Dialogue on Diversity - Respect the Conversation
January 21, 2016
Dear Loyola Faculty and Staff,
Happy New Year, and welcome back to the beginning of the spring semester after what I hope was a refreshing break.
Earlier this week, I sent a message to our students responding to the concerns they have–and we share–about the need to make Loyola a more diverse and inclusive institution. These important issues require a collaborative and sustained effort to address them in meaningful ways.
We begin this semester with a renewed focus on listening to each other in order to create an environment that promotes, encourages, and supports diversity. As a Jesuit, Catholic university, we are committed to welcoming an open exchange of ideas and fostering respect and understanding, especially when discussing and debating complex issues. In that spirit, we will center much of our communication and attention this spring on the theme Respect the Conversation. Our ambition to build a more just, humane, and sustainable world is the centerpiece of our new strategic plan, “Plan 2020,” and that effort must begin on our campuses and with our students.
I have asked Christopher Manning, PhD, an associate professor in our history department, undergraduate program director, and a longtime faculty member who is very familiar with our mission at Loyola, to join the President's Cabinet this semester and to serve as an advisor to me, and a liaison with students and the faculty, regarding diversity issues. Dr. Manning will help us think critically about how we can address the needs of students of color on our campuses.
Over the break, Winifred Williams, PhD, our vice president for human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Dr. Manning, and others created a new Diversity and Inclusion at Loyola website. This site is designed to serve as a valuable resource for students and our entire University community and includes information pertinent to our diversity and inclusion goals, services, programming, and opportunities to get involved in this important work. If there are events, resources, or services in your area that relate to diversity, but which are not yet linked to, or included on this website, please let Lorraine Fitzgerald (firstname.lastname@example.org) in my office know so that we can include that information.
I hope you will be able to attend the State of the University addresses in early February, which will include an update on these issues. The Water Tower Campus address will take place on Monday, February 8, from 11 a.m. to noon (Corboy Law Center, Kasbeer Hall) and the Lake Shore Campus address will be held on Tuesday, February 9, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sullivan Center, Galvin Auditorium). For those who cannot attend one of these addresses in person, we will be live streaming the Lake Shore Campus event. More details on the live stream will be communicated in the coming weeks.
We are looking forward to a busy semester and to working closely with our faculty and staff to ensure a transformational experience for our students.
John P. Pelissero, PhD