Information Services' Commitment to Diversity
In 2006, Kent State released a strategic diversity plan. The goals of the plan included promoting the value of diversity, increasing the number of students and colleagues of color, building tolerance and celebrating the existing diversity across the university’s eight-campus system.
The Information Services’ Diversity Focus Group convened for the first time in April 2008, generally meeting biweekly. Initial meetings have focused on defining the goals of the group, identifying potential resources and meeting with representatives from across the campus for assistance in setting goals and priorities.
The IS Diversity Committee now meets bi-monthly, organizing events and serving as a venue for open discussion. Please contact Johnson Fisher, IS Diversity Committee Chair, for more information.
In July 2010, Information Services began participation in a pilot program developed by the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The goal of the project was to build new relationships between people who would not typically interact with one another. The desired outcome was to better understand other cultures and to improve the climate and success of diversity at Kent State University.
Participants were paired up and met regularly to discuss questions addressing thoughts on race, culture and LGBTQ issues. The roughly forty participants were periodically brought together into groups, moderated by trained coaches, to share their experiences.
The pilot led to a second round of meetings and discussions, which involved a second group of participants and employed some of the previous participants as coaches. The second round came to a close in spring 2012.
Learn more about the Listening Project and hear the experiences of past participants by viewing the IS-produced video.
Military Appreciation Month
As the first in a series of monthly themed activities, the IS Diversity Committee hosted a potluck lunch raising awareness that May is Military Appreciation month. Information Services staff were invited to honor a veteran or someone serving in the military by posting a photo and a short description about their service on a dedicated wall within Stewart Hall, which remained on display throughout the month of May.
Attendees were engaged with a presentation about the difficulties veterans face when returning to civilian life, by Joshua Rider, Assistant Director in the Center for Adult and Veteran Services.
Minority Vendor Matchmaking Event
Information Services teamed up with the Procurement Office to hold a Minority Vendor Matchmaking Event. This event paired local minority owned service and product suppliers with IS staff responsible for purchasing. When matches were made (i.e., the vendor can adequately provide services or products IS requires) the contact for that business was added to a database to ensure that when that service or product is needed, the minority owned business will be taken into consideration.
We have held two division-wide luncheons where culturally-diverse foods were prepared and shared by employees. We shared traditional family recipes from places like Poland, Sweden, Philippines, China, India, Hungary, Italy, Mexico and the southern United States. Employees had a great time getting together and partaking in a variety of foods.
We have invited staff members to watch diversity-themed movies during their lunch hour. Employees each brought their own lunch and viewed movies that promoted rich discussion, including Slumdog Millionaire, Little Miss Sunshine, Skins, and Aaah! Zombies (a.k.a. Wasting Away).
Giving Tree Project
Information Services showed its giving spirit during the holiday season by collecting items for community members in need at Safer Futures, Freedom House and Hattie Larlham. Division members chose an item tag (including gloves, blankets, gift cards and more) from one of three trees within Stewart Hall and placed the items by the trees.
The entire division participated in the University Food Drive throughout the month of October. The division's four main departments competed against one another for the largest number of donations. The winning team had an average collection of 21 items per team member. As a whole, IS collected 691 pounds of non-perishable food and 145 pounds of non-food items, making the initiative a huge success! Items were donated to families in need throughout Portage County.
United Way Campaign
IS formed a United Way subcommittee and held events in support of the university United Way campaign. Events included a Pancake Breakfast and Pumpkin Decorating Contest, with all proceeds benefiting the United Way of Portage County. Members from the division also participated in automatic payroll deduction and volunteered their time at the Kent State football concession stand, with a percentage of proceeds going to the United Way.
The IS Diversity Committee Goals
To recognize, understand and value cultural diversity within the university and the Division of Information Services;
To raise awareness of diversity and diversity-related issues within the division, particularly issues of race, gender and disability;
To create a diversity-friendly and welcome environment in which all employees can contribute fully;
To help the division define and clearly articulate its expectations for an inclusive and multicultural working environment;
To encourage staff members within Information Services to participate in diversity initiatives;
To increase the level of diversity among staff within the division; and
To serve as a model for diversity action within the university.