USU President Creates Task Force to Address Diversity and Inclusion

Utah State University President Noelle Cockett announced plans today for a new Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to guide the university’s efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive university system. The task force will include faculty and staff across USU campuses.

“Diversity and inclusion are essential to achieving our university mission of education, research and outreach,” said Cockett. “The core values of diversity and inclusion are particularly important as we prepare our students to become citizen scholars and global leaders. To be successful, an effort of this magnitude will take campus-wide coordination and collaboration.”


The task force’s charges include:

  1. Conducting a campus climate assessment on university inclusion.
  2. Developing a five-year strategic plan for diversity and inclusion at USU.
  3. Convening key players on a regular basis to oversee implementation of the strategic plan.
  4. Producing annual progress reports to monitor effectiveness of the strategic plan. 

Members of the USU Diversity and Inclusion Task Force include:

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  • Alison Adams-Perlac, Direct of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity 
  • Eri Bentley, CAPS Psychologist and Chair of Aggies Think, Care, Act
  • Janis Boettinger, Vice Provost and Global Engagement Director
  • Michelle Bogdan-Holt, Director of the Access and Diversity Center 
  • Doug Bullock, Director of USU Human Resources
  • Cameron Cuch, Director of Students USU Uintah Basin Campus
  • Amanda DeRito, Director of Crisis Communications and Issues Management
  • Renee Galliher, Professor of Psychology 
  • Christy Glass, Professor of Sociology and Undergraduate Program Co-Director
  • Chris González, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Latinx Cultural Center
  • Ravi Gupta, Professor, Charles Redd Chair of Religious Studies
  • Grecia Jimenez, Recruitment Specialist for Admissions
  • James Morales, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Sachin Pavithran, Policy Director for the Center for Persons with Disabilities
  • Bill Plate, Vice President for Marketing and Communications    
  • David Pruden, Director of the Disability Resource Center
  • Robert Wagner, Vice President for Academic and Instructional Services

The task force will also guide four working groups: Student Recruitment, Retention and Success; Faculty and Staff Hiring, Retention and Success; Training, Instruction and Research; and On-Campus Diversity Committees and Organizations. Each of these working groups will be chaired by a task force member and populated with subject-matter experts from across campus. Student input will also be sought by each of the working groups.

Cockett assigned Eri Bentley and Amanda DeRito to co-chair the task force. They will facilitate the extensive knowledge and expertise of the groups and distribute products and outcomes.

Since she became president in October 2016, Cockett has signaled a broad university commitment to diversity and inclusion. She has invested in the Aggies Think, Care, Act with support for an annual Inclusive Excellence Symposium and established the Latinx Cultural Center to serve as a conduit for service, engagement, advocacy and visibility for the Latinx community both on and off campus. 

The task force will begin meeting before the end of spring semester and the working groups are projected to begin meeting in the fall 2019. 

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