Dear Samford Community,
The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives stands with the Black community and the efforts therein to achieve genuine equity and equality. We believe in the gifts and talents of our Black students, faculty and staff and commit to guiding the Samford community in supporting and encouraging their work.
The goal of our office is to advance efforts that engage the Samford community in multicultural curricular and co-curricular development while promoting a variety of campus events that enhance cross-cultural initiatives and celebrate diversity and inclusion while promoting respect for others. Attached is a living document that includes a preliminary summary of diversity efforts from our office and other areas of campus. Please take a moment to review this list and familiarize yourself with the work being done throughout the Samford community. We recognize this document is not a comprehensive list of all recent initiatives to advance racial diversity at Samford. You are encouraged to share additional efforts from your area of campus by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we move forward, Provost Hardin has committed to requiring implicit bias training for all search committee members prior to launching a faculty search. Additionally, we will include diversity training for all employees at the beginning of the semester. This step is especially important as we work to ensure the campus is an environment that is conducive for all students to learn and live.
In addition to the good work underway, I am pleased to share with you that we will be leading a new task force being developed to continue to work toward reconciliation and to recognize the impact of Black Americans and other underrepresented groups at Samford University. Our work will commence immediately and will result in actionable recommendations to be made to the university president and vice presidents. Recommendations will:
- advance the University’s commitment to promote and support racial diversity and racial inclusion across campus;
- ensure the success of all students by creating and maintaining a campus community of equity, respect, and understanding through education;
- support minority employees and students by addressing real or perceived barriers to success within the Samford community.
Our areas of focus will include: campus training and education, hiring processes and compensation, curriculum development and delivery, promotion and tenure, vendor contracts, and the recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff. We will also be exploring ways to better support the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our students and employees of color.
The task force will be comprised of faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, trustees and community partners who will join together to educate and affect change on our campus. The formation of this group is an important next step to ensuring continued progress and to implementing actions that will build a more diverse community. If you have ideas or suggestions for the task force to consider, please share those with me.
I appreciate your ongoing involvement and support as we unite together toward a common goal of leading with love and moving our university forward. I will be sharing ongoing updates with you in the future.
Please pray for our campus and this work ahead.
Denise J. Gregory, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost, Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives