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Tennessee Tech Plans To Increase Diversity In Student Population

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Tech Plans To Increase Diversity In Student Population

Tennessee Tech is working towards a long-term diversity goal, after creating a short-term plan to address diversity within departments.

President Phil Oldham said with minority students making up 17 percent of the campus population, the goal is to reach 22 percent. Oldham said there is not a set time frame, but would like to see this change in the next five years.

“A majority student from a rural community in the Upper Cumberland is better being educated in an environment where they’re exposed to different types of people and different ways of thinking,” Oldham said.

Oldham said in order to get these results, structural and behavioral change has to occur. In order to make Tech an attractive school to all students.

He said the school’s Diversity Committee will look at the limiting factors and address them one at a time.

“I think fundamentally, we all agree that the world we live in is a diverse, multi-faceted world,” Oldham said. “Our graduates have to compete in a very multi-lateral kind of fashion. So, they need to be prepared for that. They need to be exposed to different types of people, different types of thinking. So that they can compete in that world they’re going to enter.”

However, Oldham said Tech is not trying to make a political point with this effort. He said it is based on the feedback employers give about the type of employees they desire.

“We’re not located in a heavily diverse part of the country,” Oldham said. “Which means we’ve got to be even more deliberate in our actions and procedures to try to attract a diverse population.”

The diversity plans that Tech is moving forward with stem from the formation of a Diversity Committee on campus. The committee is made up of students, faculty and alumni.



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