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New L&C Coordinator Leverages Campus Diversity as a Resource

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Article by: Louise Jett, L&C Media Services, ljett@lc.edu

GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College’s new Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Tandra Taylor hopes to use her role as a diversity leader to help institutions of higher education achieve their fullest potential for teaching, research and service. 

“At L&C, I hope that my work strengthens the college’s regional and national leadership and its commitment to institutional excellence by leveraging campus diversity as a resource,” Taylor said. “Also, I hope to develop collaborative partnerships with colleagues and groups across the campus, as well as programs and institutions within the community, to advance the mission of the college.”

Taylor began working at Lewis and Clark in February 2019. She also teaches African-American Studies part-time at Fontbonne University.

“My goal at L&C is twofold,” Taylor said. “I intend to expand our campus community’s understanding of diversity to include more than race/culture/ethnicity, but also gender, age, sexual identity, ability, religion, region/country of origin, veteran status and socioeconomic background. While a more complex understanding of diversity helps protect the rights of and enhances educational opportunities for historically disempowered students, I also seek to target and develop the ways in which diversity is a tremendous institutional resource that can contribute to academic and institutional excellence.”

As a diversity leader, she provides support to students across a spectrum of diverse backgrounds and develops a wide range of programs and services that promote inclusion, equity and community.

“Additionally, I also support the academic and institutional excellence at L&C,” she said. “In that sense, my duties include creating opportunities to discuss and address issues of inclusion and equity in and outside the classroom; serving as a campus consultant with a focus on inclusive teaching, advising and student services; and assisting faculty to cultivate classroom environments where classroom discussions support and facilitate students’ efforts to communicate in engaged, curious and respectful ways.”

Taylor earned her Bachelor of Arts in French from Spelman College, a Master of Arts in Public History from Georgia State University and another Master in Arts in American Studies from Saint Louis University. She is currently completing her doctorate in American Studies at Saint Louis University.  

She taught English at a high school in the rural town of Yzeure in France, before moving back to the United States and developing an interest in American cultural studies. This curiosity led her to research the history of diversity and inclusion in American colleges.

“As a researcher, I am generally fascinated by this field,” Taylor said. “However, as a diversity leader, it’s not just my research that fuels my interest. It is the coalescence of my educational journey, along with my professional and personal experiences, that have mutually shaped and sharpened my perspectives, skills and interests that have prepared me for my work.”

Taylor wants to continue to expand her impact and bring about positive change, not only supporting student access and equity in higher education, but also strengthening the campus community by developing mission-aligned diversity initiatives. 

“We were very fortunate to find someone with her educational background, work history, and personality,” said Vice President Student Engagement Sean Hill. “Tandra has a very strong understanding of the issues faced by individuals in this community. She also has experience working with first generation college students.”

To learn more about Diversity and Inclusion at L&C, visit lc.edu/Office_of_Diversity_and_Inclusion/ or contact Taylor at tantaylor@lc.edu.