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President Spanier's Response to the Report of the Diversity Review Team

January 23, 2002
Graham B. Spanier
To: Eric Jolly,
Ph.D., Vice President and Senior Scientist, Educational Development Center, Inc.
Shirley Malcom,
Ph.D., Director of the AAAS Science Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Paulette Granberry-Russell, J.D.,
Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity and Director of the Office of Affirmative Action, Compliance & Monitoring, Michigan State University

Thank you for your thoughtful report and the important set of recommendations included in it. I appreciate the time and effort taken by each of you to participate in this review, during both your visit to campus and the writing of the report. Your review will be a key asset in our efforts to strengthen our Office of Affirmative Action, enhance our diversity initiatives at Penn State, and improve the organizational context for this critical work. Our goal was to obtain an external assessment of these programs as we chart future directions. This evaluation is part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the University to promote a shared understanding of the value of diversity and to create and maintain a welcoming campus climate for everyone.

As you note in your report, Penn State is expending significant resources to enhance diversity. There is widespread support among students, faculty, and staff for promoting diversity at the University, but there is no doubt that we can make improvements in our efforts. I agree with your assessment that we need to make some changes if we are to maximize the resources we have deployed. Your recommendations will provide valuable direction as we undertake this important task in the coming months.

I plan to take several immediate steps. First, I will direct the appropriate administrators to begin work on each of the recommendations in your report. Some, such as the recommendation to disaggregate data, can be easily implemented, I believe. I also agree with your recommendation to better coordinate and potentially restructure the many offices that focus on diversity, and we will begin an assessment this spring of how best to achieve that objective. Some of your recommendations entail climate changes that must be a priority over time. I plan to reiterate my support for such improvement and will charge others to be proactive in our support of events and activities that celebrate diversity and promote unity. Finally, I plan to seek feedback from faculty, staff, and student leaders within the University community as we consider how best to implement your recommendations.

Thanks again for your report and recommendations. I want to assure you that my colleagues and I are committed to improving affirmative action and diversity initiatives at Penn State. Your report will be extremely useful in that effort.