Diversity Initiatives | Information Services | Kent State University

Diversity Initiatives

The Information Services Diversity Committee strives to create an environment that celebrates diversity for staff, faculty and students within the Division of Information Services and throughout Kent State University.

Information Services' Commitment to Diversity

The Information Services Diversity Committee first convened in April 2008 to discuss division goals surrounding diversity in the workplace and in the university. They now meet monthly to identify potential resources that help staff members embrace diversity, meet and partner with university representatives to help move diversity goals forward, and plan and coordinate division events that promote an open and inclusive culture.

The goals of the IS Diversity Committee are aligned with Kent State’s strategic diversity plan, released in 2006. The goals of the plan include promoting the value of diversity, increasing the number of students and colleagues of color, building tolerance and celebrating the existing diversity across the university’s eight-campus system.

The IS Diversity Committee now coordinates division-wide events to celebrate diversity and serves as a venue for open and honest discussions regarding inclusion. Please contact Jaclyn Jimison, IS Diversity Committee Chair, for more information.

IS Diversity Committee Goals

To recognize, understand and value cultural diversity within the university and the Division of Information Services;

To raise awareness of diversity and diversity-related issues within the division, particularly issues of race, gender and disability;

To create a diversity-friendly and welcome environment in which all employees can contribute fully;

To help the division define and clearly articulate its expectations for an inclusive and multicultural working environment;

To encourage staff members within Information Services to participate in diversity initiatives;

To increase the level of diversity among staff within the division; and

To serve as a model for diversity action within the university.

Diversity Initiatives

Listening Project

In July 2010, Information Services began participation in a pilot program developed by the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The goal of the project was to build new relationships between people who would not typically interact with one another. The desired outcome was to better understand other cultures and to improve the climate and success of diversity at Kent State University.

Participants were paired up and met regularly to discuss questions addressing thoughts on race, culture and LGBTQ issues. The roughly forty participants were periodically brought together into groups, moderated by trained coaches, to share their experiences.

The pilot led to a second round of meetings and discussions, which involved a second group of participants and employed some of the previous participants as coaches. The second round came to a close in spring 2012.

Learn more about the Listening Project and hear the experiences of past participants by viewing the IS-produced video.

Military Appreciation Month

As the first in a series of monthly themed activities, the IS Diversity Committee hosted a potluck lunch raising awareness that May is Military Appreciation month. Information Services staff were invited to honor a veteran or someone serving in the military by posting a photo and a short description about their service on a dedicated wall within Stewart Hall, which remained on display throughout the month of May.

Attendees were engaged with a presentation about the difficulties veterans face when returning to civilian life, by Joshua Rider, Assistant Director in the Center for Adult and Veteran Services.

Minority Vendor Matchmaking Event

Information Services teamed up with the Procurement Office to hold a Minority Vendor Matchmaking Event. This event paired local minority owned service and product suppliers with IS staff responsible for purchasing. When matches were made (i.e., the vendor can adequately provide services or products IS requires) the contact for that business was added to a database to ensure that when that service or product is needed, the minority owned business will be taken into consideration.

Potluck Luncheons

We have held two division-wide luncheons where culturally-diverse foods were prepared and shared by employees. We shared traditional family recipes from places like Poland, Sweden, Philippines, China, India, Hungary, Italy, Mexico and the southern United States. Employees had a great time getting together and partaking in a variety of foods.

Movie Week

We have invited staff members to watch diversity-themed movies during their lunch hour. Employees each brought their own lunch and viewed movies that promoted rich discussion, including Slumdog Millionaire, Little Miss Sunshine, Skins, and Aaah! Zombies (a.k.a. Wasting Away).

Giving Tree Project

Information Services showed its giving spirit during the holiday season by collecting items for community members in need at Safer Futures, Freedom House and Hattie Larlham. Division members chose an item tag (including gloves, blankets, gift cards and more) from one of three trees within Stewart Hall and placed the items by the trees.

Food Drive

The entire division participated in the University Food Drive throughout the month of October. The division's four main departments competed against one another for the largest number of donations. The winning team had an average collection of 21 items per team member. As a whole, IS collected 691 pounds of non-perishable food and 145 pounds of non-food items, making the initiative a huge success! Items were donated to families in need throughout Portage County.