In the next few weeks, University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity will appoint a committee to address diversity issues and create a new position, the “coordinator of diversity.”  McGinity laid out his plans in a memo to the UW community on Friday.

“Both of these things stem from some discussions that he’s been having for some period of months with people on campus,” says UW Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing, Chad Baldwin.  “He’s been having discussions with people from underrepresented and minority populations, students, faculty, staff, and has reached the conclusion that we need to do a couple things, at least to start with.”

Baldwin says that the first step will be the creation of a UW Diversity Strategic Planning Committee to develop a UW Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement Plan for the university.  “The exact membership hasn’t been determined,” says Baldwin, “but it will certainly be a cross-section of people from campus to establish some objectives for helping the university become a more diverse place, quite frankly.”

The new diversity coordinator, to be appointed while the committee’s plan takes shape, will report directly to the president.  The coordinator will work with the UW Diversity Strategic Planning Committee to help carry out the diversity plan, advise the president on pertinent issues, and work with members of the UW Executive Council “to advise and help carry out the plan that’s developed by the committee,” says Baldwin.

“UW currently has in place many measures to ensure and support diversity, and many people who are doing great work in this area,” wrote McGinity. “However, if we are going to recruit and retain the best students, staff and faculty, if we are going to be competitive as an institution in an increasingly global and diverse world, and if we are going to graduate students who are prepared to lead, to demonstrate cultural competency and to be successful in the world, then we can and must do more.”

“There are individuals on campus who have expressed concern that the university could be doing more to address issues of the campus environment as well as the need for a more diverse student body and employees,” says Baldwin.

“Though the state faces financial challenges, and despite the hiring freeze, I find campus discussions so compelling that I believe it is essential to begin a search for a leader now, rather than wait for a draft plan next semester,” said McGinity in Friday’s memo.

“The president did not announce a specific timetable, but I think we’ll see it unfold fairly quickly here; probably a matter of weeks rather than a matter of months,” says Baldwin.