Tag Archives: Diversity and Inclusion

CNN commentator to speak at Diversity Summit

Marc Lamont Hill
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

CNN commentator and HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill will be the keynote speaker for Georgia Regents University’s 2015 Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit. This year’s event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center.


In his presentation “Building community in an hour of chaos: progress in the age of Obama,” Hill will share his expertise on how to empower communities by using practical tools and strategies.

Hill is a world-renowned author who provides regular commentary for media outlets like NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel, where he was a political contributor and regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor.

Hill is a distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College. Prior to that, he held positions at Columbia University and Temple University.

Crystal Kadakia, Founder of Invati LLC

Another highlight for this year’s program will be a workshop led by Invati Consulting founder Crystal Kadakia. The Huffington Post blogger and former TEDx speaker will give her insight on how employers can effectively engage and manage millennials in the workplace.

Other summit activities include panel discussions and various workshops on topics such as strategies for recruiting and retaining minorities in STEM careers and the 45th Anniversary of the Augusta Race Riots.

For a complete schedule and registration information, go to gru.edu/diversity/summit/.


Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month showcases diversity through dance, stories and cuisine

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, and Georgia Regents University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is providing several opportunities for the GRU community to celebrate Asian-Pacific culture.

This year’s month-long celebration, signed into law in 1992, started with an online Asian-Pacific heritage trivia contest and a yoga demonstration at the JSAC Outdoor Plaza during Finals Week.

On Friday, May 22, the Magical Fires of Polynesia, a CSRA-based group of Polynesian entertainers, will present a hula demonstration from noon – 1 p.m. at the Terrace Café on the second floor of the Georgia Regents Medical Center. These popular entertainers are known for their authentic dance and colorful costumes.

On Friday, May 29, Sodexo will conduct an Asian cooking demonstration in the Magnolia and Dogwood rooms at the Terrace Café. Everyone is invited to taste their offerings and learn more about Asian cuisine.

This year’s Asian-Pacific Heritage Video Spotlight features Dr. Stephen Hsu, GRU College of Dental Research. His groundbreaking research involving the medicinal properties of green tea has made headlines across the world, but his personal story is equally compelling.

GRU diversity expert available for National Nurses Week

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Nursing student diversity is on the rise, says Dr. Faye Hargrove, chair of the College of Nursing Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee at Georgia Regents University.

A diverse nursing workforce is key to providing culturally sensitive patient care. It’s why the GRU College of Nursing Dean Lucy Marion and Multicultural Affairs Coordinator Melissa Johnson-Bates recruited a dedicated committee to advise college leadership on how to best attract and retain students, faculty, and staff from under-represented groups in nursing. Hargrove, Chief Development Officer at the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta, brings expert leadership to the team.

Since its inception in February 2014, the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee has reviewed a five-year diversity and inclusion plan, participated in and promoted training, analyzed student and employee demographic data, and made recommendations for recruitment, programming, and processes. This year, one of their most significant contributions has been to propose guidelines for a nursing curriculum that includes cultural competency development for all new nursing students.

“Our diverse community deserves the best caregivers we can provide, ” Hargrove said. “Real information about diversity and inclusion isn’t always intuitive. You have to educate yourself and make the effort, which is what the College of Nursing is doing. We’re looking at everything. It’s not just race and ethnicity. It’s age and gender and religion and lifestyle and so many other things that make the difference in providing quality patient care.”

From May 6-12, GRU and GRHealth will celebrate nurses as part of National Nurses Week. Events include a gala for nurses, and free webinars sponsored by the American Nurses Association and National Black Nurses Association. April is also Diversity Awareness Month at GRU. The month, designated by the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, encourages the exploration of cultures and differing perspectives.

Hargrove, a personal development coach and team trainer for corporations and clients across the United States, is a published author and civic leader active in various organizations. She is a founding member of Women in Philanthropy of the Central Savannah River Area and also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Community Foundation of the CSRA, the First Tee of Augusta, and the United Way of the CSRA.

Hargrove is an alumna of the University of Georgia. She has previously served as CEO of Hargrove Leadership Services, as a faculty member in the School of Business at Georgia College and State University, as the Head of the School of Business Administration and Economics at the University of South Carolina Aiken, and as Vice President for Student Development at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.

She periodically teaches non-profit management and strategic planning for non-profit organizations in the Masters in Public Administration program at GRU.

Hargrove is available to discuss diversity and inclusion in business, education, and leadership, and the need to attract students and faculty from under-represented groups in nursing. To schedule an interview prior to or during National Nurses Week, contact Kelly Jasper at 706-513-0719.

GRU’s farewell to Dr. Guion

Diversity and inclusion are important components of Georgia Regents University’s mission, and Dr. Kent Guion has gone above and beyond to develop programs and initiatives designed to make GRU a great and safe environment for all people.

With bittersweet emotions, the GRU community held a farewell reception on March 27 for Dr. Guion who is set to begin his new position as chief diversity officer at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on April 13.

During his time here at GRU, Dr. Guion has filled many roles, including serving as the interim dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences and the Associate Provost for Multicultural Affairs.

In his role as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Guion has led GRU to receive multiple national accolades, including 2013 and 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity awards and the 2014 NCAA award for Diversity and Inclusion.

In addition to these awards, Dr. Guion has developed a wide array of diversity and inclusion policies, including the university’s Healthy Perspectives Program, which is designed to help students, faculty, and staff build self-awareness and improve communications skills during cross-cultural situations.

His outstanding work in the field of diversity and inclusion even captured the attention of the nonprofit organization Minority Access, Inc. which named him their 2014 National Role Model.

Dr. Guion received a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and his master’s and medical degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For Guion, the importance comes through connections

As Black History Month was about to kick off, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Kent Guion took some time to sit at the side table in his office in the G. Lombard Kelly Administration Building to talk about the intersection of black history with general history and the importance of connections.

“I think history is fairly stable until you begin to put the connections together, and that’s when it really becomes interesting,” he said. “I think that’s an important element of why recognizing and understanding contributions is an ongoing part of what we do.”

Over the years, he said, Black History Month has shifted away from a narrower focus on civil rights and individual accomplishments to include broader elements that are more reflective of life in general.

“You think about something like a sports figure crossing a color barrier,” he said. “That meant something at one point for sports, but when you get to see how that influences other kinds of activities, like public policy, and when you piece it all together, you see that one event sets up the opportunity for others to happen. It may have once been mainly significant to baseball, but really, when you look at it closely, it was about a lot more.”

Created four years ago, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion handles cultural competency issues, works with international students and employees, and also works to ensure that everyone has equal access to job opportunities.

“We want to create and maintain an environment here on campus that is very inclusive,” he said. “It’s a lot about awareness, a lot about education, and we want it to be embraceable. Many of the activities are open to whoever is able to participate, and many times we have activities that faculty, staff, and students will actually be the lead on.”

Students in particular learn a lot from putting on an event themselves, he said.

This year’s Black History Month will include cooking demonstrations at the Terrace Café, a black history trolley tour sponsored by the Lucy Craft Laney Museum and SouthStar Trolley, a James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils (JAMP) performance at the Terrace Café, and an ongoing trivia contest, something Guion first used in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I was astounded by the number of people who did the trivia the last go around We had over 12,000 visits to the trivia question webpage” he said.

For a more comprehensive list of events, click here.

In keeping with the national theme, this year’s events celebrate a century of black life history and culture. A hundred years ago, Carter G. Woodson, considered the father of Black History Month, began to formulate his ideas concerning the celebration.

For a short video about Woodson, click here.

“I like to think of it as unique, but also united,” Guion said of singling out recognition for black achievement. “We can have specialties and variety, but it really is about the community that we build. And I think that’s one of the components that allows there to be a lot of participation.”

Guion, who has a master’s in physical education with an emphasis on exercise physiology as well as an MD, has been in Augusta for 12 years, arriving as an associate dean in allied health sciences, where part of his role was to develop cultural competency and learning opportunities for students. He later became the interim dean for allied health sciences for nearly two years. Four years ago, when President Ricardo Azziz decided a diversity and inclusion office was needed, he appointed Guion to head it up.

After 21 years in the University System of Georgia, Guion recently accepted a position at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and will be leaving at the end of March.

Before coming to Augusta, Guion was at Georgia Southern during a time of unprecedented growth, so he’s enjoyed a unique perspective regarding GRU’s consolidation and expansion.

“When I was at Georgia Southern, I think it went from 8,000 students to nearly 18,000, so I had a sense of what change on that scale would feel like,” he said. “I’ve always been an optimistic person when it comes to change. To be able to see 20 years down the road is the viewpoint that I’ve always had, and felt I like, wow, to have a unified university in a community of this size, – what a great thing. We know we’ve got to get through this early phase, but really, how beneficial could that be for the community, especially a couple decades from now?”

While building diversity is a stated goal of the university, Guion admitted it’s not one that’s easy to achieve, given the internal tension between being unique and united.

“But when you can embrace both of those concepts, I think it all makes so much more sense,” he said. “Black History Month is just as much our history as it is black history, though it’s a difficult concept to grasp when it looks as if it’s being separated.”

It comes back, he said, to making those connections.

“I think, as a society, we’re working through it,” he said. “I think once we understand the importance of how all of these complex pieces fit together, these occasions will become much more just a part of who we are: our identity. At least that’s my hope.”


Georgia Regents University celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Georgia Regents University will host various events inspired by our country’s African-American heritage.

 This year’s theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture,” speaks of an overview of the past century in which there has been a transformation in our society’s collective understanding of the role of African-Americans in this nation’s history.

This month’s events include  a panel discussion on the historic landmark case Brown v. Board of Education and musical presentation by the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils.

For a complete list of GRU’s Black History Month activities, visit http://gru.edu/diversity/bhm/events.php or contact GRU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 706-721-9265.

Survivor’s Walk concludes Violence Awareness Month Thursday

Domestic violence survivors and local practitioners who work to end domestic violence will speak at the annual SafeHomes Survivor’s Walk, a ceremonial candlelight walk to honor all who have experienced domestic violence, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, by the flagpole near the Summerville campus amphitheater.

The walk—sponsored by the Georgia Regents University Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work, Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and Ladybug’s Flowers and Gifts—is the last of several events planned for October, known nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Previous events included a tree-lighting ceremony and book signing and discussion with Dr. Yamma Brown, the daughter of James Brown, who spoke about witnessing and experiencing abusive relationships. See photos from the event below.

Device shows VP may be a living zombie

According to a sleep study conducted in Georgia Regents University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Kent Guion, the office’s Vice President, is a living zombie.

Last month, the office used the electronic wristband Jawbone UP to not only track how they  slept and moved, but as a method to promote health and wellness among staff primarily focused on administrative tasks.

The team-building exercise featured awards for personnel who got the most sleep or led the most active lifestyle. Based on the results, Guion won the office’s Zombie Award for having the least amount of sleep, and Jonathan Harwood, Coordinator of International Services in GRU’s International and Postdoctoral Services Office, won the Zzz Award for being the most well-rested person in the office.

Click the following link to learn more about this story in The Augusta Chronicle article “Study shows Augustans lagging in sleep.”





Guion named National Role Model

Dr. Kent Guion, Vice president for Diversity and Inclusion at Georgia Regents University, has been named a National Role Kent GuionModel by Minority Access Inc., and he will be formally recognized during the organization’s Fifteenth National Role Models Conference being held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 3-5.

Minority Access Inc. a nonprofit organization geared to improving diversity in research, education, and employment, selected Guion for his past and present contributions as well as his dedication to diversity and inclusion.

Under Guion’s leadership, GRU has incorporated a wide array of diversity and inclusion polices and initiatives, including the university’s Healthy Perspectives Program which is designed to help students, faculty, and staff build self-awareness and improve communication skills during cross-cultural situations.

Guion serves on the University System of Georgia’s Advisory Committee of Chief Diversity Officers and is the Chair of the Georgia Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. He is also the recipient of the 2014 INSIGHT into Diversity magazine’s Diversity Visionary Award, and he is a 2009 graduate of the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Augusta program.

Minority Access Inc. is also set to recognize GRU during the conference for being an institution committed to diversity. GRU was chosen for this award as a result of the initiatives, community service, and professional development opportunities that foster diversity and inclusion within the university’s community.

Some of these activities have included an annual summit to foster diversity through community dialogue, partnerships, and a shared framework; the sponsorship and promotion of monthly cultural events across campus; and the presentation of diversity and inclusion information to student-athletes and the coaching staff.

“I am both honored and exhilarated by this recognition,” said Guion.  “Our university thrives for excellence, creativity, and inclusiveness in all of our activities, and these prestigious awards certainly challenge us to raise our bar even higher.”