Bumpers College Asking Students to Participate in Diversity and Inclusion Virtual Forum

Micayla Blair

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following up on steps taken by University of Arkansas administration to gather information and meet with students regarding the #BlackAtUARK Twitter hashtag, U of A's Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences is scheduling a virtual forum to discuss potential issues for students in the college.

Dean Deacue Fields, Associate Dean Lona Robertson, Assistant Dean Lisa Woods and interim Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Isabel Whitehead have scheduled a virtual meeting for 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, with Jacquelyn Wiersma-Mosley, associate professor of human development and family sciences, and an Intercultural Development Inventor administrator, also participating.

The Bumpers Virtual Student Forum on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is for students to share experiences and expectations for diversity, inclusion and change within the college for Black and Indigenous people, and anyone of color. Adrain Smith with U of A's Multicultural Center will facilitate the meeting.

Bumpers College students are receiving a registration link via email.

Fields was recently one of 14 people among three from the U of A campus who were appointed by U of A System President Donald R. Bobbit to the newly formed UA System Task Force on Racial Equity. The task force will address racial injustice and promote equitable practices within the system.

"2020 has been a challenging year, from the COVID-19 pandemic to social unrest and racial injustice across the country and in our communities," Fields said. "It's frustrating to see what has been exposed, but also encouraging to see people from all races stand up and speak out against racial inequality. We need to embrace and confront these challenges if we want to see positive change. I want to address these challenges in Bumpers College, but to do that, I need to hear from our students. I want to learn about issues specific to our college and discuss a strategy moving forward. This forum is an important step in that process, so I encourage our students to take advantage of this opportunity."

The Bumpers College forum is a follow up on university-wide #BlackAtUARK discussions and meetings in light of current national and campus events.

The college held a diversity and inclusion discussion and forum, co-hosted by U of A's Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences registered student organization, last fall.

An alumni panel visited with students to discuss experiences in Bumpers College, the state of diversity in the college and the value of diversity in the workplace.

Alumni panelists were Kenia Mitre, a poultry science graduate; Jerred McCormick, a human development and family sciences graduate student; and Sara Fanous, a human development and family sciences undergraduate student. Students with diverse backgrounds were encouraged to attend and participate as the college continues to look at ways to cultivate a more inclusive culture.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
479-575-4625, robbye@uark.edu

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