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Tennessee Tech Creates New Position To Increase Diversity

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Tech Creates New Position To Increase Diversity

Tennessee Tech will select a Diversity Champion for every academic college and administration unit.

President Phil Oldham said the Diversity Champions have been identified, and will begin meeting as a group and training. Oldham said he anticipates the university will get the Diversity Champions program fully functional by the Spring.

“We’ve got to get moving, we’ve talked about diversity on this campus for years actually,” Oldham said. “And not seen a lot of progress and so it’s really time to quit talking about it and see some results.”

Oldham said he asked for the school’s Diversity Committee to create a coherent plan with ideas to move the needle. He said the Diversity Champions will work within their department or college to set goals and priorities.

“Their goal individually would be to work with their unit, department or college to set some priorities, goals,” Oldham said. “Recognize opportunities where they could enhance diversity within their unit.”

Collectively, Oldham said they will work to set agendas and form campus wide strategies.

“The group then interacts more globally on campus to help set agendas and strategies,” Oldham said. “For how we can improve diversity and reach diversity goals, universally across campus.”

Oldham said he wanted the Diversity Committee to focus initially on immediate changes that could be made. However, he said that while Diversity Champions are an immediate goal, it’s about establishing a position that will continue this goal into the future.

“The idea is really simple,” Oldham said. “That is, you’ve got somebody at the unit level that is thinking about improving diversity within that unit on a regular basis. It’s not a one time thing, it’s not an episodic thing. It’s a continual focus and presence around diversity.”

Oldham said this is not political decision for Tech, but based on employers telling the university that they want to hire more diverse, global employees. The Diversity Committee began presenting ideas to President Oldham in Fall of 2020.


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