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Board of Trustees tackles diversity

Debbie Allison
Staff Writer

The University Board of Trustees convened for the final time this year to discuss items such as the latest draft of the Strategic Plan for Diversity, and review findings from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ recent visit.

The meeting took place at 8 a.m. on April 30.

After a welcome from Chairman Luis Faura and introductions by President Steve Morgan, the first presentation was by co-chairs of the Coalition for Diversity Trish Long, professor of psychology, and Richard Rose, professor of religion.

They showed the board the proposed plan for diversity, which has been developed by a working group throughout the year.

Central to the plan was defining diversity for the University, Rose said.

“We see this as being a multi-year project at least,” Long said.

Members of the working group have been spreading the plan widely throughout campus since fall, hoping to gauge the students, faculty and staff reactions, get input and garner support. And while the plan is gaining support, it will take time to address all of the initiatives in the plan.

The hope is to bring a revised version of the plan back to the Board at its next meeting in the fall, Morgan said.

The Board voted to endorse the plan in its current form with revisions to come.

Next, Noor Wahba, president of the Associated Students of the University of La Verne gave an update on student life.

Some exciting events coming up for students include a bigger and better Cram Jam, an event that typically happens every semester during finals week in Davenport, and a concert from a big name band, Wahba said.

This year, Cram Jam will be taken to the next level with the Campus Center being kept open until 2 a.m., giving students either a place to study with friends, a place to escape from studying or a chance to enjoy some great food.

As for the concert, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus will perform at La Verne on May 14.

Another new perk for students is the supply kiosk being provided for students. This kiosk will be providing scantrons, pencils, and bluebooks for students during finals week.

“Students on their way to class can pick them up for free,” Wahba said.

Wahba also said that all those involved in student life are keeping busy and trying to keep up with the end of the semester and finals.

Later in the meeting, Interim Provost Greg Dewey presented some of WASC’s findings from their campus visit.

To track the University’s progress, WASC looked at previous reports and then saw how the University compares in its current state.

WASC saw improvements with La Verne’s general education, but still had concerns about the university’s organizational learning.

This, in part, includes what they saw as a lack of a strong diversity plan. This is currently being addressed with the proposed Strategic Diversity Plan.

WASC commended the University for their continued success as well as improvements in certain areas.

“They had high praise for our financial arrangements that produce surpluses,” Dewey said.

They also complimented the University’s service and commitment to an under-served student population.

However, WASC did identify a few areas that could stand to be improved, recommending that La Verne identify a shared vision.

“They saw fault lines between on-campus and off-campus, they saw fault lines between undergraduate students and professional students,” Dewey said.

The University intends to respond to such concerns with the following actions: developing a plan for diversity, which is already in progress, restructuring discussion, and creating a shared vision.

Other topics discussed during the meeting included a joint degree program in Community Health with Claremont Graduate University and the proposed 2010-2011 budget. Both were approved.

The Board of Trustees will hold its next meeting Oct. 29.

Debbie Allison can be reached at deborah.allison@laverne.edu.

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