Bluefield, VA – Sherelle Morgan has been named the inaugural Coordinator for Belonging at Bluefield University. The Coordinator for Belonging plays a crucial and strategic college-wide role by providing support, organization, and education to foster and promote a campus culture that minimizes bias and recognizes and addresses systemic inequities. This new role was created in response to the “Project Promise” initiative that was launched in fall 2020.
“Sherelle is a uniquely gifted individual for this role,” shared President David Olive. “Her background and interpersonal skills will serve our campus community well to ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging as our campus environment continues to diversify.”
The “Project Promise” initiative is a grant-funded initiative to promote inclusivity and strengthen education at Appalachian colleges and universities. In fall 2020, four different audiences across the Bluefield University campus completed a comprehensive diversity audit adapted from a research-based instrument developed by the New England Resource Center for Higher Learning at the University of Massachusetts. These audiences included students, faculty, staff, and administrative leadership.
The diversity audit examined six different areas that impact the campus climate, including: mission, faculty support, curriculum, staff support, student support, and leadership. This assessment provided insight of the University’s strengths and shortcomings as it relates to matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The survey results were received in January 2021 and one of the top identified areas for improvement included a formal individual, office, or formal committee charged with coordinating and advancing campus-wide diversity initiatives. Upon this review, the position of Coordinator for Belonging was established.
“In the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) profession, a relatively new term has emerged called “Belonging”, Sherelle Morgan, Coordinator for Belonging, shared. “Simply put, belonging refers to an individual’s sense of acceptance or the feeling of being part of something. Think of that soul-crushing feeling of not belonging and imagine dealing with it every day on campus, in the classroom, on the court/field, or at work.”
A native of Martinsville, VA, Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia and will graduate from Bluefield University’s MBA Leadership program in summer 2021. Her professional background consists of 19 years of human resources leadership experience in areas of recruiting, diversity, equity and inclusion, and talent management. She holds six years of enrollment management experience and certifications in 360 Degree Feedback Coaching and Diversity Awareness Training. Morgan joined the Bluefield University family in 2015 and currently serves in two capacities: as Director of Online Enrollment and the Coordinator for Belonging.
“I am committed to creating and sustaining an environment where our students, faculty, and staff can thrive,” said Morgan. “In the coming weeks and months, I will be working closely with our campus community to promote a culture of belonging. This will be an ongoing process that grows and evolves over time.”
Morgan will provide expertise, leadership, and collaboration on diversity, equity, and inclusion, within the context of the University’s Christian values, in all areas of campus life and will be integral to fulfilling the University’s commitment to build and retain a diverse student body and workforce.
“I have a passion for people, a passion for this work, and a passion for the Bluefield University community,” Morgan expressed. “I’m excited for this opportunity and ready to get to work!”