The Diversity Initiative, launched last April by University President John J. DeGioia, established three working groups, each of which had an initial deadline of Nov. 1 to report their progress. Due to varying levels of progress, the deadlines have been revised, but the groups have made progress toward meeting their goals.
The initiative, which is co-chaired by University Provost James O’Donnell and Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president for institutional diversity and equity, is composed of [three groups that aim to improve the university’s approach to admissions and recruitment, the academic environment and student life for underrepresented students](https://ideaa.georgetown.edu/diversityinclusiveness/).
A meeting open to the campus community will be held the week after Thanksgiving for members of the community who would like to give feedback on the initiative. The leaders also have been encouraging students to voice their opinions on the online Facebook group, `Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiative,’ which had 346 members at press time.
According to Dr. Daniel Porterfield (CAS ’83), a co-chair of the admissions and recruitment working group along with Undergraduate Dean of Admissions Charles Deacon and Ryan Wilson (COL ’12), the working group is positioned to submit its final recommendations to DeGioia and O’Donnell before the final exam period begins.
“I am inspired by the combined commitment of student leaders, our Office of Admissions and our Office of Student Financial Services to building the very strongest community at Georgetown,” Porterfield said.
The working group on student recruitment and admissions met once every other week during the summer and at least once weekly during this school year to develop a substantial document of draft recommendations to send out to the larger campus community, according to Porterfield.
Specifically, the group will make recommendations to the university to ensure that all applicants considering Georgetown understand that the university seeks students who will contribute to, learn from and always respect the university’s multicultural community.
“Georgetown has to get minority students to apply and consider Georgetown as a possibility. It can do this by reaching out to hidden corners and targeting potential students,” said Yasmin Serrato (SFS ’13), a Georgetown University Student Association senator. “Georgetown is competing with other top schools for the top students, and it often comes down to financial aid.”
The working group for student life is also looking to identify improvements that the university can make in New Student Orientation, Residence Life programming and leadership development and mentoring for student clubs, according to its Web site.
The working group for academics is discussing questions of how Georgetown can best and most appropriately facilitate cross-cultural learning, dialogue and understanding in the classroom. The group’s recommendations on this front include the establishment of a one-credit course, Diversity and Social Justice. The proposal was initially intended to be a three-session series of classes in the fall semester with required readings. A lack of interest, mainly due to the concern over required readings, caused the proposed course to be pushed back in the academic calendar to the spring semester.
A town-hall meeting scheduled for Thursday Nov. 19, to discuss issues of diversity on campus has been postponed to a later date due to a lack of notice prior to the meeting.
“Our goal is to reach out to as many students, faculty and staff as possible, as the recommendations [that] emerge from this initiative will affect the entire community,” Candace Mosely (COL’ 07), project manager, said in an e-mail. “We desire to hear from you and to gain your feedback as we draft recommendations this year.”
Elizabeth Rowe contributed to this report.”