July 13, 2020
Dear members of the Bellarmine Community,
It is a privilege to be one of you, or should I say, one of us. We are Knights—I greet you! I’m Donald “DJ” Mitchell, Jr., your inaugural chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and I look forward to working with the campus community as we strive to become more inclusive and equitable as our community becomes more diverse. While I’m new to this role, I’ve been working on some of our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives since January 2019 as co-chair of the President’s Advisory Board on Equity and Inclusion. For example, last year the university accomplished several diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives:
- The Dr. Patricia Carver Office of Identity and Inclusion doubled its space and received funds to establish an endowment.
- The president met with student leaders to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
- The university facilitated online training for all faculty and staff.
- Over 300 faculty and staff participated in a day-long diversity, equity and inclusion workshop.
- The first faculty and staff identity-based affinity groups were created.
- A campus climate survey was administered.
While we have made strides, we still have work to do, and I look forward to working with the campus community to continue this essential work. Thanks to our students and the President’s Advisory Board on Equity and Inclusion, future plans include:
- Expanding faculty and staff identity-based affinity groups.
- Developing consistent diversity, equity, and inclusion definitions for the institution to reference.
- Launching alumni identity-based affinity groups.
- Establishing a diversity, equity, and inclusion certificate program and various professional and personal development opportunities.
- Developing University-wide recognitions to celebrate those who foster equity and inclusion.
- Reviewing faculty and staff evaluations in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
During my first few months in my new role, I would like to more thoroughly assess where we are as a community and I am particularly interested in:
- Meeting with every student organization interested in meeting.
- Meeting one-on-one with every full-time faculty member.
- Meeting with each vice president to learn more about their divisions and existing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- Meeting with Faculty and Staff Councils.
While these are my initial ideas to assess our community, of course, I am ready and willing to meet with all of our campus and community members—constant communication will be an integral part of my tenure.
Finally, I would like to invite nominations for faculty, staff, students, and alumni interested in serving on the President’s Advisory Board for Equity & Inclusion during the 2020-2021 academic year. We are rotating some current members off of the Board to give space for new voices and talents. Nominations will close August 1, and in consultation with President Donovan, selected representatives will be notified shortly after.
I immediately welcome meeting requests and nominations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, I look forward to working with you all as we make Bellarmine a more inclusive place to live, study, work, learn, and grow. In the meantime, please make it a practice to regularly visit our diversity, equity, and inclusion webpages to stay abreast of news, events, and resources.
DJ Mitchell, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer
Professor of Education