Recently, President Tuajuanda C. Jordan was featured on the cover of the March edition of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Of being on the cover of the issue, she remarked that she was “excited,” especially since it corresponded with Women’s History Month.
This edition celebrated the special month by recognizing the top 25 women in higher education and beyond. President Jordan was included in the group of women who “have made significant contributions in higher education,” according to Diverse. On the cover, it recognized Dr. Jordan for “leading from the front” and for “taking St. Mary’s College of Maryland to new heights.” On her decision to agree to be interviewed by Diverse, she recalled meeting the editor at a Black Lives Matter panel in Washington D.C. who was interested in interviewing her and seemed “reliable”.
The editor began by painting an image of St. Mary’s College, illustrating how magical it is to walk through St. Mary’s where the “lone college campus hugs the St. Mary’s River, lined with picturesque rowing boats that extends far beyond what the eye can see”. The publication compared this magic to the bold leadership that Dr. Jordan has successfully taken, with a vision to put the college on the national map. The issue went on to include the remarkable achievements that the college has accomplished under her direction. One noteworthy success was ensuring the shift to turn the independent, state-supported public college into a competitive institution that recruits students from Maryland as well as from across the region and the nation.
Dr. Jordan’s path to becoming the college’s president was addressed, specifically what motivated her to the position. She stated that she became restless after serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lewis & Clark College. She continuously questioned herself, asking if she could do better. Of arriving to St. Mary’s College, she said, “When I got to campus, I felt I belong here”. The magazine also interviewed Dr. Jordan about finding her passion as an undergraduate in college. She mentions that she enjoyed chemistry, saying, “it made so much sense to me”. She switched her major halfway through the semester from biology to chemistry at Fisk University. On the advice she would give to students on campus who are unsure about their career passion or are undecided, she counsels “Don’t stress it! It will come to you. Do your absolute best at the time.” She added, “You will know in your gut.”
The magazine is the source of critical news, information and insightful commentary regarding issues of diversity in higher education. It was founded 30 years ago long before diversity and multiculturalism became “hot-button” issues. It started out as Black Issues in Higher Education. However, it was renamed its current title to address issues that affect other minority groups. With this in mind, The Point News (TPN) asked Dr. Jordan about what steps the College has taken to ensure that it addresses issues that affect African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American Indians, people with disabilities, seniors, LGBTQIA, veterans and other underrepresented groups in higher education. To which she answered that there were various programs on campus, including, inclusion, diversity and equity groups, the heritage month banners seen across campus with historic and contemporary figures, and the year-old Bon Appetit specialized menu items served every week of the month with food from different cultures.
According to Dr. Jordan, one “major step” towards addressing the issues that minority groups on campus have is the implementation of the new position of Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion/ Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Kortet Mensah who creates an “inviting atmosphere.” In a recent TPN interview, Dr. Mensah asked for students, faculty and alumni to set up a meeting with her in order to become familiarized with their experiences on campus and their hopes and dreams for it.