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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 2, 2014) – A University of Central Missouri organization known for its strong support of the professional well-being and status of women, is changing its name to better represent its broader focus on promoting an inclusive campus community. Effective July 1, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) will become the President’s Commission on Inclusivity (PCI).
“The name change from the President's Commission on the Status of Women to the President's Commission on Inclusivity gives the group a better focus and the target to support all groups on campus. This action does not alienate any one group; instead, all groups majority and minority are included for focused support,” said
Tara Napoleone-Clifford, chair of PCSW. “The idea of inclusion should make all people within the campus community feel included with consideration given to people and groups who need specific support.”
She added, “It is important to note that the PCSW has been operating in that inclusivity sense for a number of years. Our name will simply be reflective of our actions.”
Vicki Orcutt, who has served as PCSW treasurer and will become the chair of PCI, said the new name grew out of discussions by a PCSW sub-committee that was established to consider diversity.
“As we discussed the sub-committee’s objectives it became clear to the current commission that inclusivity should be our focus as well,” Orcutt said. “Since President (Charles) Ambrose’s arrival, the PCSW has moved its focus more towards student success creating the opportunity to broaden the overall focus.”
Such a focus is consistent with the university’s Strategic Governance for Student Success model, which emphasizes strategies, programs, and opportunities to help students succeed in their education at UCM and better prepares them for life after college. PCI will help the university set a strategic course in striving to provide a common, supportive working and learning environment for people of all races, genders, religions and ages. This includes addressing issues related to specific groups such as military personnel, individuals with disabilities, and the LGBT members of the campus community, according to Orcutt.
She noted that the group will be discussing its bi-laws this fall, and considering if changes are needed. Under PCSW’s current bi-laws, membership consists of 20 individuals representing faculty and professional and support staff. A minimum of one student member, either a graduate or undergraduate, also serves on the group. Officers are nominated and voted on by the membership.
As the newly named organization’s first president, Orcutt said her primary goal this fall will be to make the campus community aware of changes in the PCSW “and how our focus is not abandoning women” as the campus strives for a university culture that embraces inclusion at all levels. She added, “In fact, it is due to the successes the PCSW has had that make this group the ideal organization to advocate equal treatment for all.”
Orcutt pointed out that for nearly 30 years women at UCM have provided organized support in helping the university to accomplish efforts such as gender-neutral pay and promotional opportunities for women. Today, women serve in top academic and administrative positions at UCM.
“With these accomplishments behind us, there is a need for this commission to cast a wider net to ensure faculty, staff, and students truly understand what a culture of inclusivity means and how each of us has a responsibility to model inclusive behavior for others to emulate,” Orcutt said.
Organized support for women grew out of the Women’ Studies program in 1985, and was first known as the Central Women’s Council, then as Central Women’s Consortium in 1992, when it was given its own budget and reporting line within the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. UCM President Bobby Patton in 2002 created the President’s Commission on the Status of Women as a presidential advisory body to promote the well-being and status of women within the UCM community. During the 2011-2012 academic year, President Charles Ambrose realigned the group’s mission to better reflect the university’s strategic mission, which resulted in the inclusion of a student member to the group.
Individuals who want to learn more about the PCI or are interested in becoming a member are urged to contact Orcutt at 660-543-8300.