Hardin taking small steps to increase campus diversity

John Hardin says it’s the little things that make a difference.

Since Oct. 1, he’s been making a slow, but strategic transition into his new position as assistant to the provost for diversity enhancement.

His goals are simply stated but hard to achieve. He wants to use diversity to make Western a stronger university.

That means bringing in more minority faculty members and more minority students.

It’s a job that is critical for Western’s future.

But it’s not an easy job. Western is competing with every university in the nation to bring in top quality minority faculty members.

But he’s starting small, an effort that should be commended.

So far he’s been meeting with search committees to discuss ways to attract minorities. He said he wants to widen the pool of candidates. He’s also been working with the Equal Opportunities office and student affairs to discuss ways to make Western more diverse.

Hardin’s also pushing for a university-wide diversity assessment. He wants to know what it’s like for minorities on campus.

He’s taking small steps that could lead to huge changes.

We have a few other suggestions for him:

Host forums to ask minority faculty about why they took positions at Western and what keeps them here. Ask them what could make Western and Bowling Green a more appealing place to work and live.

Make recruiting trips. Go to conferences and make visits to schools who produce large numbers of minority doctorates. Encourage them to apply for positions at Western.

Western should provide you, Hardin, full financial backing to help you achieve these goals.

Western should begin conducting exit interviews. Right now the university has no way to determine why faculty leave Western. If there are problems, they should be identified. If employees are leaving for jobs at bigger universities, Western needs to know.

Hardin has one problem though – he said people don’t know how to get in touch with him or what exactly he does.

So here’s his info. His office is in 239 Wetherby Administration Building. His phone number is 745-7009. Or you can e-mail him at [email protected] If you have suggestions about diversity, let him know.

He has a commitment to make Western a better place. He just needs to know how students, faculty and staff think he can reach that goal.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.