Thank you to all the PPEM members that participated in the questionnaire and Diversity and Inclusion Workshop facilitated by the esteemed Dr. Ron Walcott. Ron did an outstanding job bringing varied voices to the conversation and sharing his unique experience. One of the key points from the workshop was: it isn’t about what we are doing wrong but it is about doing more of what we do right. Although some voices were missing from the questionnaire and workshop, those that answered indicated that as a group we want everyone in the department to feel included and that is a great foundation. Dr. Walcott told us that as Dean for Diversity in the College of Agricultural Sciences at UGA he would have loved to have been invited in to facilitate a discussion like this in any department in his College. That we were willing to start this conversation indicated to him what we already know, that we have a very special department. Moreover, this department is more than just hot air. The conversation we started last Monday has already led to action and plans by the Plant Pathology Association. Please contact Ron Walcott to thank him if you appreciated his extra effort on our behalf.
We are each on an amazing journey on this planet and for a period of time we are sharing that journey as members of this department. Our lives are enriched by the diversity of the thought, culture, and ambitions that we have as a group. We may not always agree, but we have agreed to work respectfully together. Our core values (according to the 2014 strategic plan) state that: We support human rights and respect people from diverse cultures with different ethnic backgrounds, and provide an atmosphere of mutual respect that promotes open sharing of ideas and viewpoints. We get lots of things right, but we can and will do better as we recognize and learn about areas that limit inclusion. If you feel we are neglecting key aspects of diversity and inclusion, I hope you will come to talk with me about your concerns. Knowledge is the key.
Welcoming everyone to PPEM again,