Report of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity - Summary

Report on the Presidential Task Force on Diversity
May 2004


Several months ago, President Peterson invited us to do the following:
  • To consider past accomplishments, present realities and prospective goals with regard to diversity at Gustavus;
  • To engage other members of the campus community in this conversation; and
  • To recommend prioritized diversity-related objectives and strategies for achieving them for the next three years.

Reflecting upon more than 15 years of institutional studies and initiatives related to diversity at Gustavus, the Task Force gratefully acknowledges the sometimes groundbreaking efforts of many within our community in connection with diversity, and recognizes a number of noteworthy successes.

Even as we celebrate these accomplishments, however, we see them as inadequate when viewed alongside our stated aspirations. Furthermore, changes in society and within the higher education community in particular over the past decade and a half, have made diversity not merely a desideratum but a necessity. In our view, a robust and diverse living and learning environment is essential if Gustavus Adolphus College is to be an excellent liberal arts college of the church in the 21st century.

We have concluded that if the College is to meet even its minimal goals for diversity the nature and extent of our commitment must be significantly enhanced. Key among these necessary enhancements are: greater leadership, more comprehensive and sustained planning, better program coordination, increased dedicated resources, and much improved assessment and accountability. Specifics follow below, but our findings and recommendations can be summarized very briefly: The College must on a consistent and ongoing basis invest in diversity-related efforts a degree of commitment, energy and resources comparable to those dedicated to other mission-central priorities. Our talents and dedication as a community, as well as our investment of resources are crucial.

We have identified several broad goals with regard to diversity along with specific objectives for each, and anticipated outcomes, timelines, estimated cost, and suggestions as to where accountability might properly reside. In sum, our recommended goals and strategies are:

  • To increase the number of under-represented members within our campus community by:
    • Attracting and retaining more under-represented students
    • Attracting and retaining more under-represented employees and Board of Trustees members
  • To weave diversity into the fabric of our campus by:
    • Incorporating diversity more intentionally into campus life
    • Working towards a more inclusive curriculum

  • To develop more robust systems of academic and social support for under-represented students and staff by:
    • Establishing programs that support diversity and under-represented students and employees
    • Increasing cultural and educational diversity programming
    • Incorporating elements of cultural diversity into our campus environment.

Main Report Page