Diversity is one of George Mason University’s greatest strengths and a value that defines us as an institution. To further cultivate diversity and inclusion at all levels of the university and turn diversity into a positive resource for all of us, President Cabrera created a Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council. The purpose of the council is to act as an advisory group to help us identify the areas that need most attention and the most effective strategies.
Vice President for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics Julian R. Williams; and Vice President for University Life Rose Pascarell co-chair the council. Members include faculty, administrators, staff and students.
President Cabrera wrote the entire Mason Community in September 2016, reinforcing Mason’s commitment to these purposes:
Last year we formed the university-wide Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council to assess how we can best deliver on our commitment to being the kind of inclusive academic community our mission statement defines. Today, I am pleased to announce an allocation of $1 million in our operating budget to fund some of these efforts. Diversity is one of our university’s greatest strengths, and we are fortunate to have one of the most diverse student populations in the country. Precisely because of that, we must strive to be an example of inclusion, a community where everyone can thrive. This objective includes developing a faculty and staff that better reflects and serves the diversity of our students. Among the initiatives that this investment will fund are:
- Additional support for many student services, including those offered through the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME).
- The hiring of a new director position for strategic diversity initiatives, who will focus on faculty and staff development and the university’s collective ability to serve our diverse community.
Institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, which provides greater access to resources for an unlimited number of Mason faculty and graduate students.
- In addition to this funding, we are pleased to have psychology professor Eden King as the 2016-17 Presidential Fellow. Part of her role will be to work with faculty, staff, and students to strengthen diversity and inclusion initiatives at Mason.As many of you know, diversity at Mason continues to grow. In our incoming class of first-time freshmen, a record 49 percent come from minority populations. To deliver on our mission of inclusive excellence, it is imperative that we anticipate and address the needs of our students. This is an area where we cannot afford to follow—we are required to lead. The best way to serve each member of our diverse university community is by investing in programs that help ensure everyone at Mason has an opportunity to thrive.”
One of the first tasks of the discovery subcommittee of the DILC was to perform an inventory of George Mason departments with regard to existing diversity committees and task forces, training, and active engagement in diversity and inclusion work by faculty.
Of the 33 departments that responded, 25 had committees and/or task forces, 21 had training initiatives, and 98 faculty reported to be actively engaged in this work.
A full summary of this inventory can be viewed here.
Additional members of the DILC include: Karen Alcade (BOV), David Atkins, Ken Ball, Lanitra Berger, Michael Biggiani, Marissa Biggins, Zanib Cheema, Rita Chung, Keith Clark, Joya Crear, Gbemi Disu, Lewis Forrest, Laura Freeman, Robert Graham, Rodney Hopson, Sonya Horsford, Eden King, Ashley Membere, Elavie Ndura , Rose Pascarell, Tom Prohaska, Claudia Rector, Shernita Rochelle Parker, Solon Simmons, Kareema Smith, Julian Williams, and Bob Witeck (BoV).