When the administration discussed diversity at the Delegates’ Agenda Response on Thursday Oct. 25, President Elizabeth Stroble stood up to speak on the subject. She told students that similar to them, diversity concerns were close to her as well.
Students presented on five topics at Delegates’ Agenda on Oct. 2, including diversity training. At Delegates’ Agenda, diversity was the only topic that received a response from Stroble during the presentation.
At the presentation, students suggested Webster University hire a chief diversity officer. The officer’s main duties would be to help with training programs for both students and faculty, and to deal with campus incidents involving diversity.
Stroble, while provost at the University of Akron, helped hire the university’s first chief diversity officer. She said her experience with the process could help with Webster’s transition.
“We may eventually get there, but that will be a step down the road and not a starting place for me,” Stroble said. “So yeah, I think a little bit of my experience about that helps me see how you take the right steps on a journey, but Webster will be different.”
Stroble said it’s harder for women and minorities to acquire higher-level positions in the workplace. Both of the groups haven’t had the chance to build work experience because employers tend to hire people who look like them, Stroble said.
“That’s part of the dynamic that I think a diversity initiative and an inclusion initiative needs to recognize and work through,” Stroble said.
Among the other plans presented at the administration response was a diversity summit to discuss possible solutions and better training for faculty and students. Stroble said to look for more information on these topics at the spring Delegates’ Agenda.
“The diversity topic which I care so much about will have started (before spring) but that really is a life long learning process,” Stroble said. “Because what people 20 years ago would have thought diversity would have meant, and what we think now, is completely different.”