Lawrence University promotes inclusivity and equity in report to community

Lawrence University Memorial Chapel on February 8, 2018. (WLUK/Mike Moon)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- Over the last few years, Lawrence University students have brought concerns forward about equity and inclusivity on campus.

University leaders told FOX 11 News they've been trying to correct those issues by taking steps like hiring more diverse staff and providing more support to minority groups.

"Including more diversity in the curriculum, even diversifying the very traditional canon of the conservatory," added Kimberly Barrett, the vice president of diversity and inclusion for the university.

Thursday the university put diversity and equity on display with its annual report to the community.

"Which is really a celebration about partnerships, partnerships between Lawrence and the Fox Cities," said Mark Burstein, the president of the university.

School leadership told us there are two main areas of focus among the partnerships on and off campus.

"Attract and retain diverse talent to the area. Second, make sure that we create a welcoming community for residents that are already here," Barrett explained.

The college honored area programs working to do that Thursday. One of the honorees was ThedaCare's Community Health Action Team.

"A big focus of our work in the last couple of years has been on diversity and inclusion," said Paula Morgen, ThedaCare's director of community health.

For example, the group studies disparities in healthcare across social groups.

"People of color don't end up with the same health outcomes as, as many other people and so there's a lot of opportunity to explore why that happens, a lot of opportunity to address some of those concerns," Morgen explained. "It takes healthcare, it takes education like Lawrence University, it takes business, government, non-profits, faith communities, all coming together to work on this to really change the culture that creates health."

Lawrence leaders told us making these partnerships will only benefit students, the community's future leaders.

"We're about trying to create an environment in which all of us can contribute," said Burstein.

"So they can be, not only, critical thinkers, but compassionate thinkers who, not only know how to make a difference, but why they should make a difference," explained Barrett.

The Fox Cities Diversity Officers Collaborative and the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center were also honored.

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