Appalachian State University has made many advancements in our diversity and inclusion work in recent years. There is still much to be done to elevate the voices and representation of marginalized populations on our campus, and we are committed to persevering as these cultural and systemic changes continue to take hold.
An accountability team, made up of students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators and members of the Board of Trustees will help our university remain focused and accountable.
During regular Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team meetings, members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet will report on progress and challenges related to the initiatives within their areas of responsibility. The accountability team will provide feedback, discuss challenges, and help celebrate successes.
Summary reports from these meetings will be shared via regular updates to campus and posted below.
Our work builds upon the many good efforts that have been underway across our campus and will help shine a light on the initiatives and individuals pushing this work to the forefront. Each change will help foster a more inclusively welcoming environment for underrepresented populations that ultimately benefits our entire campus community.
Diversity and Inclusion Accountability meeting updates
Nov. 12, 2020
On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, the Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team, which includes Chancellor Everts and members of the BlackatAppState Collective, met to discuss the faculty diversity recruitment program, practices and initiatives — the first of many forthcoming presentations to the team that will detail the university’s progress on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
The meeting was moderated by Director of Intercultural Student Affairs Lamont Sellers, with questions facilitated by senior business management and supply chain major Elijah Diarrassouba and Black Student Association President Kyndavee Bichara.
The Chief Diversity Officer and representatives from Academic Affairs and Human Resources provided presentations about the university’s ongoing collaboration and significant progress in its recruitment and hiring practices.
- Chief Diversity Officer Willie Fleming gave a presentation about implicit bias in the recruitment process, including how to review position descriptions to ensure the language is accurate and inclusive.
- Dr. James Denniston, coordinator of faculty diversity recruitment and inclusion initiatives in the Division of Academic Affairs, presented information about faculty search committee resources and toolkits. Notably, he shared that Interim Provost Heather Norris gave directives in Oct. 2020 for departments to, among other tasks, continue refining recruitment plans, rubrics, interview questions, departmental search committee policies and position descriptions.
- Shelley Leder, the lead talent acquisition specialist in the Office of Human Resources, shared specific action steps in the university’s recruitment process that ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are being considered.
The group discussed ways to build on the current recruitment and retention strategies and practices. Specifically, Chancellor Everts addressed a question about advocating for resources for the university at the state level and provided a brief overview of her advocacy efforts for state funding, which include changing App State's peer comparison group.
Moving forward, members of the Chancellor's Cabinet will continue their work and report to the Accountability Team regarding progress, challenges and plans for accomplishing specific action items. The Accountability Team meets monthly.
Oct. 8, 2020
On Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, Appalachian leaders and representatives from the BlackAtAppState Collective established a steering committee composed of three members of the BlackAtAppState Collective, three black student-athletes and three App State leaders. Each month, this committee will meet to review the progress of campus units tasked with addressing the identified diversity and inclusion initiatives. The committee will then present monthly reports to the larger Accountability Team — which encompasses nearly 60 people, including faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni and community members. The steering committee is working to schedule its first official meeting.
Sept. 23, 2020
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, Appalachian leaders met with representatives from the BlackAtAppState Collective to finish discussing each of the identified initiatives. The group discussed approximately half of the initiatives at the Sept. 4, 2020 meeting. These meetings are intended to ensure both groups have a shared understanding of the purpose of each initiative and its associated engagement for implementation. The next meeting of these groups is being scheduled, during which the groups will discuss the creation of a permanent steering committee that will review the progress of the campus units completing the identified initiatives.
Sept. 4, 2020
On Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, members of the BlackAtAppState Collective met with Appalachian leaders — specifically, Chief Diversity Officer Willie Fleming, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J.J. Brown, Interim Provost Heather Norris, Director of Wellness and Prevention Services Alex Howard, Department of Student Engagement and Leadership Jeff Cathey and Interim Dean of Students Alan Rasmussen. The group talked through half of the identified initiatives, which reflect the BlackAtAppState Collective’s list of demands as well as existing and additional university initiatives. Members of the Collective shared additional thoughts and engaged with Appalachian leaders in discussions about the initiatives. The group will finish discussing the second half of the initiatives during the next meeting and will also continue conversations about the purpose of the Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team.
Aug. 14, 2020
A small group from the Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team met on Aug. 14, 2020 to review progress and solidify next steps. In the leadup to this meeting, Chancellor’s Cabinet members met with members of the BlackAtAppState Collective to discuss concerns resulting from the first meeting of the Accountability Team on July 21, which is detailed below. Prior to the next Accountability Team meeting, members of the BlackAtAppState Collective will meet with a small group of Chancellor's Cabinet and Student Affairs representatives to set mutual expectations for the meeting, determine the items to be addressed and discuss in more detail the initiatives shared by the Collective.
July 21, 2020
The Chancellor’s Cabinet held a meeting to bring together a Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team on July 21, 2020. The meeting’s central purpose was to acknowledge each item in a petition to university leadership from a group called BlackAtAppState, identify additional university strategic diversity and inclusion priorities, and present the action plan for addressing these collectively identified priorities and their broader themes.