January 11, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Task Force Focused on Celebrating, Nurturing, Embracing Diversity

VALDOSTA — Dr. Cecil P. Staton, interim president, announces the formation of a new Presidential Task Force on Diversity, an effort to engage faculty, staff, and students in ensuring that Valdosta State University forever remains a learning environment based on trust and mutual respect, a place where open dialogue, vigorous debate, and the free exchange of ideas are welcome.

“As our Blazer Creed reminds us, a university campus is a place where diversity is welcome and ideas can be discussed with civility and integrity,” Staton said. “At Valdosta State our faculty, staff, and students value the patchwork of voices that are heard across our campus, and we celebrate and respect our differences as well as the unique perspectives each of us brings to our community. This task force is being charged with a careful review of how VSU addresses, values, and celebrates our diversity. It will work and coordinate with existing diversity efforts on our campus and will consider appropriate responses to the challenges we face. I am grateful to the members of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity and look forward to hearing their findings and to working with them to enhance all that we do in this regard.”

One of the first things the Presidential Task Force on Diversity will do is assess the current landscape of the campus community, said Tony Thomas, chief legal affairs officer and assistant professor in the Department of Management and Health Care Administration who serves as chairman of the task force. The group will then use that information to develop initiatives designed to maintain VSU’s position as a learning environment based on trust and mutual respect now and in the future, a place where uniqueness is celebrated, nurtured, and embraced.

“When a campus brings together diverse demographics, diverse interests, diverse views, diverse backgrounds, and diverse cultures, it presents opportunity for collaborative approaches to problem solving and proactive strategies for campus-wide inclusion,” Thomas added. “Embracing diverse trains of thought can serve as the launching pad for open dialogue and resulting initiatives that can shape the future VSU community. The Presidential Task Force on Diversity is an important component for embracing new ideas while respecting campus traditions in an ever-changing campus environment.”

Members of the Task Force on Diversity are Thomas; David L. Burdette, president of the Student Government Association; Antolina Pilgrim, director of accounting and procurement/contract services, Office of Financial Services; Dr. Taewon Hwang, associate professor of management, Department of Management and Health Care Administration; Kendra Hollern, assistant professor of political science, Department of Political Science; Maggie J. Viverette, director of the Office of Social Equity; Dr. Linda Jurczak, assistant professor in the Speech Communication Area, Department of Communication Arts; Dr. James Martinez, undergraduate and graduate programs, Department of Middle Grades, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education; Michael Smith, human resources associate for student employment, Office of Human Resources and Employee Development; and Kerry Morris, grant development senior coordinator with the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Administration.

Call (229) 333-5351 to learn more. 

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.