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Diversity & Climate

Letter from Provost and Vice Chancellor Rita Cheng

Colleagues,

At UWM, we are committed to strengthening the two pillars on which our future goals depend: excellence and productivity in research; and access and success for students from varied and diverse backgrounds. In both of these areas, we can proudly point to incremental gains we have made over the past several years. But we all know that incremental growth is not enough and that, instead, we must make bold steps to transform our culture and our expectations to make this vision a reality.

The final report of the Task Force on Race and Ethnicity serves as a clarion call for just such a transformation. The Task Force has been at work for almost three years and has made commendable efforts to engage the campus in discussions and surveys around the issue of climate, race and ethnicity.

I encourage you to read the Report, which is online at http://www4.uwm.edu/acad_aff/climate/taskforce/ . The recommendations of the Task Force reinforce the steps we are already implementing in the Milwaukee Commitment and under the broad umbrella of Access to Success. But the Task Force report has to remind us all that our climate issues are real, and that we have an urgent need to create a new culture at UWM that welcomes and respects all.

I want to thank Professor Larry Martin for his leadership of the task force and all of the members for their commitment to diversity and to UWM. I recommend that the entire UWM community read the task force report—I must stress the communal responsibility we share. Each and every one of us must be accountable in ensuring an appropriate campus. Each and every member of the campus community, whether as part of a formal group such as the Chancellor’s Council for Inclusion or governance groups, or as a member of the campus administration, faculty, staff or student body, must embrace and actively work to continuously improve UWM’s climate.

Sincerely,

Rita Cheng
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs