What an honor and privilege it is to serve as the first Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Oregon State University. I am excited to build on the excellent work that has already been accomplished at OSU. This is an important time in the university’s history; it is a time when Oregon State celebrates its first 150 years, and we look forward to what the next 150 years will bring. I am proud to lead the team in the Office of Institutional Diversity, some you will meet in this publication. As President Ed Ray said in his appointment, the position of Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer was created “to oversee institutional change and strategic initiatives to help advance Oregon State University as a community characterized in all we do by inclusive excellence.”

This is the first in a series of publications designed to celebrate the excellent work that happens on our campus and beyond by our faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners. We will tell these stories with the pride that comes from being a member of the OSU community as we celebrate these accomplishments and the excellence of an Oregon State education and experience. We will share your stories of the opportunities you create for students, staff and faculty to thrive, along with the transformational nature of your work locally, nationally and around the world. We hope to communicate the ways in which your work has had a life-changing impact on our community of scholars and the broader public.

I’ve observed that Oregon State is a place focused on innovation and excellence. You will find that the staff in the Office of Institutional Diversity has this same purpose and vision. Our efforts will focus on the five goals outlined in our strategic plan for 2018-23.

We have accomplished a great deal already this year. In addition to developing an institutional diversity strategic plan, we have reconfigured the President’s and Provost’s Leadership Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This council has reviewed institutional data and made recommendations on strategies for faculty, staff and student recruitment and retention. The council also examined two years of data related to bias incidents reported on campus. Additionally, each award presented during the MLK celebrations this year had a stipend attached, and during this year’s University Day celebration, we will announce the winner of the first Outstanding Diversity Advocate Award.

I want to congratulate our staff for leading the building and place name dialogues; the level of engagement from the campus and Corvallis community was amazing. We continue to be impressed by the efforts of our DACA work group and their efforts to support students, faculty and staff affected by recent policy changes. I want to thank the members of the Task Force on Diversity Training for their work and recommendations, including the creation of a director of institutional education for diversity, equity and inclusion. This position has been filled by Jeff Kenney, who is profiled in this newsletter. You will notice an increase in educational opportunities from the OID staff institutionwide, and we celebrate the work happening in various units across the university.

The climate survey launched in May and closed June 6. We collected feedback from faculty and staff in all areas of the institution, and we look forward to analyzing the data and using it as we develop plans to achieve our goals.

We are now institutional members of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Southern Regional Education Board and Partners in Diversity. Each of these relationships brings opportunities to support all faculty, staff and students. Our staff has presented at conferences for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the American Association of Colleges and Universities, for which I am especially proud. Finally, together with the President’s Council on the Status of Women, we celebrated the accomplishments of women at Oregon State at an inaugural event in Portland.

Thank you for welcoming me to Oregon State University, Corvallis and Oregon. I am optimistic about our future, and I trust that the compelling stories we share with you, in this first edition, will motivate you and confirm your understanding of the power and impact of an OSU education!

Sincerely,

Charlene Alexander
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer