NSU releases DEI Strategic Plan

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity has developed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan. The plan provides a comprehensive outline of the university’s commitment to increase diversity among students faculty, staff, and administration. In addition, the plan will integrate diversity and inclusion throughout the academic curriculum, ensure that diversity and inclusion are reflected in policies, procedures, budgeting, and university operations and lastly foster a more inclusive campus environment.

NSU’s Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Dr. Michael T. Snowden said the five-year document is “a roadmap or compass which our University will use to guide our policy, practice and programs.”

“The plan is intended to invoke a sense of shared commitment to what we are doing in the DEI space,” Snowden said. “The important thing is we do the work and transfer the written policy into tangible action, hopefully for the betterment of the institution.”

NSU first began discussing a diversity plan in 2005 and developed a plan that was adopted in 2010. That plan laid out goals for diversity planning, needs assessment, cultural change through campus activities, intentional recruiting for diversity, and retention strategies. In 2016, administrators appointed a diverse group of students, faculty and staff to a steering committee that created the Center for Inclusion and Diversity to provide a welcoming environment for all students and advocate for minority and marginalized populations.

To further understand the perceptions of inclusion and diversity on campus, in 2018, the committee distributed a university-wide climate survey to identify specific diversity needs at NSU. The following year, a Diversity Planning Team developed strategic, measurable goals to increase diversity and improve inclusivity at NSU. Snowden joined the NSU staff in 2020 as the university’s vice president of Inclusion and Diversity to coordinate efforts that foster a sense of institutional belonging and promote cultural competence.

Now that the five-year strategic plan is in place, Snowden is also implementing a framework of measurable goals to note benchmarks in access and equity, academic engagement, environment, and infrastructure. The plan endeavors to engage with students and alumni of color through a speaker series and academic programming in Indigenous, Black and Creole studies.

Snowden will visit with campus constituency groups which include Faculty Senate, the Dean’s Council and Student Government Association to share an overview of the plan and answer any questions.

The plan can be accessed at: https://www.nsula.edu/diversity/.