Trustees to meet with Penn State commission leaders for annual discussion

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Members of Penn State's Board of Trustees will meet over lunch today (Sept. 20) to learn about goals and accomplishments of those in the community who have been promoting equity, diversity and a welcoming climate at Penn State.

In their annual meeting, Trustees are expected to talk with leaders of the Commission for Women; Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equity; Commission for Adult Learners; and the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity.

"This is an excellent opportunity to familiarize Board of Trustees members with the objectives of the commission and maintain an open line of communication in regards to the current climate for LGBT students, faculty and staff members throughout the Commonwealth Campuses,” said Dana Carlisle Kletchka, curator of education, Palmer Museum of Art and chair for the Commission on LGBT Equity. Current initiatives for the commission include compiling a “State of the Commission” report to communicate the group’s role in improving the climate for LGBTA individuals on all Penn State campuses; assisting with the implementation of LGBT campus liaison positions on each campus; and expanding the availability of the sexuality and gender studies minor, offered through the College of the Liberal Arts, to students at all locations. The group also plans to continue to work with the Office of Human Resources on Web resources and advocate for trans-friendly and trans-specific health care options for students, faculty and staff.

“In addition to serving as an advisory body to the president, we look to create awareness about equity and inclusion among students, staff and faculty,” said David Cranage, chair of the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity and associate professor of hospitality management for the College of Health and Human Development. “The theme for this year is stereotyping awareness and stereotype threat. We are working on a mentoring program, re-examining the issue of student debt and working on online communications, as well as special events to include notable speakers, films and panel discussions."

According to Cranage, the academic team of CORED is collaborating with the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equity, and the Commission for Women on a promotion and tenure symposium for early tenure-line faculty from underrepresented groups, including women.

“Having leadership that represents diverse perspectives is crucial for excellent decision making,” said Lisa German, chair of the Commission for Women and associate dean for Collections, Information and Access Services for the University Libraries.

German said she will emphasize the need to aggressively recruit prominent female academic leaders and to highlight the importance of thoroughly reviewing the data in the "Status of Women at Penn State" report, to examine whether Penn State is doing enough to retain and promote female faculty. German added that she plans to share key accomplishments.

“We are very proud of our awards program that recognizes excellence among our students, faculty and staff. We also are proud of our mentoring program which has 20 mentor/mentee pairs this year.”

The Commission for Adult Learners will be represented by its chair, Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of the School of Nursing. Nontraditional students who are 24 and older comprise the majority, or a significant portion, of the student body at some of Penn State’s campuses.

 “The Board of Trustees and the commissions appreciate this opportunity to get to know one another and discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion among students, faculty, staff and leadership at Penn State," said Victoria Sanchez, assistant vice provost for Educational Equity. "This focus on equity and inclusive excellence is especially important this year in the context of ongoing administrative change.”

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Last Updated September 20, 2013