‘America’s Superpower: Diversity’

Danelle McClanahan is the associate vice president of the Institutional Equity and Diversity Office at the College of Southern Maryland.

CSM’s McClanahan Leads Initiatives to Expand, Enhance Programs that Foster Inclusion

Danelle McClanahan has a vision for the future of College of Southern Maryland. In that vision, the diversity of the faculty is reflective of the diverse student demographics, and the college expands and enhances strategic programs that contribute to increasing the rate of success of all students, fosters inclusion, increases access and successfully promotes students' global preparedness.

McClanahan, who brings to her new role as CSM's associate vice president of Institutional Equity and Diversity Office more than 11 years of experience in various fields of diversity, said she sees that CSM has already made great strides in creating an environment that is inclusive of all ethnicities.

“Diversity is woven into the fabric of CSM through numerous initiatives such as the Men of Excellence and various outreach to the community for engagement such as the Diversity Institute and the Charles County Mediation Center,” she said. “Moreover, CSM has a generously diverse student population-35 percent of our full-time students in the spring semester alone were racially diverse and research shows that by 2027, nationally 49 percent of high school seniors will be students of color, so we can only expect an increase in diverse college students. Hence, it is our responsibility to lead in inclusive excellence and expand and enhance our investment in diversity inclusive practices.”

McClanahan looks forward to considering ways to bring diversity into all aspects of student life. “The research shows that students benefit from an inclusive environment and curriculum in preparing them for the globalized society,” she said. “I envision collaborating with the faculty to connect programs with the curriculum, and thereby better prepare students for a more globalized society.”

McClanahan said one main focus for her will be to not only recruit and retain African American men at the college, but to see them through to graduation. “The persistence rates for African American males are statistically low nationwide, and we need to improve that outcome,” she said.

Previously, McClanahan served as director of diversity/ombudsperson at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where she was charged with ensuring the university complied with Titles IV, VI, VII and IX. Along with investigating discrimination and harassment claims by faculty and students, McClanahan coordinated projects to build and maintain a safe and open campus environment.

In 2007, while at East Stroudsburg, McClanahan spent a month in China co-supervising 13 students at Shenyang Normal University. The students were able to experience firsthand emergence in Mandarin and the Chinese culture.

For McClanahan, creating an inclusive environment is a necessity for a college environment. “Will Smith, recently, profoundly recognized the value and potential of diverse groups by stating 'diversity is the American superpower.' Diversity indeed is a superpower opportunity that necessitates proactive and strategically planned investment. It is our responsibility to go beyond our traditional reach and act upon this opportunity by instituting expansive, intentional and comprehensive recruitment, retention and persistence efforts that create and maintain an inclusive environment for the diverse student population,” McClanahan said.

McClanahan's career in higher education began with her bachelor's degree in psychology from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and her master's degree in counseling from the University of Scranton. She is currently an EdD candidate in educational leadership and management at Capella University.

For information about programs offered through the Diversity Institute at the College of Southern Maryland, visit CSM online at http://www.csmd.edu/community/institutes/diversity-institute/index.html.