During the fall of 2006, The University of Toledo hired The Kaleidoscope Group L.L.C.
to conduct a diversity/inclusion assessment of the Main Campus. In conjunction with
The University of Toledo Diversity Commission, the resulting audit report recommended
that The University of Toledo “formally announce and identify the Responsible Department
for Diversity Efforts.” The Diversity Commission further recommended that “the appropriate
department and or personnel be identified for the management of all diversity efforts
on [the main] campus.”
The President’s Council on Diversity, officially created in the spring of 2008, formed a subcommittee to review these recommendations and develop action plans for submission to and review by Dr. Lloyd A. Jacobs, President of The University of Toledo. The subcommittee met several times to review benchmark data from other institutions around the country that had an effective model in place with key personnel leading the efforts. Realizing the importance of these initiatives, the subcommittee proposed that The University of Toledo should seek a full-time, dedicated experienced individual as the Vice President for Diversity reporting to the President. During the fall of 2008 and with noted budget constraints, the subcommittee submitted a recommendation as to who among the current Vice Presidents should lead the effort until a fully dedicated Vice President could be hired. In January of 2009, Vice President of External Relations Mr. Lawrence J. Burns was appointed by Dr. Jacobs as the Interim Vice President of Equity and Diversity. To help support the efforts, Mr. Burns hired Dr. Shanda Gore to lead a new diversity team. In August 2009, Dr. Gore created the Office of Equity and Diversity.
In September 2009, Dr. Gore expanded the office and opened the Minority Business Development Center (MBDC). With the support of the local business community, City of Toledo, the Toledo Lucas Port Authority, and leadership from the African American and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, and UT divisions including External Affairs, Facilities and Construction, and the Office of the President, the MBDC has been able to maintain its mission to foster an environment that offers assistance for minority-owned, early-stage firms. The UTMBDC helps nurture entrepreneurial and economic development in the Toledo community by providing office space, training, mentoring and a network of professional advisors.
In August 2011, the office was renamed to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Community Engagement (OEDCE) in the Division of External Affairs and was further expanded to include the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women. The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women is one of the oldest centers in the United States promoting the advancement of women at the University of Toledo and in the community by creating an environment that supports learning, discovery, engagement and enables women to achieve their highest potential. In November 2013, Dr. Gore became a senior leader and the University of Toledo's first Chief Diversity Officer.
Today, the OEDCE serves as the point office for diversity efforts across all UT campuses and external groups. The office is responsible for the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, the Minority Business Development Center, the UT Culture Climate Survey, the Culture Building Institute, UT Diversity Workshops, Minority Business/EDGE Supplier Program, and the lead supporter for the MLK Unity Day Celebration and groups including the President’s Council on Diversity, the UT Culture Ambassadors, the President’s Lecture Series on Diversity, and the President’s Committee for African American Recruitment, Retention, and Scholarship Support in the Health Sciences.
The OEDCE is poised to meet the needs of the ever changing, diverse culture of UT. The OEDCE staff will continue their mission through collaboration and work with both UT departments and both community and national organizations.
Recognition and Grants
The OEDC was awarded the "Understanding Islam: Its Voices, Its Culture, Its Practices" grant by the Toledo Community Foundation in December 2012. Please click here for more information.
On October 28, 2011 The University of Toledo's Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Engagement was awarded the Bronze Award for the "Best Diversity Program" in the Case V Awards Program. The Pride of Case V Awards Program honors institutions and individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement in the concept and execution of advancement programs and communications.