Alumni to Lead Diversity, Social Mobility Initiatives
Neumann has instituted a two-pronged program to support diversity and equity on campus and to enhance social mobility opportunities for all students who face barriers to success.
The social mobility initiative is led by alumni who began contacting University President Dr. Chris Domes throughout 2020, asking how they could assist with diversity and equity efforts at Neumann and offering ideas about how to help students make successful transitions to professional careers. The alumni were particularly interested in assisting students of color, first-generation students, and those with challenging socio-economic backgrounds.
As a result of these conversations, Dr. Domes formed the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PAC) to see how an objective, external group might help to advance Neumann’s commitment to diversity and equity. He charged the group to “help build students’ capacity for professional development and career success.” The PAC responded by recommending mentoring programs, summer internship opportunities, and networking partnerships.
Comprised of eight Black alumni, the PAC has begun work to identify internships in the private and public sectors. Members include Ethelind Baylor ’14, health education and training specialist with the City of Philadelphia; Mark Blount ’15, Harlem Globetrotters professional basketball player; Carolyn Clayton ’05, senior learning consultant with Vanguard; Nicole Cogdell ’20, advocate for and liaison to urban communities; Welyne Jargbah ’17, associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Alloyius McIlwaine ’04, CEO/Founder of Cultures Clothing and international mural artist; Jason Peterson ’03 ’12, sales representative at Origlio Beverage; and Stephen Williams ’09, professional staff member of the Homeland Security Committee, U.S. House of Representatives.
“There will be separate business plans for mentoring, internships and networking,” says Dr. Domes. “These initiatives are part of Neumann’s strategic plan and will impact student retention, graduation rates, and professional preparation.”
The second group to promote DEI on campus is internal. The University Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is chaired by Nursing Professor Dr. Michelle Santana and has 22 members.
Based on its early work, the council created working groups to address five topics: listening sessions and measuring campus climate; dialogue and engagement through programs and speakers; professional development, training and bias reporting; communication, video testimonials and a diversity webpage; and leadership development.