I am incredibly excited to introduce the Fall 2022 edition of Taking Action, the biannual magazine from the Office of Institutional Diversity at Oregon State University.
Before previewing some of the incredible stories in this issue, some (re)-introductions are in order. I am honored to take up the role as OSU’s vice president and chief diversity officer. Following 14 months in the interim position, I am grateful to President Jayathi Murthy and the entire OSU community to be selected for this important role.
I arrived at OSU in 2015 and over my seven years here, I’ve participated in and witnessed OSU grappling with essential questions related to equity — how do we enhance OSU’s access mission and meet our obligation to ensure success for all learners and communities served by the university? We’ve become a stronger university for the many efforts driven by these conversations that have produced tangible positive outcomes for individuals and communities.
Two things can be true at the same time: OSU has made great progress to advance equity and inclusion, and it has a long way to go. Embedding equity and inclusion across the university is everyone’s work, and the OSU community is excited to embrace the challenge of adapting to serve a state, nation and world that is constantly changing, increasingly complex and deeply interconnected. The opportunity to build relationships and collaborate with partners throughout the university and beyond to advance our important efforts is one I don’t take for granted.
Some of these initiatives and community partners are highlighted in this issue. You’ll find a story highlighting the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in higher education and opened doors for participation of women, queer and trans students and community members in colleges and universities nationwide. OSU is spending this anniversary year reflecting on the law and the many ways it has shaped OSU’s story.
We’re excited to celebrate the hiring of three new faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts — Luhui Whitebear, David Lewis and Patricia Fifita — whose cutting-edge scholarship and teaching is creating pathways for Native and Indigenous students, and all learners, to engage Indigeneity in the Pacific Northwest and beyond through the new Indigenous Studies minor.
You’ll learn more about the first annual State of Black Affairs Summit organized by the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs held last May. The summit brought together educational, community and industry partners at the OSU Portland Center to consider the important work of elevating and advancing Black humanity and success throughout the state, placing OSU at the center of this vital conversation. Planning for this year's summit, to be held on May 25, is already underway.
Finally, we will check in with Willie Elfering, director of the Military Veterans Resource Center, who works with an incredible group of students to serve and support student veterans and their families at OSU. Willie’s work to enhance the experience of veterans has resulted in a university community that is tight-knit and deeply committed to the success of its members.
We hope you will enjoy these stories and the many more in this edition. We’ll catch up with you again in the spring!
Scott A. Vignos, J.D.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer