In Augusta University’s new strategic plan, Creating a Legacy Like No Other, the university emphasizes that diversity, equity and inclusion is an “interwoven priority” — that is, a value that should be integrated into every strategic priority the institution pursues over the next five years and beyond.
To effectively integrate this institutional priority, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion developed a DEI “blueprint” this summer to offer practical guidance on how to implement DEI initiatives outlined in the university’s strategic plan.
The blueprint — a 20-page guide — outlines all five strategic priorities (learning, discovery, student success, stewardship and community) defined in Creating a Legacy, and lists tactics to realize the DEI opportunities within them all.
ODI hopes the blueprint will provide academic and administrative units at Augusta University with a structure to initiate, implement and measure DEI efforts systematically, consistently and comprehensively throughout the institution.
“This plan will strengthen our culture of inclusive excellence by supporting present-day, effective DEI initiatives and championing new and creative concepts through assessable achievement and institutional-wide responsibility,” said Dr. Garrett Green, interim chief diversity officer and director of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement at Augusta University.
Kiondra Broadway, deputy chief diversity officer at AU, sees the blueprint as a roadmap for campus units to make change.
“The DEI blueprint serves as a ‘best practice guide’ for the AU community to strengthen the DEI landscape across the campus while fostering an inclusive learning environment among students, faculty and staff,” said Broadway.
“This tool can enable each unit to readily identify which DEI strategic actions align with their programs, as well as how to implement the suggested best practices and applications.”
The plan will further help steer and track the university’s DEI-related ambitions, according to Creating a Legacy’s project leadership.
“As the university works to implement its new strategic plan, this blueprint will help us ensure we’re prioritizing DEI efforts in the way we should,” said Neil J. MacKinnon, PhD, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.
Mickey Williford, project leader for Creating a Legacy and vice president for institutional effectiveness, concurs.
“As one of the university’s three interwoven priorities, ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ work is intended to permeate every part of AU. This blueprint will help us make that happen,” said Williford.
The blueprint complements other strategic plans on campus as well.
Dr. Susan Davies, vice president of enrollment and student affairs at Augusta University, is the project leader of AU’s 2022-27 Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, which connects recruitment with student success and retention.
“As Augusta University continues toward our aspirational imperative of 16,000 students by 2030, we’ll prioritize the recruitment and retention of students from all walks of life,” said Davies.
“We continue to introduce programming that supports students from diverse backgrounds, including students with disabilities, students of color, first-generation students, nontraditional students, military and veteran students, commuter students, international students, and students of other minoritized backgrounds. The more we can do to promote a climate of inclusion on our campus, the more learning can occur and the more prepared our graduates will be to serve their communities.”
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers coaching and consultation to units looking to implement the DEI blueprint within their infrastructure. Email ODI for details.