As you know, we began this academic year with a stronger focus on diversity and inclusion. Our incoming class is the most diverse in the university’s history, and this fall we added more specificity on our diversity and inclusion beliefs in relation to the university’s core values, which were established in 2006. We also hosted our first Husker Dialogues event for incoming students, and we established the Diversity Programming Excellence fund. In addition to those efforts and many others, we began working last year with leading national research firm Halualani & Associates to complete a campus wide diversity analysis at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The analysis will be completed in two phases. Phase one consists of a data benchmarking that compares Nebraska to five peer institutions on five broad dimensions of diversity and inclusion. Phase two is a comprehensive mapping of existing campus resources related to diversity and inclusion.
We recently received the results of the benchmarking analysis, and I’m sharing the results with you because I believe it’s vital that our campus community have a clear picture of our current state. Halualani & Associates will be here in Lincoln Nov. 21 to host a forum to provide more context and information on what you see in the benchmarking report. In the meantime, I would encourage you to take some time to read the results, available online at http://diversity.unl.edu/diversity-analysis. As you will no doubt see, we have some great work occurring, yet we have a lot of important progress to make.
To quickly move forward with that work, we’ve asked Halualani to come to Lincoln to launch the mapping of campus resources, which begins Nov. 21. I strongly encourage you to participate in this upcoming mapping process to help draw as accurate and holistic a picture of our current efforts as possible so we can most effectively improve upon them. As we get closer to the mapping, we’ll share more information on how you can get involved. Given the high demand among higher education institutions for Halualani & Associates' services, I’m excited that we are able to move forward with our mapping yet this fall. Enlisting outside experts is an opportunity to examine our ongoing work with fresh eyes, and that’s important in ensuring we focus where we can make the most progress. Once the Halualani & Associates has completed phase two of their work, we will have a comprehensive understanding of our gaps related to diversity and inclusion and our strongest opportunities for improvement. I’m confident we can move quickly to close some of those gaps, and importantly, we will incorporate diversity and inclusion into our university’s long-term strategic plan, which will be developed over the next year.
Our goal is to ensure that diversity and inclusion are part of who we are and a way of life here at Nebraska. I’m personally committed for the long-term to enhancing diversity and inclusion. I am pleased that we are taking specific steps to continue to make progress during this 2016-17 academic year and beyond.