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Inclusion and Diversity

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Our community welcomes, encourages, and supports individuals who desire to contribute to and benefit from the institution’s missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.



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Statement of Diversity Objectives

  1. To enhance the quality of life of individuals and families across the lifespan by creating and maintaining a body of students, faculty, and staff that reflects the cultural diversity of the state of Virginia and the national population.
  2. To create opportunities for intellectual stimulation which is derived from an appreciation of multiple perspectives that are brought to the center and are allowed to flourish with a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff.
  3. To build an infrastructure that promotes representation from underrepresented groups in decision-making processes across the curriculum and administrative affairs of the college.
  4. To foster a supportive forum that channels and rewards internal and external collaborative initiatives and partnerships that recognize interlocking systems of race, class, gender, and age in our discovery, learning, and engagement agendas.

The stories are horrific and horrifying: Police bursting into Breonna Taylor’s home and shooting her eight times; neighbors chasing and fatally shooting jogger Ahmaud Arbery; a police officer pressing his knee to the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes, long after Floyd managed to draw his last breath. Those lost lives were all precious.

The protests that have since swept across the nation all make a claim — violent policing and unpoliced, racially motivated violence reveal the racist double standard at the heart of the American contract, and it is past time to stand up in righteous refusal of these injustices. Read more >>

Funding Opportunities

Diversity mini-grants in amounts of up to $500 are available for schools, departments, and programs seeking supplemental funding for speakers, films, workshops, or other events related to the college’s priorities for inclusion and diversity. To apply for a mini-grant, email Tom Ewing indicating the purpose of the activity, the total budget, the amounts of committed cost-sharing, and the amount requested from the college. Requests are accepted on a rolling schedule with no deadlines.

Purpose: The college will provide funds for departments and schools to hire undergraduates majoring in the college to work on programs and initiatives that departments and schools have identified as priorities in their Inclusive VT plans. Departments and schools should work with the college’s Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and with Student Opportunity and Achievement Resources in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity to ensure that research and internship experiences are available to all students, and especially those who are underserved or from underrepresented minorities. 

Eligible Activities: Undergraduates majoring in the college could be employed as:

1) research assistants on projects addressing questions of diversity and inclusion; 

2) instructional support for Pathways area 7 courses in spring 2020; 

3) assistants with department programs that advance diversity (speaker series, films, etc.), or

4) interns to support inclusion through recruitment, mentoring, or other activities.

Budget: Each grant of $2,500 would support a student for 10 hours a week from January to May, or a more intensive period of work in the first part of the summer. The number of participating students would depend on the number of departments/schools submitting applications and the total funding authorized by the college. 

Cost-Sharing: Departments and schools will be asked to match the college contribution, so each project could hire two students, one funded by college and one by department/school. A commitment of cost-sharing must accompany the application to the college.

Administration: The Diversity Committee will be responsible for developing guidelines, reviewing applications, and recommending funding. Funds will be transferred from the College Business Office to the department or school to administer expenditures. Department chairs/heads or school directors would be responsible for ensuring that expenditures adhere to university policies and guidelines. 

Submission: Email a one-page pdf document to Tom Ewing addressing the following items: purpose, planned activities, name of student(s), budget, cost-sharing commitment, and timeline for project completion.

Deadline: November 1, 2019


September 3: Initiative announced to Diversity Committee

October 11: Diversity Committee finalizes guidelines at its second meeting

October 17: Guidelines posted on college website and distributed through the Diversity Committee

October 30: Departments and schools must submit Inclusive VT plans to OID to be eligible

November 1: Applications for grants are due

November 8: Diversity Committee reviews applications and recommends funding

November 15: Dean approves funding

November 30: Funds are transferred to departments and schools

December 1: Projects may begin

June 30, 2020: Funds must be spent by end of fiscal year

The college has funding available for students (undergraduate and graduate) to present at workshops, conferences, or other scholarly programs away from Virginia Tech on themes and topics related to InclusiveVT goals of the university, college, and department. 

Eligibility: Undergraduates must be making a presentation at the workshop; confirmation of a presentation must be provided to demonstrate eligibility. Graduate students are also eligible for funding if they are presenting. Graduate Teaching Assistants may be eligible for funds to support attendance at a conference if doing so advances their work as a teaching assistant. 

Procedure: Representatives of the Diversity Committee will announce the availability of funds from the College (up to $500 per student) and determine how and by whom this information will be disseminated to majors and graduate students. The Diversity Committee representative will be responsible for receiving applications from interested students; reviewing and confirming eligibility; seeking matching funds from the department or school, if needed; and submitting a request for funding to the Diversity Fellow and associate dean, who will review these requests and made a decision. Once the funding has been approved, the College Business Office will transfer funds to the department/school after the workshop travel has been completed. Students will submit a brief report to the Diversity Committee about the workshop.

Diversity Committee Representatives:


School / Department / Program


Diversity Fellow (Sociology)

Sam Cook

Apparel, Housing, & Resource Mgmt

Greg Galford


Syrenthia Robinson


Carmen Gimeñez Smith


Carmen Gitre

Human Dev & Family Science

Carolyn Shivers

Modern & Classical Langs & Lits

Catalina Andrango-Walker

Office of the Dean

LaTawnya Burleson

Office of the Dean

Tasia Persson

Office of the Dean

Tom Ewing


Karen Kovaka

Political Science

Cara Daggett

Religion & Culture

Jordan Laney


Paul Evans

School of Education

Wanda McAlexander

School of Performing Arts/TA

Bob Leonard

School of Performing Arts/MUS

Elizabeth McLain

Science, Technology, & Society

Lee Vinsel


Dale Wimberley


Jazmine Harris, Gina Vandivier, and Elizabeth Owusu

Diversity Committee Members

  • Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management: Greg Galford
  • Communication: Syrenthia Robinson
  • English: Carmen Gimeñez Smith
  • History: Carmen Gitre
  • Human Development and Family Science: Carolyn Shivers
  • Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures: Catalina Andrango-Walker
  • Office of the Dean: LaTawnya Burleson
  • Office of the Dean: Tasia Persson
  • Office of the Dean: Tom Ewing
  • Philosophy: Karen Kovaka
  • Political Science: Cara Daggett
  • Religion and Culture: Jordan Laney
  • Reserve Officer Training Corps: Paul Evans
  • School of Education: Wanda McAlexander
  • School of Performing Arts/Theatre Arts: Bob Leonard
  • School of Performing Arts/Music: Elizabeth McLain
  • Science, Technology, and Society: Lee Vinsel
  • Sociology: Dale Wimberley
  • SOAR: Jazmine Harris, Gina Vandivier, and Elizabeth Owusu
  • Diversity Fellow (Sociology): Sam Cook