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Addressing and enhancing a diverse and equitable Northwest

Dear Northwest students, faculty and staff, alumni, partners and friends,

At Northwest, our mission is to focus on student success – every student, every day. As a part of that mission, we are building on the momentum, energy and passion of our community to uplift and enhance how we enact a diverse and inclusive culture. We are using a “Listen, Align, Act” process as we adopt an institution-wide inclusive excellence framework. Although we are making progress, there is much work to do. The work of cultivating an inclusive excellence environment is collective in nature and will be transformative intellectually, socially and personally. I and the Northwest Leadership Team remain committed to acting on the following issues.

  • Northwest opened a newly created Office of Diversity and Inclusion space in the J.W. Jones Student Union that gives underrepresented students a place to gather and collaborate while providing our Office of Diversity and Inclusion staff with a place where they can continue their work to create a more inclusive campus environment.
  • Through a $1 million dollar gift from the Karen L. Daniel Legacy Fund, three scholarships have been created to support Black students in their pursuit of a college degree. The scholarships will be awarded at the start of the spring semester.
  • Northwest will continue its work with students to evaluate policies and propose changes as appropriate. The University is in Phase II of its overall policy review, and each member of the Northwest Leadership Team is reviewing all policies under their area.
  • Northwest is creating an Inclusive Excellence Action Plan. The Inclusive Excellence Action Team, consisting of cross-campus stakeholders, is meeting to create an action plan to guide Northwest as it aligns diversity and inclusion actions with the overall Northwest strategic plan. The Inclusive Excellence Action plan should be completed by the end of the spring semester.
  • Northwest is addressing the recruitment and retention of minority faculty and staff. Northwest has created a Green Team for onboarding and hiring to develop a plan to address bias in the hiring process and attract and retain diverse talent.
  • Northwest launched a required diversity training module for all Northwest employees and Board members. We are now going beyond this online training and providing more in-depth training, related to bias and privilege. In addition to our Northwest employees and Board members, the training is being made available to the Maryville R-II School District, City of Maryville and Nodaway County Commission and administration. Training is delivered through a mix of internal and external facilitators.
  • Northwest created a Bearcat Equity Reporting Form to encourage students and employees to report any instance of discrimination on campus and within the Maryville community. The Bearcat Equity Program is a reporting system where students and employees may report issues of discrimination and bias. Each report is reviewed by a Bias Response Team.
  • Northwest enhanced its Northwest Leadership System by gathering more voices from Black students, faculty, staff and alumni. We commissioned a President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Team and a Black Alumni and Friends Presidential Accountability Team.
  • A Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan draft is being reviewed by the aforementioned teams. All actions related to diversity and inclusion must be aligned with the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and will be aligned with Northwest’s overall strategic plan.
  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will complete an annual report to be published online. It will connect to overall University goals.

For more information about our actions and progress toward fulfilling our goals related to these initiatives, I invite you to click the links below.

Dr. John Jasinski
President