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OSU-Cascades names Erika McCalpine first executive director of strategic diversity initiatives

(Update: adding video, new info, comments from McCalpine & OSU-Cascades interim VP)

'This is progress, and we're moving in the right direction -- and will continue to do so'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Erika McCalpine, a business faculty member who has championed social justice issues within Oregon State University, OSU-Cascades and in the Bend community, has been named executive director of strategic diversity initiatives at OSU-Cascades.

"This is progress, and we're moving in the right direction and will continue to do so," McCalpine told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday.

McCalpine, who teaches courses in human resources, is the founder and director of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the Bend campus. She is also president-elect of the OSU Faculty Senate.

"Using the training that I have in business and with diversity, equity and inclusion, I decided to go to work and help make Bend a better place for people like me and others that are from diverse backgrounds to live and thrive in this community, and not just exist," McCalpine said.

Andrew Ketsdever, interim vice president of OSU-Cascades, said in the announcement, “Erika has demonstrated a remarkable ability to lead through complex and challenging social issues, and build bridges across OSU campuses and throughout our community. I am confident that Erika will bring practical solutions as OSU-Cascades’ increases its capacity to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Right now, McCalpine admits diversity is lacking at the university. An OSU-Cascades spokeswoman confirmed there are only 90 faculty and staff members who identify as black out of 6,500 employees across the entire university. At the Bend campus, McCalpine is the only black member of full-time faculty., and just 1 percent of students at OSU-Cascades identify as black.

“Oregon has an interesting history, as it relates to race, specifically with the exclusion laws which kept black people out of Oregon,” McCalpine said. “We want to really change that narrative, so that everyone knows that Oregon is a great place to live for everyone."

Ketsdever said the creation of this role, and McCalpine's hiring, are important when looking ahead.

"What we're looking for now is what the aspirational Central Oregon looks like," he said. "What do we look like in terms of diversity for the future, and how do we reflect that here on this campus so that the community has a place to look to, for an example?"

In her new role, McCalpine will advise Ketsdever and campus leadership in designing and implementing strategies to advance social justice.

“I’m looking forward to accelerating OSU-Cascades’ diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and to continuing to work with partners across Central Oregon as we create welcoming environments for people from all walks of life,” said McCalpine.

Her responsibilities will include designing and implementing an annual diversity, equity and inclusion training program for employees, and creating an on-boarding program that introduces new employees to campus values focused on social justice.

McCalpine’s role will also focus on leveraging partnerships throughout OSU – including with the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Division of Student Affairs, University Relations and Marketing and other academic and administrative units – that can support the Bend campus’s faculty, staff and students as they further diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

She will also engage Central Oregon community members in diversity, equity and inclusion topics through forums and events, and an annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium.

About OSU-Cascades:  Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to Central Oregon, the fastest growing region in the state. Surrounded by 2.5 million acres of mountains and high desert, OSU-Cascades is a top-tier research university where small classes accelerate faculty-student mentoring. Degree programs meet industry and economic needs in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, and arts and sciences, and prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

Comments

13 Comments

    1. Yes….these highly-paid positions (I’m guessing well over $100K including benefits) are created for one reason: to have a response when the University is accused of ignoring diversity. They can say, well, we have this position called Executive in Charge of Looking Like We’re Doing Something…The reality is that ‘diversity’ is lacking in jobs and colleges across the nation and little progress has been made in decades. Not because efforts are not being made, but because there is a refusal to recognize the true issue: most children of color are falling behind before they enter pre-school and never catch up.

  1. How about if we just not judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?
    This “diversity, equity, and inclusion” garbage does nothing but classify individuals by their race or sexual orientation, neither of which I give a hoot about.
    This is a slippery slope folks.

    1. Wow – sounds like some white rage is peaking through your comment.

      And I agree with you 100000000000%!!!!!!

      Why are AA’s now seeking to revert equality? That’s what it feels like up in here.

    1. Is the word diversity or critical race theory or inclusive inclusiveness is is the Contrivance of the white racist liberal bourgeoisie And of course the Liberal minorities who supported are just as racist.

  2. Ok – all CRT jokes aside, let’s just talk straight numbers. Oregon population is 2.2% black according to 2019 data. So, OSU has 1.3% black faculty and staff and only 1% black students @OSU in Bend. What am I missing? This is a joke. Does this mean that we need to hire another 90-100 black staff to make things right? Are they qualified for the job? I’m quite sure that OSU is not discriminating here, but let’s cover our ass and create a new useless role to discuss how mistreated that sector of our population is. Keep on creating more division people – ’cause that’s what you are doing.

  3. I think humans are a bit more complicated than skin color. This is red herring issue. It’s really about people finding a way to cheat the system or gain an advantage. If we for some reason focused on eye color and found that hazel colored eyes were underrepresented, all of a sudden there would be a lot of people saying they have hazel colored eyes and blaming “the system” for their problems in life. To be successful in life it takes a lot more than the”right” color.

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