries will be relocated closer to the Chapel.