The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Inclusion and Diversity Council (IDC) held its first formal meeting, Nov. 8, officially launching the new group created in response to NPS’ recent Command Climate Surveys. The IDC’s charge will focus on monitoring general trends, providing recommendations for action, and serving as a communication link between NPS senior leadership, management and employees on matters relating to inclusion and diversity.
The first hurdle in getting the IDC up and running was the challenge of selecting its initial membership. Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Chair of the IDC Dr. Michael Freeman, NPS Chief of Staff Capt. Mike Ward, and Human Resources Director Ermelinda Rodriguez-Hefner were charged with making these challenging choices from a significant number of submitted nominations.
“We want to have council members that are in different positions around campus,” said Freeman. “We don’t want only faculty for the same reason that we don’t want only staff ... We want to be able to broaden the range of ideas this council generates.”
Following a number of difficult choices, the trio selected the following members for the inaugural IDC: Sue Dooley, Director of Admissions; Blaire Harms, Faculty Associate; Dr. Christina Hart, Distance Learning Program; Jim Howard, Director of DEVOPS and Resource Management; Dr. Anthony Pollman, Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Engineering; and Dr. Preetha Thulasiraman, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“I was pleasantly surprised to get selected because there are so many individuals who I believe would do a great job as part of the council,” said Hart, who manages DL programs for the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy. “I’m looking forward to sitting down with everyone and seeing the data available to us to help make any positive changes that we can.”
“I’m excited to be a part of this new group that has the potential to really help make NPS an even better institution,” echoed Pollman.
Council membership is comprised of seven members from both the faculty and staff to provide an array of experiences and perspectives. The Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs will serve as the lead with selected nominations for two faculty members, two faculty associates of any rank, and two staff of any rank, civilian or military. In addition, the office of counsel, equal employment opportunity office, command-managed equal opportunity office, and human resources office will each have a representative to serve as advisors to the IDC and attend council meetings.
“The IDC is not the same as the human resources department or equal employment opportunity office in the sense that we will not be handling particular cases or complaints,” said Freeman. “Rather, we will look at and study data for a few select issues and collaborate amongst the council to see if we can think of new and different strategies to address it and present these ideas to the leadership that ultimately has to make the decisions.”
Although some of the inaugural members will serve for a single year, IDC membership will typically be a two-year commitment. As the IDC looks ahead to its next meeting, they plan on reviewing initial data, surveys and reports that the council members have access to as a starting point for identifying which specific inclusion and diversity issues and concerns are the most relevant and pressing to address.