Equity Task Force moves toward analysis, assessment, creation of strategic plan

Members of the Purdue Equity Task Force met virtually Oct. 15-16 to review multiple data sets and discuss needed next steps in identifying the goals, deliverables, metrics and actions to be taken to achieve improved equity on the West Lafayette Campus.

“As a task force, we are committed to looking carefully at a wide range of data, both qualitative and quantitative, striving to understand it, and then definitively identifying equity areas of opportunity on the West Lafayette campus as they relate, initially, to Black students, faculty and staff,” said Don Thompson, Purdue trustee and chair of the Equity Task Force.

The full task force is made up of close to 150 members of the Purdue community: faculty, staff, students and alumni who are formed into working groups of 10-12 each. They work closely with a Steering Committee and Deans Advisory Committee as they review data, look at past and present investments and initiatives to ensure they remain the right ones, identify gaps, and recommend new and/or alternate strategies. The Task Force is expected to provide recommendations to Purdue’s Board of Trustees in December.

Moving to the next step in the semester-long process, Thompson has appointed a West Lafayette Campus Strategic Planning and Development Group, to be led by Venetria Patton, chair of the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff, professor of English, and head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts. Patton will be joined by two vice chairs: John Gates, Purdue vice provost for diversity and inclusion, who will focus on Strategic Plan Implementation, and Barrett Caldwell, Purdue professor of industrial engineering, who will focus on Data & Working Team processes required to help the teams move from data and insights to goals, deliverables, metrics and actionable plans recommended to achieve improved equity on the West Lafayette Campus. The Campus Strategic Planning and Development Group will oversee the work of the subgroups as they meet over the next few months to identify gaps in equity and provide proposed recommendations to move the university forward.

“We will continue to work through fragile and difficult issues together and lead together,” Thompson said. “Sustainable progress requires collective learning, alignment, intentionality, strategic planning and strategic execution with measures. The process we are undertaking and the aspirations that many of us independently have as the outcome of this process, is most certainly, no different.”

Information about the Equity Task Force can be found at www.purdue.edu/bot. Click on the Equity Task Force button, where you will find current updates on the work of the task force, an overview presentation outlining the task force work and timeline, a list of task force members, and a submission form for those who would like to provide suggestions to the task force and its subcommittees.