Enhancing learning and improving quality at Washington State University are the common goals of all who work here. That includes Michael J. Tate, the new interim vice president for equity and diversity, appointed this summer by President V. Lane Rawlins. He will start the job on Sept. 1.

Although he hasn’t yet had time to formulate specific goals or initiatives, Tate does have a well-formed philosophy on the importance of equity and diversity in providing a quality education.

“Universities are learning communities,” Tate said, “where students, faculty and staff explore new discoveries and horizons.” That environment is enhanced by a diversity of ideas and people, he said, so that it becomes more representative of not only the state, but of the world.

“Part of our charge at WSU is to prepare the next generation to excel in their work and life in a diverse world,” Tate said.

“My particular position (as interim vice president) is not as important as the work to be done.”

Tate has pursued the work of equity and diversity in every position he has held. As a faculty member and administrator, at Michigan State and WSU, whether in the hiring of faculty and staff or in making sure programs extend to all, he said he has made a series of efforts over time to bring equity to the university community.

But, he said, he hasn’t seen those efforts as separate, intentional endeavors. Rather, “promoting diversity and balance is an issue that’s systemic to everything I do,” he said. “It comes naturally to who I am.”

Tate and Rawlins will host a forum on equity and diversity for the public from noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in CUB rooms 125-127.
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