Equity Task Force working groups identify key issues, begin framing strategic plan

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Working groups of the Purdue Equity Task Force have completed their identification and review of overarching equity issues that now will form the basis for a strategic plan and implementation as the university aims for broader equity and inclusion across the West Lafayette campus, particularly for Black Boilermakers.

Don Thompson, Purdue trustee and chair of the Equity Task Force Steering Committee, reported to the trustees on Friday (Dec. 4) that he expects a final report to be presented for review by the Steering Committee on Dec. 15 and a full strategic plan to be delivered to trustees to review and approve on Feb. 5. Once it is approved, implementation will begin, led by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion with regular reporting and updates to the Board of Trustees on progress toward goals.

“We are extremely grateful for the outstanding effort and long hours put in by the working groups thus far, and we look forward to the completed report,” Thompson said. “The Steering Committee will subsequently finalize a strategy and recommendations that will go to the board of trustees for approval. We have made significant progress over the last few months in our objective to improve equity across every aspect of the university. It may have taken longer than we had hoped, but the time and effort and attention are vital. We absolutely must get this right.” 

The task force, charged in September by the Purdue Board of Trustees, has worked with more than 150 individuals from across the university system, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, to identify concerns, gather data and develop recommendations around the following issues:

  • Undergraduate student recruitment, yield, and retention.
  • Graduate student recruitment, retention and success.
  • Postdoctoral recruitment and retention.
  • Faculty recruitment, retention and promotion.
  • Staff recruitment and retention.
  • Climate (campus and community).
  • Safety and wellness.
  • Curricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Diversity initiatives.
  • Athletics
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The West Lafayette Campus Strategic Planning and Development Group, chaired by steering committee member Venetria Patton with vice chairs John Gates and Barrett Caldwell, led working groups to identify concerns, gather data and assess these key issues. In addition, the planning group held three open forums to gather information from the Purdue community and to answer questions related to the work of the teams.

The task force is made up of close to 150 members of the Purdue community: faculty, staff, students and alumni, who are formed into working groups of 10-12 each. They work closely with a Steering Committee and Deans Advisory Committee as they review data, look at past and present investments and initiatives to ensure that they remain the right ones, identify gaps, and recommend new and/or alternate strategies.

Information about the Equity Task Force can be found at www.purdue.edu/bot. Click on the Equity Task Force button to find current updates on the work of the task force, recordings of open forums, an overview presentation outlining the task force work and timeline, and a list of task force members.

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