Diversity in the college

As we continue to interact in a global environment, we need to develop a multicultural awareness so we can achieve and act with moral courage in a fast-changing, interdependent environment. 

As a college where learning, discovery, and engagement involve students, faculty, staff , communities and the world around us, we have the unique opportunity to shape this world. We will continue to provide an education and work place that instills the fundamental values of respect for diversity. The key to success for students, staff, and faculty retention is their feeling of acceptance, inclusion and accomplishment.

We are excited to continue our work as a college community that is fully cognizant of individual differences. We are committed to empower each individual to fulfill his/her potential for academic and professional excellence.. Each one plays an important role in planning, implementing, and realizing our goals. We can do no less if we hope to strengthen the fabric of our college for a changing, dynamic future.

InclusiveVT College Diversity Initiatives

InclusiveVT Representatives

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is committed to ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible climate for all of its students and employees. We believe the university's Principles of Community is both an institutional and an individual aspiration.

InclusiveVT is the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.  The InclusiveVT structure supports a distributed model for inclusion and diversity. The structure is supported by InclusiveVT representatives in each of CALS's departments and Virginia Cooperative Extension and is anchored by the InclusiveVT mission and its diversity strategic plan:

  • Institutionalizing structures that promote sustainable transformation.
  • Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity.
  • Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate.
  • Preparing students for service (consistent with Ut Prosim) through an understanding of issues of identity, the human condition, and life chances.
Inclusive VT Structure

What is the role of an Inclusive VT Representative?

Inclusive VT representatives provide leadership for community building and promoting a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible climate in their departments or colleges/administrative units. This role includes the following responsibilities:

  • Working closely with the dean, department chair, or unit leadership to address issues of concern specific to their unit.
  • Serving as a liaison with the Office for Inclusion and Diversity.
  • Engaging with the college and unit's Diversity Committee or Council.
  • Connecting with other InclusiveVT representatives for ideas and support.
  • Connecting colleagues in each unit to caucuses, diversity training, programming, and opportunities.
  • Mentoring/developing new diversity leadership in each unit.

CALS InclusiveVT Representatives

CALS has identified the following individuals as the InclusiveVT representatives for its units:




Agricultural , Leadership, and Community Education

Donna Westfall-Rudd


Agricultural and Applied Economics

Mike Ellerbrock


Agricultural Technology

Wesley Gwaltney


Animal and Poultry Sciences

Eric Wong



Janet Donahue



Peter Kennelly


Dairy Science

Rebecca Cockrum


Cooperative Extension

Joe Hunnings



Anne Jarome


Food Science and Technology

Cristina Fernandez-Fraguas


Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise

Debby Good


School of Plant Science

Meredith Steele


If you have questions or concerns about your experience in your unit or want to build your understanding and participation in diversity programming, please contact your InclusiveVT representative(s).

College Diversity Enhancement Award

The Diversity Enhancement Award, established in 2006 by the Diversity Council of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recognizes outstanding diversity accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students in the college. Recipients will have demonstrated a commitment to diversity through teaching, research, Extension, or international programs.

Past award winners were:

  • Dr. Randy Grayson, George Washington Carver Program for Graduate Students
  • John Galbraith, Associate Professor, Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences
  • Brielle Wright, Graduate Student, Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education
  • Dixie Watts Dalton, adjunct faculty, Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • David Winston, Extension specialist, dairy science
  • Alinda Uzel, retired Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, and
  • Bobbie Potter, recruitment and community college liaison.
  • Susan Rosebrough, staff member, Biological Systems Engineering

College Diversity Incentive Fund

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences encourages faculty, staff and students to create new opportunities that increase the understanding of, appreciation for, and advocacy of diversity issues. The CALS Diversity Incentive Fund is specifically designed to provide support for new, innovative and creative approaches to raise awareness, engage learners, and change behaviors about diversity and inclusion within the academic community as well as the broader communities that the College serves. Examples of programs that may be supported include lectures, symposia, workshops, conferences, performances, assessment activities, and other innovative approaches for addressing diversity as conceived in the University‘s Principles of Community.

Past award winners were:

  • 2015: Eric Kaufman, associate professor, Agricultural Leadership, and Community Education