Message from the Chief Diversity Officer
Dear App State Community,
As we begin a new semester and a new year. I’m pleased to provide you with an update on App State’s universitywide diversity and inclusion initiatives.
App State’s Diversity and Inclusion reports
As Chancellor Everts shared in December, I had the privilege of presenting App State’s Diversity and Inclusion reports for 2020-21 and 2021-22 to the Board of Trustees during their December meeting. My presentation, which is available on the Board of Trustees website, shared some of our DEI accomplishments across campus during the past two years.
Commemorating and celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Next month, App State will continue a longstanding tradition of celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with two signature events that continue key aspects of his legacy: a day of service and a distinguished speaker focused on changing our world for the better.
Many recognize and honor Dr. King’s life of commitment and service to others by dedicating time to serve their communities in his honor. For more than two decades, inspired by Dr. King, App State’s students have come together to serve the local community in his name. On Feb. 18, App State students will serve with local community partners, reflect on social issues affecting North Carolina’s High Country region and engage in group discussions about racial inequality and Dr. King’s impact as a servant leader. Students can register to participate in this Mobilize the Mountains Day of Service event via this dedicated Engage event page.
Fewer people know that Dr. King, informed by his own health challenges and firsthand experience with health inequity, and inspired by the many people for whom he advocated, was committed to improving the situation for others. He referred to health inequity as “the most shocking and inhumane” of all forms of inequality, referencing the chronic health conditions impacting marginalized communities as well as specific acts of violence committed against Black people.
Today, achieving health equity continues to be a challenge for marginalized and rural communities in the United States, exacerbated by the global pandemic. This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. speaker is Daniel Dawes, J.D., a widely respected public health leader, health equity and policy expert, educator and researcher who currently serves as senior vice president of Global Health and executive director of the Global Health Equity Institute at Meharry Medical College. Like Dr. King, Dawes’ personal experience with the American healthcare system informs his passion and dedication to understanding and addressing the root causes of health inequities. We are looking forward to his presentation on Feb. 2, which is topical and important to examine in a higher education setting. Find more information about this event on the 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration event page.
Upcoming programming in Spring 2023
The Office of Diversity, working with a variety of campus partners, has a number of exciting programs and activities lined up for this spring semester. A preview is below and more information about all of these events will be shared soon.
- In February, App State will launch our Campus Climate Survey for employees and students. We will conduct this confidential survey every three years to better understand the experiences and perceptions of our campus community members. We will use data from the survey to help shape our future DEI goals and programming, so please be sure to make your voice heard by completing the survey.
- On March 29, App State will host DEI Connect. This inaugural research symposium on diversity, equity and inclusion will showcase DEI-related research minitalks and poster presentations and include a skills roundtable and networking opportunities. We will begin taking presentation proposals next month.
- Planning is underway for our 22nd Annual Diversity Celebration, which will take place April 1-30. The planning committee encourages participation from academic departments and programs, student groups and individuals for this monthlong showcase. We invite campus members to use the Diversity Celebration Call for Programming form to request inclusion of your event or program as a part of this year’s Diversity Celebration.
- On April 26, our DEI events for the academic year will culminate with the Chancellor’s Awards for Inclusive Excellence. We are currently accepting nominations for this year’s awards through Feb. 28. Review the award criteria and submit a nomination.
I’m looking forward to an exciting semester of events and activities, as we unite our community in celebrating our differences as well as those values we hold in common.
Jamie Parson, J.D.
Chief Diversity Officer