Dear Thomas More Community,
Thomas More University welcomes, celebrates, and respects all. Driven by our mission, we encourage every member of our community to understand and act in ways that demonstrate our responsibility to others. I am pleased to share with you the University’s statement of Commitment to Diversity. This statement reflects the collective voice of our community and encompasses the values and mission in which this institution is rooted. For the full statement on our commitment, I invite you to visit our Diversity & Inclusion web page.
As we have worked together to develop our commitment to diversity, it is fitting that we are finalizing this during Black History Month. Throughout this process, we have recognized pioneers within our community who have helped pave the way for others. Lois Butler, the institution’s first African American student, and Leslie Stewart, the institution’s first African American graduate, are two of those individuals. Through this reflection, we have not only acknowledged past pioneers, but we have fixed our gaze on the present and future and how we can better empower and support all individuals within our community. How are we providing opportunities to prepare our students and graduates to engage in a world where both differences and commonalities can be understood, appreciated, and celebrated?
As evidence to our commitment, the University is emphasizing the following:
- Broadening our leadership team to better represent our strategic imperatives, beginning by fulfilling the newly established role, Dean of Student Diversity, Engagement, and Success, formerly Dean of Students. This new position will oversee and integrate our student facing functions in Student Life and the Success Center and will position the individual in this role to elevate and strengthen our efforts in supporting students and diversity initiatives.
- Revamping our Pursuing Academic & Cultural Excellence (P.A.C.E.) peer mentoring program designed to help minority students matriculate, retain, and graduate. The expansion of this program, which includes scholarship opportunities, will officially launch in the fall of 2021.
- Continuing the important discussions taking place in the Crucial Conversations series, which allows and invites Thomas More members from different backgrounds and exposure to engage in open discussions about diversity and inclusion to enhance normalcy of these types of conversations.
- The University will add a diversity advocate to all search committees to ensure that faculty, staff, and administrators reflect the diversity of the community.
- The academic leadership team has been charged to work with faculty to infuse diversity perspectives into our academic majors and programs.
Our commitment will take effort from all of us, working together to provide an environment in which all individuals are safe from discrimination. I appreciate the efforts each of you have taken in helping us move forward in our understanding and commitment to diversity. I’m confident that our efforts will lead to additional, ongoing enhancements to continue cultivating the most inclusive environment possible for all members within our community.