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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.

  • We received a $1 million dollar gift from the Karen L. Daniel Legacy Fund that will aid in the creation of a resource center for Black students and friends. Plans are underway to identify a space.
  • We 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 is committed to working with students to evaluate policies and propose changes as appropriate. Specifically, we worked with students and others to review and update our Code of Conduct, including our speech policy.
  • We 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 is aligning its Office of Diversity and Inclusion with national standards set by the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education. This process is underway.
  • We are enhancing the Northwest Leadership System by gathering more voices from Black students, faculty, staff and alumni. We have commissioned a newly formed President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Team, Black Alumni and Friends Presidential Accountability Team, and an Issues of Race Action Team.
  • A Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan draft is being reviewed by the three 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 three aforementioned teams will review progress on a regular basis.
  • 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