A.T. Miller addresses Academic Senate for first time


Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer A.T. Miller addresses Academic Senate on Tuesday, Oct. 23 in Pearce Hall.

"How can we be our many selves and keep it real with everyone?" Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer A.T. Miller read from a poem as he introduced himself to Academic Senate for the first time. 

Miller informed the Senate at its Oct. 23 meeting about what he and his team have done since he took office in early summer. He said Central Michigan University already had some diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives in place, and he is building on those, while collaborating with people around campus to create new initiatives.

At the beginning of the semester, Miller invited each college and several units on campus, such as Student Government Association, to appoint a representative to serve on the new University Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. The council consists of CMU faculty, staff and students who will review issues on campus, provide feedback, and suggest new initiatives.

Part of Miller's plan to create a more inclusive climate at CMU includes collecting and sharing data to have an accurate idea of what needs to be done. Miller said he will hire a diversity data analyst and a communications specialist to gather the data and spread the information around campus.

While Miller has not begun to work on the university's diversity strategic plan yet, he plans to pull recommendations from Equity and Inclusion Task Force members by the end of the year to decide what changes and recommendations to implement in the university’s strategic plan.

Miller emphasized he plans on working with people from all over campus, and listening to them, to decide what diversity initiatives need to take place at CMU.

"The idea of even having a chief diversity officer, in many ways makes no sense, to call it diversity and then put one person in charge of it. It is very network-based," Miller said.

Senator and Saginaw senior Bryan Fettig asked Miller if and how he plans to diversify student groups and registered student organizations on campus.

"A lot of student organizations and clubs tend to be very homogenous in their makeup. How will you get more homogeneous clubs to be more engaged with (other) clubs?" Fettig asked.

Miller said his position is designed to promote inclusion and diversity across campus, so while he has no specific plan to diversify clubs, he plans to diversify all of campus. 

The President's Report

President Robert Davies told the Senate many people have asked if he will continue the Administrative and Presidential Fellows Program.

"The answer is a very strong and affirmative yes," Davies said. "It is an excellent program for the faculty to engage and test the waters on the administration side, and also gives us a great opportunity to interact with faculty."

He said he plans to begin the application and nomination process in January. 

Until Nov. 7, Davies will be accepting nominations for a new faculty athletic representative. They will replace Kevin Love, who has decided not to continue in the position.

Davies thanked the Senate for their emails and support of the open letter he wrote for Central Michigan Life about addressing sexual assault at CMU. In the letter, he said he would implement a Presidential Title IX Advisory Board to "provide advice on a range of issues including training, education, support services, prevention programming and resources."

""We are in the process of selecting the Advisory Sexual Assault and Title IX Advisory Board," Davies told the Senate. "Over the next three or five days, we will be selecting those individuals. Our goal is to have this board solidified and up and running within the next 10 days."