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New Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council starts work

by Luanne Williams

Last month, Wingate University President Rhett Brown charged Chief Financial Officer Craig Addison and Provost Jeff Frederick with helping Wingate reach its potential as a truly just, diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.

This week, the pair announced the formation of a nine-member Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council that will lead the effort via initiatives, working groups, professional development, discussions and other endeavors with the goal to create an ongoing dialogue aimed at improving campus culture and ensuring that voices are heard and progress made toward lasting change.

Serving on the council, led by Addison and Frederick, will be Jennifer Armentrout, executive director of global engagement; Stacey Harris, assistant vice president of marketing and events; Steven Hyland, associate professor of history; Marcus Kirkland, director of diversity and inclusion for athletics; Candace Lapan, assistant professor of psychology; and students Lilian Martinez and Iyanna Salters, a student advocate for the Latino Association and president of the Black Student Union, respectively.

In addition to building an outcomes-based strategy and identifying stakeholders and partners, one of the early goals of the group will be to inventory diversity and inclusion work already underway at Wingate.

“While we have much to do, we want to acknowledge that much is already being done, thanks to passionate people across campus,” said Addison. “The Collaborative for the Common Good has a Cultural Leadership Initiative and holds weekly Good Gatherings. Advancement recognizes a Champion of Diversity as part of our annual alumni awards, and we have a newly created people of color alumni directory.”

Addison also pointed to the tremendous work of the Wayfind Program and the university’s relationship with Upward Bound and said both programs are making meaningful change in the lives of young people. 

He said the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council has hard work ahead of it, but that he is excited about the journey and that the group will issue regular updates to keep the campus community apprised of its progress.

The council’s first meeting is today.

Wingate University cultivates an inclusive and welcoming environment. The University affirms principles of fairness and social justice. We believe a diverse academy supports greater learning outcomes, enhances the campus ethos, prepares students for a multicultural workforce and society, and contributes to self-reflection and growth.

Aug. 6, 2020