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Diversity Certificate Program Graduates 26 UTHSC Professionals From Its Fall 2018 Cohort

The fall 2018 cohort of the Diversity Certificate program was comprised of 26 UTHSC professionals. (Photo by Allen Gillespie/UTHSC)

The Office of Equity and Diversity at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Thursday graduated 26 faculty and staff members from the fall 2018 cohort of its Diversity Certificate Program (DCP).

Started in fall 2017, the program aims to develop a more knowledgeable workforce by enhancing competencies and capacity around diversity and inclusion, in order to leverage them toward achieving and sustaining campus-wide excellence. This initiative aligns with the chancellor’s strategic plan for diversity. To date, 78 UTHSC team members have completed the program.

DCP graduate Justin Dodson reflects on his experience at the closing ceremony. (Photo by Allen Gillespie/UTHSC)

“What I enjoyed most about the Diversity Certificate Program is that it allowed me to come in contact with colleagues that I would have never had the space to meet and experience how they view the world,” said Justin Dodson, LPC-MHSP, counselor in Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion and new graduate of the program. “It was affirming in knowing that all behavior is purposeful and sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and identifying the cause of behavior and collaborating on how to have the best solution possible.”

The program demonstrates that embracing diversity and inclusion can bring a broader range of perspectives and backgrounds into UTHSC and lead to more-effective decision-making. Participants gain an understanding of the latest research and best practices in the fields of cross-cultural competency and diversity.

“We attribute the growth of the DCP to employees being able to self-select their participation, in comparison to mandatory participation in diversity and inclusion training,” said Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP/AP, assistant vice chancellor for Equity and Diversity and Title IX Coordinator.

“The DCP is about training, development, and education, and those are three critical keys for UTHSC in preparing managers, supervisors, and workers to affect organizational climate, while fulfilling the strategic plan.”

The fall 2018 graduates of the Diversity Certificate Program received their certificates during a ceremony in the Hamilton Eye Institute’s Freeman Auditorium. They are: Carriann Bingham, MBA, (College of Dentistry); Alisha Boone (Human Resources); Tabatha Bortters (The Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth); Trimika Bowdre, PhD, MPH, (College of Nursing); Sarah Cheon (Information Technology Services); Connie Childs, MA, (International Affairs); Alicia Clark, MA, (The Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth); Justin Dodson, LPC-MHSP, (Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion); Jeffery Fields (Facilities Administration); Sheredith Fountain (The Plough Center); Charles Hicks, Jr. (UTHSC Library); Timothy Hottel, DDS, MS, MBA, DBA, (Health System Affairs); Edwin Jeffres (Facilities Administration); Andrea Kolen (Space Planning and Utilization); Rhalmil Mathews (College of Medicine); Jacqueline McManis (Print and Copy Center); David Meyer (Communications and Marketing); Patricia Page (Electronic Research Administration); Kiela Person (Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs); Christie Rakestraw (Student Affairs and Enrollment Services); Peggy Reisser (Communications and Marketing); Delira Robbins, PhD, (UT Research Foundation); Robert St. Clair (Print and Copy Center); Cynthina Starke-Cordero (College of Medicine); Kay Strahan, MSLIS, (UTHSC Library) and Valerie Wheeler (Information Technology Services).

This spring, OED is planning a conference-style program that will be held over two full days. This accelerated format will allow members of the campus community who have trouble with the traditional scheduling of the program to participate.Dates and application deadlines will be announced soon. The traditional schedule will resume in fall 2019.