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Progress on Diversity

Friday, September 30, 2016

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Dear Tulane Community,

We know the best learning, the best research and the best leaders invariably come from universities that reflect our multifaceted, multicultural and multilingual world. With that in mind, I want to share just a few of the accomplishments that the Presidential Commission on Race and Tulane Values has achieved over the last year.

"We want to be your school." That is our simple and direct message to the country's most accomplished, purpose-driven, daring and innovative students – those who are prepared to become leaders on our campuses and in our world. These students can be found everywhere from the Marigny to Miami, from Treme to Tacoma.

Some of these students can trace their family lineage back to the inaugural classes of Tulane, while others are first-generation collegians, students of color or students from other underrepresented groups. But, regardless of their zip codes or family history, the message remains the same.

"We want to be your school" is being delivered by our Office of Admission as they reach out to community organizations in New Orleans and in neighboring states to learn how to attract and retain the best students from diverse backgrounds. This message is being delivered as we partner with Say Yes to Education and numerous other national organizations to identify and recruit an academically accomplished student body that truly reflects the wonderful diversity of our world. It is a message we are backing up with increased scholarships, financial aid and application assistance for these students.

But recruiting a diverse student body will do little if our university is not welcoming and supportive of all. That's why our new Center of Academic Equity will provide learning resources specifically tailored to students of color and first-generation students.

We have increased funds for students who may experience financial emergencies, provided more funding for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and increased spending to help educate students, faculty and staff on issues related to diversity. We have also made it easier for students to report incidents of bias they may encounter on campus.

While Tulane is on par with its peers when it comes to faculty diversity, we seek improvements in this area as well. I recently hosted a retreat with our current faculty of color to discuss this priority and to enlist their help in building a more diverse faculty. I have also directed additional funding to support hiring more diverse faculty and ensure a bias-free recruitment process for both faculty and staff.

You can learn more about the ongoing efforts of the Presidential Commission on Race and Tulane Values website. But my real hope is that you will begin to see and experience evidence of the Commission's work throughout all of our campuses as we increase our academic strength through our diversity.

 

Signature of Mike Fitts