In response to April’s student-led sit-in protest, Texas State Office of the Provost announced Scott Bowman, criminal justice associate professor, will become the university’s first Special Assistant to the provost for inclusion and diversity.
Students demanded the assembly of a task force of cabinet members, student leaders and faculty to address any other campus climate issues, among other demands.
Eugene Bourgeois , provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, described what the newly created position will entail.
“Bowman will develop programs that facilitate an inclusive academic climate,” Bourgeois said. “(Bowman will) promote the recruitment and advancement of all faculty and ensure the policies and practices that affect faculty is fair.”
After consulting Associate Provost Debbie Thorne and President Denise Trauth, a screening committee made recommendations to Bourgeois. The committee included Thorne, Dean of the College of Applied Arts Jaime Chahin and Chair of the Department of Communications Disorders Valarie Fleming.
The selection process was limited to tenured faculty at Texas State and utilized campus community feedback from an anonymous survey.
Bowman pursued the position because he believes the campus climate is currently fractured. Communication is one aspect Bowman hopes to improve in his new position.
“I think there are a lot of things the administration and faculty on campus do and have done in order to produce a more diverse and inclusive community,” Bowman said. “But it’s not always publicized.”
Bowman noticed how some students at the sit-in were not aware the Latina/o studies minor would be available in the coming fall. He believes there should be more conversation, publication and communication about diverse topics.
“Ensuring that information is getting out matters and I think it’s important,” Bowman said.
Najha Marshall, microbiology sophomore and president of Pan-African Action Committee, looks forward to working more directly with the provost’s office this upcoming year.
With PAAC’s strong focus on students this past year, Marshall wants to also include work with the provost’s office to ensure students’ needs are met.
“I think that (Bowman) will actually push the Provost to make (the administration) think about some changes, making it more equal and making sure all students have the resources they need.”
“What we do is student-centered, first and foremost,” Bowman said. “If it’s not resonating with the students then it doesn’t mean anything.”