Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has announced the establishment of the Center for Inclusive Excellence. The new center will focus on diversity and inclusiveness relating to teaching, research and learning, campus programming, student support, and community relationships. The new initiative came about from recommendations made by the 15-member Task Force on Multiculturalism and Diversity. The task force concluded that university resources on inclusiveness and diversity were fragmented throughout the university. The new center will attempt to coordinate all activities in one place.
Peter Gitau, associate vice chancellor and dean of students at the university, stated that the Center for Inclusive Excellence will serve an intentional purpose of coordinating, mentoring, and connecting the various minority-serving student groups on campus. “It doesn’t take away from the independence of other efforts. Rather, it will be a clearinghouse,” he said. Noting that Southern Illinois University, with a freshman class that is 35 percent African American, is “the most diverse institution in Illinois,” Gitau stated that “We have a stake in diversity and we want to imbed that in the very fabric of the institution.”
Dr. Gitau, a native of Kenya, came to Southern Illinois University in 2008. Previously, he was dean of student life at the University of Dubuque in Iowa and director of multicultural affairs at Manchester College in Indiana. A graduate of Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, he earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. He earned his doctorate in higher education policy and administration with a minor in public administration at the University of Kansas.