Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

I write to provide an update on Oregon State University’s efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice within the university and its commitment to antiracism.

In summer 2020, following in-depth conversations with university community members calling for rapid progress to advance racial justice, OSU launched the “Moving Forward Together initiative. Aligned with the university’s Strategic Plan 4.0 and diversity strategic plan, the initiative articulates 45 actions to support the long-term success of BIPOC students, faculty and staff.                                                                                           

My commitment to this initiative – and other actions underway to advance equity, inclusion and social justice within Oregon State University – is unwavering.

Among the 45 actions, 21 were completed last academic year and the remaining 24 are in progress of being completed. The President and Provost’s Leadership Council for Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice (PPLC) is charged with collaborating with and supporting partners across the university to guide implementation of “Moving Forward Together” actions. Progress includes:

  • A new President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs was launched in winter 2021 and is charged with advocating for the well-being and success of Oregon State faculty and staff who identify as Black or of African heritage or descent.
  • The Faculty Senate and the Office of the Provost launched a Racism and Antiracism Curriculum Task Force comprised of faculty, students and academic leaders to review and recommend changes to curricular and co-curricular offerings to ensure all OSU students graduate with an understanding of the structural and historical origins of racism, how racism manifests itself today and actions to oppose racism.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services has hired two coordinators of Black and African American student mental health and wellness to support the success of students through clinical services, consultation, outreach, programming and advocacy. A search for a coordinator of Indigenous mental health and wellness is ongoing.
  • OSU-Cascades continues to make significant progress in advancing equity and inclusion initiatives, including the launch of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lab. Erika McCalpine serves as the inaugural executive director of strategic diversity initiatives on the Bend campus. A multicultural center opened this fall in the OSU-Cascades’ Graduate and Research Center and the student success center to be opened in the 2023-24 academic year will include multicultural programs in its design.
  • OSU Assist, a multidisciplinary support team and collaboration among OSU’s Department of Public Safety, the Division of Student Affairs, leaders from the city of Corvallis and Benton County and other community organizations, will provide compassionate mobile crisis response and wrap-around services for students facing mental health challenges or experiencing other forms of distress. A search for a program coordinator will launch shortly.
  • An initiative led by students f­­­rom the Dreaming Beyond Borders Resource Center and the Here to Stay student group catalyzed significant expansion of ASOSU Student Legal Services to include comprehensive immigration screenings for all students, and provides assistance with DACA renewals for DREAMers.
  • The first cohort of the Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program, a collaborative initiative to develop the pipeline to the academy and OSU for faculty members committed to advancing equity, was piloted this summer, and paired doctoral scholars from institutions around the country with faculty mentors from the College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Liberal Arts. This effort complements OSU’s ongoing relationships with the Southern Regional Education Board and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to support post-graduate success for OSU graduate students.

With support from the Office of Institutional Diversity, the PPLC will continue its work this academic year by continuing to engage OSU community members to advance “Moving Forward Together.” I encourage you to regularly visit the Moving Forward Together webpage for additional updates and progress information.

In the months ahead, I will share regular updates on progress, the challenges we face as a university community and opportunities to get involved.

I am very grateful for the progress made so far, the dedication of so many OSU community members to this important work, and that the university this month received a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the fourth straight year. We still have much to do and each of us has a role to play. Please join me in continuing to make Oregon State University a place where all are welcomed, and where everyone can succeed.

Sincerely,

Becky Johnson
Interim President