Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2017-2022

Message from the President

Diversity and Inclusion are extremely important to all of us at Jacksonville State University. As the Friendliest Campus in the South, we are a very welcoming and inclusive community to all. We welcome people to visit, work, play and study on our campus irrespective of their race, color, creed, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation etc. Diversity and inclusion makes us better, stronger and more successful, and we are proud of our diversity.

Our University Strategic Plan reflects the importance of diversity and provides a global perspective reflecting that we respect others and their ideas no matter who they are and from where they hail. Diversity of ideas and openness to others’ opinions and perspectives makes the university stronger and develops students into better future professionals and citizens. A true university is still a bastion for free speech and debate. JSU is proud to reflect this ideal.

At JSU, we value and are committed to inclusion, ensuring we provide access to and opportunities for our faculty, staff, students, and our external constituents to actively engage and participate in a vibrant, intellectual community which supports and offers a broad range of ideas, perspectives, and educational opportunities. I encourage everyone to embrace these opportunities and to learn from each other. At JSU, we welcome a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints, and intellectual approaches because these enrich conversations and benefit everyone through broader, enhanced perspectives into issues.

Our Diversity Strategic Plan has been developed by a dedicated committee inclusive of faculty, staff and students. I would like to thank these individuals for a job well done. It is clear that our Diversity Strategic Plan is consistent with our new University Strategic Plan. Achieving the goals of these plans will help JSU to reach its enormous potential in the future. Please take the time to review this plan and integrate its strategy into your experience and service at JSU.

Go Gamecocks!

John M. Beehler, Ph.D., CPA 


Message from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Jacksonville State University nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. For a small town in northeast Alabama, Jacksonville is a uniquely diverse community. Such diversity is due in part to the presence of our university, which has enjoyed and embraced the presence of students and faculty from all over the world for more than seventy years through a cultural immersion program in its International House. In the early years students came to our campus from France only, then a few more European countries were added along the way. Now our students, those who live in the International House and those students who live elsewhere on campus, come from seventy different countries and speak more than two hundred languages, enriching our cultural experiences and educating us about cultural and human differences.

Also contributing to the diversity in our community was the presence of Ft. McClellan, a U. S. Army installation which, among other things, trained military police, chemical officers, enlisted service men and women, and others until a few years ago when the installation closed. The ever-changing diversity of the individuals from all over the world who moved to our community because of their affiliation with Ft. McClellan enriches our community to this day in our neighborhoods and schools where diversity prevails because of the fort’s influence.

At Jacksonville State University in Calhoun County, Alabama we continue our commitment to increasing the number of faculty, staff, and administrators who represent many cultures and diverse backgrounds. In order to recruit the best qualified employees from diverse backgrounds, we are attending conferences to recruit for positions that currently are posted and introduce Jacksonville State University to potential applicants for future positions. We are reaching out in many ways to identify, recruit, hire, and retain more faculty with diverse background. We use new internet resources, diversity publications and directories, and personal contacts to improve our recruitment efforts. We support the professional development of our employees and students in an effort to "grow our own" leaders of tomorrow. Our efforts are paying off as evidenced by increased retention and hiring of faculty, staff, and administrators who are from diverse backgrounds. We will aggressively continue to improve our efforts and results so that Jacksonville State University will be a model of diversity and inclusion.

Sincerely affirming and celebrating diversity and inclusion with you,

Rebecca O. Turner, MSW, DSW
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


The purpose of this Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan is to communicate Jacksonville State University’s (JSU) commitment to diversity and inclusion, to outline planned activities, inclusive programs and services which meet the needs of our growing community, and to remove barriers to services and programs across the University. JSU recognizes and values the contributions made by all constituents and desires to create and sustain an even more inclusive environment for people of all races, ethnicities, faiths, and cultures to study and work in a supportive, diverse community which recognizes strengths and where new ideas are embraced.

Jacksonville State University Diversity and Inclusion Vision Statement
Jacksonville State University will be a national leader and model for the institutional integration of diversity, inclusion and acceptance in higher education for the 21st century.

Jacksonville State University Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement
Jacksonville State University is committed to providing a transformative academic environment that values diversity, inclusivity, access and equity within the community.

Jacksonville State University’s Definition of Diversity
The concept of diversity encompasses an inclusive community of people with varied human characteristics, ideas, and political/world views including and not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, color, creed, national origin, age, disabilities, socio economic status, life experiences, geographical region, or ancestry. Jacksonville State University fosters an environment of equality that respects and embraces our differences.

Diversity at Jacksonville State University
The administration at Jacksonville State University (JSU) is committed to Affirmative Action and strategic plans to enhance diversity in a multicultural atmosphere. This commitment emphasizes recruiting and retaining minority faculty-staff to reflect the student population, especially the under-represented groups.

JSU’s Diversity Strategic Plan
The plan was developed by campus-wide committees and sub-committees and is continually updated to serve as a guide in establishing a diverse faculty and staff at JSU.

JSU’s Affirmative Action
The University takes positive aggressive action to recruit and hire minority faculty and staff at a minimum percentage to reflect the student population at JSU.

JSU Recruitment and Retention
JSU takes positive action to recruit and retain under-represented faculty, staff, and students.

Jacksonville State University Diversity and Inclusion Core Values

Inclusive Excellence

The recognition that a community’s or institution’s success is dependent on how well it values, engages, and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni constituents.

Collaboration The work and activity of several persons who individually contribute toward the efficiency of the goal. (no citation) 
Social Justice and Equity

The collective responsibility of a free and just society to ensure that civil and human rights and access to opportunities are preserved and protected for all.

Respect and Civility

Interpersonal skills in relationships for how we relate to each other; the fundamentals of courtesy, politeness, and consideration leading to mutual respect.


The ability to create an inspiring vision of the future and motivate and inspire people to engage that vision.

Intercultural Competence

A set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of intercultural contexts.

Unity The joining together of groups to form a single purpose. (no citation) 

The state or condition of being communal. A feeling or spirit of cooperation and belonging arising from common interests and goals.

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Statement

Jacksonville State University (JSU) is an equal opportunity employer and educational provider dedicated to non-discrimination of any member of the University's community based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veterans' status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other legally protected group status. This policy applies to faculty, staff, students, visitors, applicants, and contractors in a manner consistent with applicable laws, regulations, ordinances, orders, and University policies, procedures, and processes. As an equal opportunity employer JSU is committed to a pro-active role in the recruitment and selection processes.

JSU will use diverse recruitment strategies to identify and attract candidates. JSU is committed to establishing and maintaining a diverse workforce, reflective of the diverse population within the region. JSU is committed to take affirmative action that provides equal opportunities to employ, advance in employment, and otherwise treat all qualified individuals with disabilities without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, or physical or mental disabilities in all human resources selection and decision practices, such as: advertising, benefits, compensation, discipline (including probation, suspension, and/or termination for cause, or layoff), recreation programs, and training. JSU will not discriminate, nor tolerate discrimination, against any applicant because of physical or mental disability, in regard to any position for which the known applicant for employment is qualified.

It is also the policy of JSU to provide an environment for each applicant, employee, and student that is free from sexual harassment, as well as harassment and intimidation on account of an individual’s race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability.

The university prohibits retaliation of any form against applicants, employees, or students who have filed a discrimination complaint or assist in an investigation under this policy. The university will consider, through appropriate and designated procedures, the complaint or grievance of any individual who has reason to feel he or she has been affected by discrimination because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.

As an institution of higher education, and in keeping with its policy of equal employment opportunity, the university hereby declares its policy of equal educational opportunity. All applicants for admission will be considered solely upon the basis of individual qualifications. All available student job opportunities will be distributed without regard to an applicant's race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veterans' status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other legally protected group status. This policy will be noted in all student handbooks, and the complaint or grievance of any student or prospective student who has reason to feel he or she has been affected by discrimination will be considered through appropriate procedures.

The University has established an Office of Diversity and Inclusion within the Department of Human Resources which is directly responsible for the administration of the University’s affirmative action plan.

Summary of Goals

Observation: The following goals are based on a vision of a diverse, multicultural atmosphere as expressed in JSU’s Diversity Statement and Affirmative Action Statement. The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) committee, comprised of an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff and students, believes that an organization cannot, for example, recruit and retain minorities and underrepresented groups unless it has developed and implemented educational opportunities, cultivated an inclusive campus climate, and developed an exemplary diversity and inclusion program.  

Goal 1
Develop and implement educational opportunities for the JSU community about the importance of diversity, inclusivity, and cultural sensitivity.

  • Develop ongoing training opportunities for current employees.
  • Provide diversity and inclusion awareness during the onboarding stage of all new employees.
  • Promote the tenets of Diversity and Inclusion to all students.

Goal 2
Cultivate an Inclusive Campus Climate

  • Recruit and retain diverse and engaged workforce.
  • Recruit, retain, and graduate a diverse and engaged student body.
  • Provide an accessible environment with appropriate resources.

Goal 3
Develop an exemplary Diversity and Inclusion program

  • Promote and participate in community partnerships.
  • Present the JSU Diversity & Inclusion Program to other universities and affiliates.
  • Identify means/resources to offer diversity focused grants.

University-Wide Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Dr. Tim King Vice President, Student Affairs- Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Heidi Louisy Chief HR & Diversity Officer - Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Janet Bavonese Assistant Professor /Department Head 
Mr. Andy Green Director, Undergraduate Admission & Recruitment 
Ms. Chandni Khadka Director, International Housing & Programs 
Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani Professor - Biology 
Mr. Ranger Rumrill SGA President
Dr. Darren Douthitt  JSU Alumnus 
Mr. Pete Conroy  Director, Environmental Policy & Information Center 
Mr. Rainer Clements  IT Support Specialist 
Dr. Hanrong Wong  Professor - Library 
Mr. Mark du Pont  Coordinator, Scholarship Administration 
Mr. Richard Riley  Maintenance Inventory Clerk III 
Dr. Kyoko Johns  Associate Professor 
Dr. Maureen Newton  Dean, School Human & Social Science 
Ms. Rochelle Smith  Director, Residence Life 
Dr. Erin Rider  Associate Professor- Sociology 

Diversity and Inclusion 2017 Strategic Planning Committee

Dr. Heidi Louisy  Chief HR & Diversity Officer Committee Co-Chair 
Dr. Christie Shelton  Dean, School Health Professions & Wellness - Committee Co-Chair 
Dr. Erin Rider  Associate Professor- Sociology 
Mr. Rodney Bailey  Instructor- English 
Mr. Andy Green  Director, Undergraduate Admission & Recruitment 
Dr. Tim King  Vice President, Student Affairs 
Ms. Kimberly Presson  Director, Institutional Effective 
Ms. Chandni Khadka  Director, International Housing & Programs 
Mr. Tyrone Smiley  Assistant Director, Conference Services  & Support Operations 
Dr. Safaa Al Hamdani  Professor - Biology 
Dr. Darren Douthitt  JSU Alumnus 
Dr. Carlette Lockett Assistant Professor- Sociology 
Dr. Maureen Newton  Dean, School Human & Social Science 
Dr. Janet Bavonese  Assistant Professor /Department Head 
Mr. Pete Conroy  Director, Environmental Policy & Information Center 
Mr. Tim Garner  Chief Marketing and Communications Officer 
Mr. Earl Warren  Director, University Advancement 
Mr. Ranger Rumrill SGA President
Dr. Sarah Cusimano Miles Assistant Professor, MFA & President, Faculty Senate