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Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity offers new initiative

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June 26, 2012

Georgia College’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity will introduce a new initiative throughout the 2012-2013 academic year to increase awareness about diverse groups on campus and in the community.

“Catalyst for Inclusive Excellence: OIED staff members: Emmanuel Little, Annette Johnson, Jennifer Graham, Dr. Veronica Womack and Terry Kessler.OIED staff members: Emmanuel Little, Annette Johnson, Jennifer Graham, Dr. Veronica Womack and Terry Kessler.Leading the Transformation” is the office’s yearlong approach to address diversity’s significant role in the global world.

“Our office aims to help move the university community forward on issues of diversity, inclusion and cultural competence,” said Dr. Veronica Womack, the university’s interim director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) and associate professor of government and sociology. “With the help of students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members, we’re working to promote and support a culture of inclusion and tolerance throughout the university community — from admissions and retention of students to recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty and staff to the curriculum and academic programming. We also want to strengthen our relationship with the Middle Georgia community.”

The initiative takes a three-prong approach to strengthen awareness about diversity at the university:

  • Students will serve as diversity peer educators leading diversity discussions during campus events;
  • Faculty, staff and administrators will have opportunities to participate in engaging workshops about campus inclusion; and
  • Community members will receive chances to join diversity-building conversations with Georgia College faculty, staff, students and guest speakers.

“We are now in a global world where the importance of diversity and inclusion are magnified, and the greater your understanding of difference the better the chances of success,” Womack said. “Our goal as part of a public institution is to help prepare our students for a diverse workforce during the 21st century and for our campus to continue to respect and celebrate differences.”  

Student volunteers have trained with diversity resource organization Anti-Defamation League of Atlanta and traveled to New York City’s National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education to learn about and discuss diversity issues constructively.

“Our students are well prepared to focus on and talk about diversity on campus this year,” said Womack. “These student leaders will develop creative ways to apply what they have learned this summer, starting with Week of Welcome to help educate incoming freshmen.”

Supported by the Office of the President and the President’s Commission on Diversity, OIED promotes diversity and inclusion on campus. It provides training, resources and events to help prevent discriminatory practices based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic.

OIED also works with both the campus and local community to develop and maintain all-embracing partnerships and student programs committed to equal opportunities and treatment.

“We’re connecting to every department on campus in some way,” said Womack. “We plan to provide various opportunities through this initiative to help the campus and local community recognize the importance of taking action to ensure we achieve a diverse and welcoming culture at Georgia College. I am excited about working under Vice President for Administration and Operations Dr. Paul Jones’ leadership because he has been so instrumental in diversity initiatives like this one at Georgia College.”

Visit to learn more about OIED.

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.