Since the death of George Floyd in May of last year, I have been doing what I normally do when I want to know more: I read and watch historical-based videos of everything I can on a topic. I am currently in the middle of reading the autobiography of Malcolm X. My perspective on being Black in our society and my own white privilege has been transformed since immersing myself in the topic. I also have been involved as a dean with the efforts of Purdue University to address equity issues led by Trustee Don Thompson. What I am learning is that we can and should do much more to address equity issues in our college.
I am hopeful that the equity report and recommendations coming from the Board of Trustees will be the catalyst our college needs to lead the University in how we address equity. We have had a dedicated group of faculty and staff meeting regularly since last summer led by Carrie Berger. They are working hard to prepare our college for bold initiatives that will integrate with the Board of Trustees’ plans. I recommend that we set a high bar for our college – that we become the first-choice college for Black students, faculty and staff. In addition, I recommend that we significantly increase the number of women undergraduate students in our college.
You will hear more details about the Polytechnic Institute’s efforts in the coming weeks.