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Recommendations To Be Presented From Yearlong Diversity Audit

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Increasing the number of students studying abroad, doing more international recruiting and developing classroom courses focusing on how inclusiveness benefits everyone are some of the recommendations from a yearlong evaluation of diversity efforts at Oklahoma State University.

The findings of the study, which included input from OSU faculty, staff and students, will be presented at Friday's meeting of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges in Stillwater.

The self-study is the first step in formalizing a system wide diversity plan, officials said.

In addition to more than 150 information-gathering sessions, an independent team of administrators and faculty visited the campus to evaluate diversity efforts.

Other recommendations include expanding the role of the Diversity Academic Support Office and stepping up efforts to increase access for nontraditional and economically disadvantaged students, among others.

``The study not only leads to how we ought to be addressing diversity, it talks about how we should become leaders in any field,'' said Cornell Thomas, vice president for institutional diversity at OSU. ``There's a lot of work to do.''

One step is the university's development of a set of courses addressing diversity that students will be required to take beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year, Thomas said.

Even as the number of females and minorities has increased at other universities, Native Americans, African Americans, Asians and Hispanics make up less than 18 percent of the non-international student body and about 10 percent of the non-international faculty at OSU, according to 2006 university figures.

But Thomas said progress is being made: last year, about a quarter of OSU's new faculty hires were minorities, for example.

In addition to discussing the study, regents will also vote on a new health care plan for system employees and receive an academic donation from alumni.
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