Vanderbilt University (VU) is committed to ensuring diversity, inclusivity, and equity among students staff and faculty. As a community of scholars and lifelong learners, we value diversity in its many forms and believe that a diverse and inclusive community makes a better learning and working environment.
Diversity and Inclusivity
In August 2015, Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos announced that addressing issues of diversity and inclusivity was his top priority. To that end, he appointed the Chancellor’s Diversity, Inclusion and Community Committee to study current university climate and efforts; gather input from students, faculty, and staff across the university; and make recommendations. The committee submitted its report and recommendations to the Chancellor in July 2016.
Chancellor Zeppos affirms VU’s commitment values and principles of diversity, inclusivity and fairness that define, guide, and unite us as a university. VUSN, as outlined in the school’s 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan, embraces these guiding principles to achieve and maintain:
- Institutional commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equity
- An organizational climate that fosters intergroup relations
- Recruitment and retention success for all students
- Education, scholarship, and research to improve the wellbeing and quality of life for all populations
VUSN Diversity Statement
In 2017, aligning with the mission statement of Vanderbilt University office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity, VUSN faculty voted to formally recognize the VUSN Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity Committee as a standing committee. The committee membership is diverse and includes male and female students, faculty and staff representation. As part of its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, VUSN adopted the official position statement below:
At Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. We support our efforts with respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person. To bring to life our vision of inclusive excellence, we seek to recruit, admit, hire, retain, promote, and support diverse and underrepresented groups of students, staff, and faculty. We value social justice and human rights. We embrace the plurality of humanity that composes our community including, but not limited to, age, race, ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion. We affirm the inherent worth of each individual in order to protect, promote, and optimize the health and abilities of all people. As educators of advanced practice nurses, nurse scholars, nurse leaders, and nurse faculty, we accept the responsibility to foster and graduate highly educated, culturally-sensitive health care professionals who mirror the diverse populations they serve."
The VUSN Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity Committee, along with the Program Evaluation Committee, submit annual reports to Dean Linda Norman and the VUSN Executive Committee. The report includes benchmarks of success such as enrollment numbers and graduate rates for minority students, including men, in nursing.
In addition to the VUSN Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity Committee, there are several VUSN-sponsored committees where men, as minorities, find a sense of belongingness and support. These include the Black Student Nurses Association, the LGBTI Student Nurses Association, and the Asian Student Nurses Association.
Dean's Diversity Lecture
Twice each year, VUSN Dean Linda Norman sponsors the Dean’s Diversity Lecture Series. The lecture series inspires a more profound consideration of varied cultures, perspectives, and experiences of others.
Speakers from the past three years have included:
- Asa Radix, MD (Director of Transgender Health, New York University)
- Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN (President AARP)
- Mulubrhan F. Mogos, PhD, MCS (Health disparities in obstetrics, University of Illinois, Chicago)
- Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute)
- Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN (Deputy Surgeon General/Rear Admiral)
In addition to the Chancellor’s and Dean Norman’s support and initiatives for diversity and inclusivity, Rolanda Johnson, Jana Lauderdale, Peter Buerhaus, Sarah Fogel, and Tom Christenbery are considered national experts on diversity and inclusivity for minorities (e.g., African Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQI) and men in nursing. Their presence and involvement at VUSN help maintain an attentiveness toward a fair and unbiased climate for all VUSN participants.
Vanderbilt and VUSN Climate
In keeping with the VU charge to foster diversity and inclusivity, VUSN is consistently engaged in creating a nursing workforce more reflective of the populations nurses serve. Data from the VUSN Admissions Office and the Program-Evaluation Committee from the past three years indicate upward admission trends and retention stability for male students in all programs. This report attests that VUSN is using deliberate and effective strategies to recruit, mentor, and retain men in its nursing program.
In 2015, a University Climate survey was conducted. The survey, Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, was developed at the Harvard School of Education. The survey provided important discovery and insight into life at Vanderbilt University, including gender and mentor specific data. Even though the survey provided an interpretive analysis for both the university and VUSN, it was determined by the VUSN Diversity and Inclusivity Committee that a more specific survey addressing concerns of men and minorities at VUSN would need to be conducted.
To achieve this goal, the VUSN Diversity and Inclusivity Committee is developing a school-specific climate survey based on the University of Washington School of Nursing climate survey.
The VUSN climate survey will target potential concerns (e.g., inclusion of men's heath in the curriculum) specific to male students and faculty.
In summary, the academic climate at VUSN is dynamic and bends toward Dean Christman's goal of creating an environment where nurses can receive the best possible education and be treated with equal respect.
The remainder of this report will describe many activities of the members of VUSN'S AAMN Chapter as well as men in general at VUSN. These descriptions will provide evidence that VUSN is an excellent school of nursing choice for men.