Diversity Committee Meeting – October 19, 2006
• Trunk or Treat: Kawanna announced that the Committee’s participation in the Trunk or Treat event had been confirmed. The event will be on Monday, October 30, 2006 from 5:30 to 7:00, though trunk decoration begins at 4:30. Kawanna has confirmed with Jill that development funds are available to help with purchasing of candy and non-candy treats. Kawanna will send out an official call for volunteers and schedule a planning meeting early next week to get things in order. Teresa Walker is willing to donate decorations for the event.
• Culture Corner: Kawanna mentioned that a call for suggestions for the Spring and Summer Culture Corners were sent out today and that 2 responses had already come in. Maud will join the committee at their next meeting (November 2nd) to run the vote for the 2 new themes. The focus of Appalachia was still a strong frontrunner in consideration. If any member of the committee has a suggestion they can send them to Kawanna or to Maud.
• JCLC: Kawanna, LaVerne, and Shantel shared their experiences from their recent conference attendance at the Joint Conference for Librarians of Color. The three attended a number of sessions with the main focus on Recruitment, Retention, and the Number of Diverse peoples in the field. The group shared information on a session called “Diversity Counts” led by Tracie Hall, formerly of ALA which offered the numbers of minorities who were not only entering the field but also leaving the field. The full report is available online: http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=News&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=140188 (press release) and http://www.ala.org/diversitycounts (report). They also shared information on a program about residency programs led by former residents at Kansas State.
2. Sub-Committee Selections: Kawanna announced that only five people had selected sub-committees at this time and reminded everyone that they needed to select a sub-committee soon so that sub-committee could begin to work on which goals they needed to focus on.
3. Criteria for Supporting Campus Events: Kawanna asked the committee what they thought of the idea of having a list of criteria that they could use to select which campus events we would support as a committee. The suggestion originally came from Rita in light of the request for funding from the BCPC for the Sister Soulja event. Many people had asked what the lecture would be about, what type of funding were they really looking for, etc., and we had been unable to fingure this out before hand. Rita suggested that they be more like guidelines to help the Committee focus on which events they should support. It was suggested that this could be a project of the Outreach sub-committee.
4. Committee Goals:
• Diversity Climate Assessment Survey: Committee Goal? The committee discussed whether the Climate Assessment Survey should be placed as a current goal of the Committee considering that the survey itself was on hold for reissuing due to time constraints at the Libraries. It was suggested by Tiffani Conner (who wants to reissue the survey as a project) that it be included as a goal so that future efforts to reissue would have more backing. The committee discussed this possibility and suggested 2 things: Tiffani could include the survey on her own personal goals; or the goals could be presented to the Libraries’ planning committee for consideration as a library-wide goal since it has much father reaching effects than just the Committee. The Committee did not feel comfortable placing a goal that had no definite time line into the official goals since future committees might decide not to focus on that goal.
• Libraries’ Diversity Plan: Discussion of goals included by Committee and future goals: Jill asked that the Committee take a look at the Diversity Plan from the Libraries to see the things listed from the previous year. The Libraries’ plan was listed as a best practice on campus with six other units, but the Diversity Council had suggestions for goals 1 and 3, especially in terms of benchmarks. Jill would like the Committee to look at the list and let her know the following:
1. Which goals need to be removed or reworded to fit with the Committee’s goals?
2. Which goals need to be added (what things are we doing as a Committee or at the Libraries that should be included)?
3. What can we do to offer more concrete evaluation of the goals listed in section 1 and 3?
4. What goals from other units listed as best practice could we collaborate on or also do at the Libraries?
The updated plan will need to be turned in on November 15th. Kawanna asked the Committee to please take a look at the plan and the other plans listed and to send suggestions, thoughts and comments to her by the November 2nd meeting so the Committee would be able to discuss things and in turn share these with Jill in time to update the plan.
The Libraries’ Diversity Plan is located online at: http://oed.admin.utk.edu/docs/library_draft.pdf
The remaining best practices plans can be found at: http://oed.admin.utk.edu/diversityplan/bestpractices/
• Final review of goals currently being considered: The Committee then discussed the goals that were under review for the new year and made the following decisions:
LIBRARY STAFF ENRICHMENT
Provide a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive work environment for library staff by sponsoring educational and training opportunities and other activities.
An additional description or wording will be added to reflect the benchmarks of the Diversity Plan: “Determine benchmarks for evaluating programming.”
•Continue to create opportunities for staff to learn about diversity-related issues and topics using a cultural enrichment discussion series. Encourage exploration and tolerance of individual differences and promote openness to learning from others.
•Offer programs that will address the Libraries’ services to individuals with disabilities.
•Provide opportunities for social interaction and communication.
Original suggestion accepted. Goal will now read: “Continue to provide opportunities for social interaction and communication as a means of celebrating our diversity.”
•Continue to sponsor the Libraries’ recognition program for library student workers.
After much discussion the original suggestion with slight modification was accepted. The goal will now read: “Continue to sponsor the Libraries’ recognition program for library student workers. The committee will also begin to explore opportunities to collaborate with other committees and groups in the Libraries in order to better support this program.”
Other discussion related to this topic took place earlier in the meeting. Many expressed concerns that this was not a “Diversity” activity and wondered why we continued to do it. Suggestions for changing this goal included creating a separate committee (similar to the Spirit Awards and other Library Committees) that come together for this one specific purpose once a year. This suggestion would need to go through the Dean as well as checking to see what the interest level of the Library was. It was suggested that we survey library staff, especially supervisors to determine how this event is viewed (do they see it as important and necessary? Would they volunteer to support or help with the event?). It was suggested that the Committee should definitely collaborate with others on the event but make sure that our part was focused on diversity in some way. It was suggested that the event was originally thought of as a method of recruiting our diverse student workers into the field of librarianship.
•Develop a means to welcome new library employees, providing them with contacts and other useful information for settling in at the Libraries.
Original suggestion accepted. Goal will now read: “Work in collaboration with the Libraries’ Training Office to welcome new library employees, including planning activities and events that will provide them with contacts and other useful information for settling in at the Libraries.”
OUTREACH & COLLABORATION – This section of our goals will need further discussion and was not covered in this meeting. Questions about the title of this goals’ section as well as possible new headings and a new way to divide the section were considered. If anyone has ideas for how to combine these goals or reword them, please share with the rest of the Committee for consideration. The main question posed was whether the information about the University’s Ready for the World Initiative should be moved to the main description for this section rather than being a bullet point as many of the outreach activities undertaken by the Committee fit in the University’s Ready for the World Initiative.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: It was decided that this section of our goals should be deleted and that the 3 bullets should be dispersed to two other sections. Bullet 1 will become a Staff Enrichment goal. Bullets 2 and 3 will become Outreach goals.
RECRUITMENT: It was suggested that the goal related to the School of Information Sciences be deleted from this section as collaborations with the school are included in the Outreach goals. A change was made to the final goal in this section, related to the promotion of the non-discrimination clause. It was decided that a more generic and over-arching goal that covered all UT policies (including the non-discrimination clause) would be used. That goal now reads as: “Promote awareness of UT policies and procedures that may affect the recruitment of a diverse university community.
The reworked goals will be available online soon, and listed as draft until the Outreach section can be finalized and others have had a chance to weigh in on other decisions made.
The next meeting was scheduled for November 2, 2006 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm in Hodges 605.
Respectfully submitted by Kawanna Bright, 10/19/06