Hodges University

College Creates Diversity Advisory Committee

When U.S. News and World Report published its list of Best Colleges in America for 2005, Naples-based International College was not only specifically credited for its low student to teacher ratio and high prevalence of adult learners, but also for its diversity. That recognition of International College’s diverse student and faculty composition has since fostered creation of a new Diversity Advisory Committee.

Chaired by Dr. Harold Russell, The Committee is currently collaborating on several initiatives that include offering of guidance, recognition and outreach services related to diversity issues.

“We’re rejoicing in our diversity!” says Committee Co-Chairman Fabio Tagliasacchi.

“We realized that what we’re doing here is working and that we’re all working together. We can celebrate the fact that when this college refers to itself as international, it’s not just an expression of words.”

Tagliasacchi goes on to assert that in too many cases diversity initiatives are not seen as necessary until some type of problem has occurred.

“In corporate America, there are those who have failed to recognize the significance of diversity until they have experienced legal conflicts or staff-related problems,” says Tagliasacchi.

“Fortunately, that isn’t the case here. The goal of our committee is to not only recognize areas where we can maximize on the positives experienced by our College students and staff, but create more awareness about the role of diversity among area businesses.”

Committee Chairman Dr. Harold Russell affirms that businesses must be empowered with broader knowledge of what represents diversity, as well as what diversity represents to a company’s bottom line.

“Most people think that it is simply related to race,” says Dr. Russell. “In fact diversity is much broader and can be manifested in terms of gender, nationality, sexual orientation, aspects of physicality and more.”

Dr. Russell suggests that failure to understand diversity issues can affect a company’s ability to hire, disconnect the company from its market, and potentially lead to adverse social and legal ramifications.

In addition to developing a process for providing certification in diversity training, Dr. Russell says The Committee anticipates creation of a recognition program to honor businesses which adhere to a “best practices” model in the utilization of diversity within their working environment.

“For these businesses, our aim is to pay tribute and learn from their good examples,” says Dr. Russell.

Currently comprised of five members, the Diversity Advisory Committee plans to expand into a nine-member panel within the coming weeks. Present members are as follows: Dr. Harold Russell, Fabio Tagliasachhi, Dr. Jackreece Telemate, Dr. Ron Bowmam and Leisha Klentzeris.
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