Towson University Faculty/Staff News • September 19, 2007

5 questions for . . . Debbie Seeberger

Photo by Kanji Takeno

TU launches 'transformative' diversity initiative

The special assistant to the president for diversity and equal opportunity explains how the Reflective Process for Diversity will profoundly alter the university and everyone connected with it.

What is the Reflective Process for Diversity?

It’s a presidential initiative and the most exciting diversity initiative TU has ever undertaken. We’ve modeled our framework on a document, N ow is the Time: Meeting the Challenge for a Diverse Academy, developed by the American Association of State Colleges (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) joint task force on diversity. And as far as I know, TU is the only U.S. university to implement it campuswide.  We're attracting national interest.

Doesn’t TU already have a diversity plan?  

We do, but people have told me that they and their colleagues don’t feel personally affected by it. Our goal is to increase awareness of and commitment to diversity issues across the campus. The Reflective Process for Diversity will provide faculty, staff and students with an opportunity to self-reflect and identify opportunities for personal change that will support departmental, divisional and institutional diversity goals. It’s a massive, campuswide undertaking that will increase awareness of and commitment to diversity issues at all levels.   

Does the initiative focus on race and ethnicity?

Race and ethnicity are only part of it. We’re also looking at gender, age, nationality, religion, sexual orientation and other diversity issues. It's clear that all students, faculty and staff will benefit when our campus becomes more inclusive.

Who’s in charge?

I’m thrilled to be leading this effort in collaboration with M. Paz Galupo, director of the Multicultural Institute, Academic Affairs, and with Art King, assistant vice president of Student Affairs for diversity. We began the process a little over a year ago when I brought the timeline and assessment plan to President’s Council. This fall we’re taking the Reflective Process for Diversity  to the Administration and Finance and Student Affairs divisions. During the spring term we’re going to the Department of Athletics and to the College of Education.

How is this going to change the university?

It’s going to foster a shift in the campus culture—a transformation of attitudes and understanding. We are really excited about the potential for transformative change.

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