Two weeks ago, Arkansas Tech University expanded to make room for the entire Department of Diversity and Inclusion, of which, only holds one staff member.
Kentucky native Dr. MarTeze Hammonds is Tech’s latest addition to faculty and staff and is now the sitting inaugural associate dean of Diversity and Inclusion.
As associate dean, Hammonds is responsible for the enhancement of the climate and culture for all Tech students.
“It is my job to really work with the students.” Hammonds said. “That is to ensure that underrepresented students feel included and that Tech is a place of inclusivity.”
Hammonds, who only stepped foot onto the Russellville campus two weeks ago, has already been hard at work.
“I’ve created an LGBTQ institute out of this office, and I’m working on a new student type orientation,” Hammonds said. “I have a lot of things going and brewing.”
Hammonds said he has hopes of hosting focus groups and instituting other educational programs once he has had time to settle in to the Tech community.
Not only will Hammonds be working with students, but he said much of his work deals with faculty and staff as well.
“Anyone that deals with our students, I’m meeting with them. I’m seeing how things are done and how we can do things better,” Hammonds said. “Faculty and staff have a huge impact on our students here. There are some practices that I will have to share with some faculty and staff and also commend those who are doing some really good things already.”
As the university grows, the department will also grow. Within the year Hammonds expects to have two graduate assistants and ultimately more staff. But for now, Hammonds will continue working in his Doc Bryan office, preparing educational programs that are promised to “pop up” sometime in the near future. Until then, he encourages the Tech community to be on the lookout for ways to get involved.
“Tech can help me by getting folks involved with what this department is going to be doing. Participating in the safe zone ally training, and participating in the trainings coming from the diversity and inclusion department as well.”