The commitment of a university or any other organization to a cause or goal requires contributions and commitment from many people. In 2006, Frontier Nursing University intentionally decided to increase the diversity of its student population. Among the many reasons for this and the subsequent initiatives and programs was the undeniable data demonstrating that healthcare disparities could be dramatically reduced via culturally concordant care.
FNU President Dr. Susan Stone, DNSc, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, drove this commitment. With the full support of the FNU Board of Directors and Frontier faculty and staff, much progress has been made over the ensuing years. From the establishment of the PRIDE (Promoting Recruitment and Retention to Increase Diversity) Program in 2010 to the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position and 13 years of the Diversity Impact Conference, Dr. Stone has championed the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, creating a culture that promises to live on long beyond her impending transition to the Distinguished Chair of Midwifery and Nursing.
“Dr. Stone’s commitment to FNU’s DEI agenda began over a decade ago with the initiation of the PRIDE Program and the Diversity Impact Conference,” said FNU Dean of Nursing Dr. Joan Slager, CNM, DNP, FACNM, FAAN. More recently, she bravely and transparently formed a task force to examine FNU’s past and how that knowledge impacts our current culture and informs our future DEI position, policies, and initiatives.”
By establishing goals, developing an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and creating several committees garnering input from all corners of the university, Dr. Stone has helped make DEI part of the fabric of the university.
“Dr. Stone’s understanding of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion led her to make DEI an integral part of the university’s strategic plan and the implementation of the President DEI task force,” said FNU Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Student Success Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech, Ph.D., PMHNP-BC, APRN. “Her devotion to DEI is admirable and empowers everyone at FNU to succeed more as we achieve our goals as a university.”
“Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes more than one university to make it happen,” said Dr. Stone. “Nonetheless, Frontier has long been committed to being a leader for change. We have prioritized increasing the diversity of our student population. Our enrollment of students of color has grown from 9 percent in 2010 to over 30 percent today. We have a three-person Diversity and Inclusion Office, a Board of Directors Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, faculty and staff DEI Fellowship programs, student interest groups, and many other DEI-focused initiatives. All of these are ongoing – we have not reached the finish line. Like the rest of the world, we are a work in progress, and progress is indeed being made at Frontier Nursing University.”
Save the Date
FNU’s Diversity Impact Conference, “Representation Matters: Breaking Down Contributing Factors of Health Inequities,” will be held on July 18-19, 2024, on the Zoom platform! FNU is extremely excited about this year’s conference. The DIPA Committee has been diligently working on planning an innovative, interactive, online version of the conference. Registration will open soon for the event.
A Timeline of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Frontier
2006: Objectives included in the strategic plan to increase the diversity of the student body
2010: Established goal to increase minority enrollment to 15% by 2010.
2010: PRIDE (Promoting Recruitment and Retention to Increase Diversity) Program was established.
2010: Annual Diversity Impact Conference established
2018: Established goal to increase student of color enrollment to 30%
2018: Established goal to increase student of color retention rate from an average of 66% to an average of 80% by June 2021
2018: Established the Director of Diversity and Inclusion and made the person in that position a member of the President’s Cabinet
2021: Created the President’s DEI Task Force to identify, implement, and evaluate initiatives to address diversity, equity, and inclusion within the FNU community
2021: Created 7 subcommittees of the President’s DEI Task Force:
• Subcommittee on Faculty, Staff, and Preceptor Development and Retention
• Subcommittee on Curriculum and Learning
• Subcommittee on Climate and Belonging
• Subcommittee on Retention of Underrepresented Students
• Subcommittee on Policies, Statements, Reports, Reviews, Planning and Evaluation
• Subcommittee on Infrastructure, System Strengthening, and Capacity Building
• Subcommittee on Recruitment Across the Entire University
2021: Created the Anti-Racism and Bias Advisory Council
2021: Board of Directors Created their own DEI Committee
2021: Board of Directors established a $2 million endowed fund for scholarships for underrepresented students
2022: Bias Incident Report Advisory Council formed
2022: Land Acknowledgment Ceremony and sign to acknowledge that Versailles, Kentucky is the traditional territory of the Shawnee and Cherokee people.
2023: Launched DEI Faculty Fellows program
2023: Launched DEI Staff Ambassador program
2023: Established Safe Space for Students Initiative
2023: Dr. Tanya Belcheff named Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
2023: Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech named the University’s First Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Student Success
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards
2018-23: Insight Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (6 consecutive years)
2021: Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Leadership Award presented by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
2023: Inclusive Excellence, Belonging, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Award presented by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing