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Inclusive Excellence: seven recommendations for Georgia Southern University

Recommendation #1 is the foundation for the success of Inclusive Excellence efforts at Georgia Southern. While the three categories below are discrete units, they all depend directly on the effective implementation of recommendation #1, and the impact of recommendation #1 will factor into each category in various ways.

Recommendation #1:

Rapidly prototype a new strategic diversity leadership framework, accountability system and launch plan to guide your work.

Description

Move fast and create vision and architecture for change that activates
as part of your new strategic plan and demonstrates action to the campus community.

Potential Tactics

  • Develop a broad and inclusive definition of diversity.
  • Establish a vision for Inclusive Excellence as the overall leadership for your work.
  • Include a multidimensional framework for developing campus diversity goals and a plan.
  • Include a scorecard tool to track progress.
  • Use accountability tactics to ensure implementation and success.
  • Generate fast energy and movement to quiet the naysayers who say Georgia Southern is not committed.
  • Align with the campus strategic plan including Inclusive Excellence as a core pillar of that plan.

Vision, Personnel, Infrastructure

Recommendation #1 – As described above.

Recommendation #2

Choose big-bet action steps to drive change.

Description

Put in place several big-picture initiatives that can spark real change over time.

Potential Tactics

  • Choose big-bet action steps that can lead to meaningful change.
  • Training and professional development.
  • Intergroup dialogue program.
  • Cultural competence into curriculum and co-curriculum.
  • Annual inclusive excellence forum.
  • Faculty and staff diversity program.
  • New Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) infrastructure.
  • Faculty mentoring and recognition initiative.

Recommendation #3

Develop the role of AVP for Inclusive Excellence and build an Office of Inclusive Excellence.

Description

Establish a meaningful diversity and inclusion role that is more than a symbolic figurehead and is well positioned to support DE&I efforts on all three campuses.

Potential Tactics

  • Title: “Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence.”
    • Holds AVP operative priorities.
    • Manages Office of Inclusive Excellence.
    • Establishes tripartite Strategic Diversity Leadership budget.
  • Consider important background characteristics for your new AVP.
  • Consider developing a divisional portfolio for the new diversity office.
  • Develop diversity crisis advisory team.

First Priorities

Recommendation #1 – As described above.

Recommendation #4:

Strengthen GSU’s institutional diversity brand in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Description

Create communication strategies to tell the positive narrative of diversity, with transparency and authenticity.

Potential Tactics

  • Benchmark institutions with strong websites, including U of M, RIT, Case, American.
  • Shift to more story-based, less crisis-response communication approach.
  • Build a campaign around the new narrative of inclusive excellence.
  • Regularly highlight stories of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Develop a clear plan for managing DE&I crisis communication.
  • Support the new AVP/Diversity Officer in messaging.
  • Use the new AVP hire to galvanize energy and excitement.
  • Establish a podcast, newsletters and other platforms to specifically drive the culture of Inclusive Excellence.

Recommendation #5

Elevate the strategic campus integration journey across Statesboro, Armstrong and Liberty campuses.

Description

Develop an approach to heal through the pain of consolidation, creating a new narrative that dovetails with this report and the new strategic plan.

Potential Tactics

  • Get senior leadership engaged in conversation about Inclusive Excellence, particularly at Armstrong.
  • Establish a working group to identify five greatest sticking points and work the challenge.
  • Leaders create forums for community members to discuss challenges and to problem-solve.

Implementation

Recommendation #6

Develop a campus-wide lateral diversity infrastructure in every school, college and divisional area.

Description

Build a campus-wide infrastructure of DE&I roles, processes and expectations to activate a consistent and meaningful commitment to change.

Potential Tactics

  • Implement a campus diversity crisis advisory team.
  • Establish point leaders on campus diversity, equity and inclusion by school, college and division on each campus.
  • Establish committees by school, college and division.
  • Set alignment plans by school, college and division.
  • Create support in both the offices of Development and Alumni Affairs.

Recommendation #7

Engage the campuses to develop a campus climate survey.

Description

Gather follow-up data to benchmark for the winter 2019 survey, to assess change and progress.

Potential Tactics

  • Develop a campus climate study
  • Set up legacy measures to establish time-based indicators to monitor progress.
  • Integrate this survey into the campus activation strategy.