EXCLUSIVE: Georgia Southern releases 27-page Inclusive Excellence action plan

Chief Diversity Officer: “This isn’t my vision… this is our vision”

Andy Cole, Editor-in-Chief

STATESBORO — After seven months of being on the job, TaJuan Wilson, Ed.D., chief diversity officer, has released Georgia Southern’s first Inclusive Excellence action plan.

The 27-page document is comprised of goals and their sub-strategies and actions, the Inclusive Excellence statement and vision and messages from Wilson and GS President Kyle Marrero.

Wilson spoke to The George-Anne Wednesday to discuss the big points of this big plan. 

“Recruitment, retention and advancement,” said Wilson. “We’ve heard our students loud and clear, particularly underrepresented minority students who said, ‘We would like to see more faculty and staff of color… who [share] their underrepresented identities.’”

“This plan really sets us up for, what I believe, will be incredible success in the area of making sure that they feel that sense of belonging that, in some cases, we’ve heard hasn’t always been present,” Wilson added.

Some of the biggest points in the plan include additional diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum in KINS courses, along with the already-enacted FYE curriculum, creating a program to identify undergraduate and graduate students of color to develop and support them to, hopefully, diversify the faculty pool upon their graduation and to increase the number of underrepresented faculty in chair level and above leaders until percentages match the workforce.

You can view the entire plan here or below.

While this is a first-of-its-kind plan for GS, Wilson believes what makes this plan powerful is what GS officials, including Wilson, will do next.

Each college and central unit will be required to create their own action plan due to Wilson’s office in mid-March. Faculty senate and the staff council will also be creating their own plans. 

“What this does is [the plan] ensure accountability on a level like never before seen at Georgia Southern University,” said Wilson. “Some universities develop a plan and that’s it. We’ve developed a plan where we recognize that the real work is the next step.”

Wilson hopes that the campus community will immediately see change thanks to the plan. 

“What [the plan] really does is provide for us what’s been missing in a lot of ways,” said Wilson. “There are a lot of people that care about this work; what’s been missing is this roadmap to success.”

While Wilson may have been the author of the plan, he says it was a team effort to put it all together.

“This is everyone’s plan. I feel strongly about that. This isn’t my vision… this is our vision,” said Wilson.

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