New center to focus on research related to diversity and inclusion

December 5, 2011

S. Laurel Weldon

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's College of Liberal Arts is announcing a new interdisciplinary center aimed at promoting and supporting research related to diversity and inclusion.

The Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion will launch in January and will help facilitate work and outreach on a wide range of issues including race; gender; ethnicity; sexual orientation; socio-economic status; nationality; age and ability; and the social, political and cultural support for equal treatment and inclusion.

"In the university's 'New Synergies' strategic plan, Purdue highlights the importance of a learning environment rich in diversity, equality and inclusion. These also are essential characteristics of a land-grant university and world-leading institution," said Irwin Weiser, the Justin S. Morrill Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "As the university continues to embrace and invest in this mission, the College of Liberal Arts has created a center that will build on our strengths in teaching and research related to diversity and inclusiveness. The new center will enhance already existing research interests on campus and encourage new research projects, and it also will create a platform to support faculty working on these topics to help them attract external funding."

The center, funded by the College of Liberal Arts, will be led by S. Laurel Weldon, a professor of political science. Taking a global perspective, Weldon studies social movements, law and policy, and she is an expert on gender and social policy, especially on policies on violence against women. She is the author of two books: "When Protest Makes Policy: How Social Movements Represent Disadvantaged Groups" and "Protest, Policy and the Problem of Violence Against Women: A Cross-National Comparison."

"The college organized a diversity and inclusion lecture series last year that generated enthusiasm and new ideas about what our own center could do to advance research in this area," Weldon said. "We are in the early planning stages, but as the center grows it will support faculty and student research as well as sponsor symposia, lectures, exhibits, conferences, readings and other events. Depending on faculty interest, the center could build on existing expertise in global studies, immigration, women and science, diversity and leadership, African American studies, health and inequality, social policy and the many other interdisciplinary strengths that Purdue offers."

The College of Liberal Arts is home to the Brian Lamb School of Communication; the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts; and the departments of anthropology, English, foreign languages and literatures, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology.

The college also has a variety of interdisciplinary programs, including African American studies, American studies, Asian American studies, comparative literature, film and video studies, global studies, Italian studies, Jewish studies, Latin American studies, linguistics, medieval and Renaissance studies, peace studies, philosophy and literature, religious studies and women's studies.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources: Irwin Weiser, 765-494-3661,

                 S. Laurel Weldon, 765-494-4185,