Warren Anderson Ed.D., the university’s first vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, explains his vision for the future.
By S.L. Guthrie M.A ’20
Photography by Daryl Wilson
From a very early age I saw inequities in education. As a child on the receiving end of those inequities, you always wonder what you can do differently, what you would do differently if you had the opportunity? My foray into this work was to try to rectify them so no one else would have to go through it.
I’ve said it a number of times, just because my title has diversity in it doesn’t mean I’m the only one responsible for “doing” diversity ... Each of us should be the reason a student decides to stay, decides to come or is successful here.
I want Bradley to be an institution where our students can go into any workplace, regardless of geography, and be successful because they have some level of cultural competency guiding them.
I want to make sure Bradley is a place that’s culturally competent and student-centric, regardless of a student’s background. That’s what I hope to get off the ground pretty quickly because it doesn’t take money.
We have more than enough individuals here who are willing to help. We just need to make sure they have the tools to do it.
We have to make sure we’re building this for the generations of students to come.
Students and employees of color have options now in terms of where they want to go they’ve never had before. What’s going to make Bradley stand out is understanding exactly how we make headway in those areas, understanding that our environment has to be more than diverse.
One of the areas I really want to focus on is sponsored research. Can we attract grants that support the success of students of color, the access for students of color, the faculty in professional development? How can we enhance those things in faculty getting involved in ways in which they haven’t before?
I want us to move fast. I want us to be audacious and bold in terms of where we see ourselves and what we do and where we go.
Let me be clear. Everything we need to make this a reality is already here. We have everything we need to do it. It’s just a matter of coalescing everything into a specific direction and pulling all these things together. I couldn’t be more excited about where we’re headed very, very soon.
There’s no shortage of things you can do to get involved. The simplest thing you can do is have the desire to get involved. We’ll do the rest!
Most of the work it takes to have a truly transformative environment around diversity and inclusion doesn’t cost anything. We have the capacity to do amazing things in this realm.
Someone asked me where I see my office in this division in 10 years. To be perfectly honest with you, I hope I’m out of a job.
I hope this work is so fully ingrained into the fabric of who we are, it’s no longer necessary to have a separate division of diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s simply the Bradley Way.