Responsible for guiding and supporting academic affairs at the University of Redlands, Provost Kathy Ogren reiterated her longstanding commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in her remarks at the University’s recent Diversity Town Hall. Here are excerpts from her talk.
I’m the provost and chief academic officer at U of R, as well as the executive director of the Marin campus this year. I am in my 36th year as a faculty member, teaching in the departments of History, Race and Ethnic Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and in the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. …
A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion informs all aspects of my mentorship, leadership, and supervision, both a high level and sometimes at very specific levels. For example, I monitor all full-time faculty position advertisements and search processes to ensure we have reached beyond conventional position advertisements to encourage a greater diversity of recruitment pools—especially for faculty of color—through focused networks and employment postings. With the deans, I also ensure that we have written position descriptions that will enhance diverse content in our curriculum and diverse methodologies and fields of study in faculty scholarship and teaching.
I review non-faculty vacancies with supervisors to proactively encourage greater diversity in our overall hiring. Retention across the academic and non-academic areas of my portfolio remains a major concern, and I work actively to find budget dollars to retain employees, as well as partnering with Human Resources, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones, the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community, and the Equity and Title IX Office to address proposals that will foster a hospitable and inclusive climate at Redlands.
I meet individually with students and faculty to address their concerns or find ways to support DEI programming as well. Last year, I assembled a team to advance the Certificate in LGBTQ Leadership through the School of Continuing Studies. This summer, Graduate School of Theology Dean Jana Childers and I met with the school’s student group, Just Armour, to learn how to proactively support its community activism in the predominantly Black community of Marin City.
Whenever possible, I prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion program support for academic affairs areas. Recently, I have worked to ensure that we have institutional research support for the campus climate survey that is under way, provided staff support for the upcoming application to become a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and continuously encourage inclusive pedagogy career programming for Black students and alumni.
As provost, I am entrusted with the power of the podium, by which I mean that I speak to and explain institutional priorities often—in meetings, small groups, in writing—and publicly. In so doing, I hope always to lead with transparent commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In a recent Provost Newsletter, I exhorted all of us to identify any aspects of ourselves that may adversely affect the admission of students, hiring of faculty or staff, equitable treatment, or progress and achievement of persons of color within a diverse university.
This Diversity Town Hall and the strategic plan it will inform is a welcome contribution to these efforts; the deans and our academic affairs teams will give galvanizing support to this initiative.