The UTHSC College of Nursing has established a Committee for Equity and Inclusion to reinforce the college’s ongoing efforts to maintain an equitable and inclusive culture.
Initiated by Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-Bc, FAANP, the committee will include members from the college’s faculty, staff, and students. Committee co-chairs are Professor Kate Fouquier, CNM, PhD, FACNM, and Recruiting Coordinator Adrian McLain, EdD. Professor Mona Wicks, PhD, RN, FAAN, chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, will serve as a liaison from the new committee to the college’s Executive Team.
“Development of the Committee for Equity and Inclusion allows for the full engagement of our faculty, staff, students and community partners with the Executive Team within the college to ensure we have an equitable and inclusive culture with an eye on social justice,” Dean Likes said.
The work of the committee will continue a conversation the college began soon after the movement for social justice gained momentum nationwide, following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Dean Likes held an all-college meeting, moderated by Dr. Wicks, for faculty and staff to begin to share their experiences around race and justice. The college held a similar meeting for students.
The new committee will meet monthly, or at the request of the dean, with a focus on student, faculty, staff, and college/community engagement, Dr. McLain said.
“This is an opportunity for us to allow our CoN community – faculty, staff, and students – to make sure we are able to share our experiences,” Dr. McLain said. “I really want to make sure others in the college have the opportunity to have their voices heard and have a say in the way our college addresses social justice and equity in the college and the community. I know it will be tough work, but necessary work.”
In addition to the co-chairs and Dr. Wicks, committee members will include one student each from the BSN, DNP, and PhD programs, one faculty member from each of the college’s two departments, and two staff members, one exempt and one non-exempt.
Dr. Fouquier said she sees the committee as a call to action. “To bring about authentic social change, collectively we need to work toward creating a society that is just and equitable,” she said.