History of the ETSU Diversity Education Program
In 1997 a task force to assess Cultural Diversity at ETSU was formed, reporting directly to the President. This Task Force was chaired by Wilsie Bishop. The campus definition of “cultural diversity” was determined by the committee. In 1999 the Task Force made 18 recommendations. One of the recommendations was a diversity education opportunity for every ETSU employee. The focus of this education program came from what this task force learned throughout the course of its study. We heard, for example, from many of our African-American students that if they had to make their decision today about attending a university, ETSU would not be their university of choice. We also heard from our lesbian/gay/bi/transgendered students that they do not feel safe or welcome at ETSU but would still come here if they were making their decision today because the bigotry is just as bad everywhere else in this region.
A commitment was made by Dr. Paul Stanton and endorsed by the President’s Council (the first to go through this educational program) to make this institution an institution that lives up to its values of:
• People come first, are treated with dignity and respect and are encouraged to reach their potential.
• Relationships are built on honesty, integrity and trust.
• Diversity of people and thought are respected.
The pilot program for the ETSU Diversity Education Program was presented in the spring of 2003, fine-tuned by the Instructional Team and then presented to the President’s Council at the beginning of the fall 2003 semester. Sessions were designed to accommodate 20 participants and 2-3 Diversity Educators. Since the beginning there have been 7 sessions for Upper Administration, 43 Faculty sessions and 72 staff sessions presented on campus.