University of Kansas Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer talked with four of the university’s vice provosts about how KU was promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging following the DEIB office reorganization last year, which prompted backlash from Student Senate.
Vice provosts for faculty development, student affairs, academic success and DEIB talked about what their respective offices were doing to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their offices. Interim Vice Provost for DEIB D.A. Graham spoke about how KU was reimagining DEIB on campus following the reorganization.
“We’re at a significant moment of redefinition for DEIB here at KU,” Graham said. “Now is the time to articulate our values and create a shared strategy for ensuring those values guide our cultural transformation.”
Since starting in the role last winter, Graham has worked with leaders in all the major departments on campus and the deans of the different schools at KU to ensure each has their own position dedicated to promoting DEIB, he said.
“We’re having conversations with the deans and the vice provosts creating positions dedicated for folks for DEIB in the schools and the major divisions,” Graham said. “All of the deans and the vice provosts are on board, and some have already made the changes.”
KU is changing its approach to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, Bichelmeyer said.
“Each major division and school is going to have their own strategic diversity plan underneath the university’s diversity strategic plan,” Bichelmeyer said. “We are making sure each unit knows they have responsibility and it’s not just one office at KU that’s charged with making diversity and equity possible for everybody.”
The office of DEIB is also working on a new mandatory training for everyone at KU, similar to the sexual harassment prevention training students and staff are required to take every year. The office is also working on creating an associate vice provost position dedicated to advancing DEIB values among staff, Graham said.
KU named Kevin Joseph as the new interim director of the office of multicultural affairs and opened a new space for the center for sexuality and gender diversity, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham said. Both the OMA and center for sexuality and gender diversity were moved to student affairs from the office of DEIB in the reorganization.