Community Leaders Invited To Discuss BSU’s Next Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan
Bemidji State University’s current diversity and inclusion plan is set to expire this May, so to generate ideas on what to strive for next, dozens of staff, students and community were recruited into the conversation.
“We’re looking to think forward about what we want to do over the next 5 years – what do we want the university to look like and to be related to diversity and inclusion and so people were invited to come. We have the sheriff, we have the superintendent of schools, we have the United Way director,” says Deb Peterson, assistant to the president for affirmative action and institutional accreditation.
The meeting lasted four hours and used various different strategies to determine BSU’s current strengths and weaknesses.
“As we think about the plan for diversity and inclusion, it goes much more beyond, ‘okay, let’s have another cultural event.’ It goes really into the way that our mindset is and how we are embracing of diversity and a variety of opinions and also being an educational institution, we’re allowing for dialogues and discussion to occur,” says Dr. Faith Hensrud, the president of Bemidji State University.
Before today’s meeting, a survey was sent officials sent out a survey to staff, student, and community members about their current thought on the diversity and inclusion at BSU. Now, a committee will combine the responses from the survey, as well as the information gathered at today’s meeting, and put it all together to determine goals for the diversity strategic plan that will go into effect over the next five years.
Solar Hong, the coordinator for the center of diversity, inclusion and equity at BSU, says, “I personally hope that we can take steady steps to make everything we put into the strategic plan in action and then that is – definitely will require collaborations from faculty, staff and students.”
At the end of the meeting, the group had acquired dozens of goals they’d like to see accomplished at BSU. Common themes included becoming a destination university for American Indian students, as well as exceeding current diversity requirements.
Dr. Jesse Grant, the associate vice president for student life and success, says, “It was an opportunity for me to reaffirmed around some of the areas where we need to go. I’m looking at some of areas of focus and looking at our American Indian students, looking at what plans and strategies that we have for recruiting faculty and staff and color and American Indian Students and faculty as well.”
The new BSU diversity and inclusion strategic will be completed by the start of the next academic school year.