Memo to campus from Chancellor Drale

Dear Campus Community,

I want to express my appreciation for all who participated in the open forums on race and ethnicity (student and faculty/staff) on July 8 and 9. We had over 300 participants all together and a number of comments on the anonymous comment form. I’ve heard from many of you who felt heartened that we are speaking openly about racial climate issues and that we are starting (or restarting) this important conversation.

In order to make sure we continue this conversation, I’m announcing the next set of open forums via Zoom for the following dates; connection information will be sent with a reminder in late August:

Student Forum on Race and Ethnicity: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 5:00-6:30 pm
Faculty/Staff Forum on Race and Ethnicity: Thursday, September 10, 2020, 3:00-4:30 pm

In the meantime, I’d like to outline a few things we are working on now, and several things that we plan to work on this fall. These plans are in response to recent campus conversations as well as to Goal 5 of the UA Little Rock Strategic Plan: UA Little Rock will improve diversity, inclusion, equality, and global understanding in the campus community. It is also responsive to the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, particularly Goal 3 regarding student retention.

Actions Underway

  1. Relaunch the Student Multicultural Center to be located on the second floor of Ottenheimer Library. The Center will have a new assistant director and a programming budget made possible through external funding.
  2. Relaunch the Student Affairs Diversity Initiatives with an expanded mentoring program that includes peer and faculty/staff mentors. Mentor stipends made possible through external funding.
  3. Formation of a new student-oriented Racial Barriers Committee recommended by the Student Government Association to review policies and processes for potential unintended racial barriers and also to receive complaints, concerns, and suggestions from students concerning race and ethnicity issues in order to facilitate resolution.
  4. Formation of a new faculty and staff-oriented Chancellor’s Race and Ethnicity Advisory Committee. The idea for this committee is based on the original, similarly-named committee created by former Chancellor Joel Anderson. Its purpose will be to keep the conversation about race and ethnicity going and to identify areas for continuous improvement.

Actions Under Development

  1. Implicit bias training for employees and students
  2. Emphasis on diversity hiring best practices
  3. Salary equity study
  4. Campus-wide book discussion centered on topic of race and ethnicity

I would like to invite you to submit suggestions for books we should consider for our campus reading.

General Support Actions Underway

There are also several actions underway that are not specifically race and ethnicity-oriented, but will generally support all students facing barriers to success.

  • Expansion of Student Retention Initiatives with the addition of student success coaches, a peer mentoring program, and a learning assistants program; made possible through external funding.
  • Introduction of a success coach position and expansion of the programming budget for the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps (CLC), a scholarship-supported leadership development program; made possible through external funding.
  • Launch of a new Career Services Center with personnel and budget; made possible through external funding.

If you would like to submit feedback on the topic of race and ethnicity at UA Little Rock, you may use the feedback form we set up for the open forums. Additional information is available at the Diversity Council website.


Posted in: Race and Ethnicity

Comments are closed.