When international students travel to the United States to learn English, the language barrier is just one of their challenges. Cultural differences like being overwhelmed in the grocery store, being embarrassed about not tipping a server (there is no tipping…
Recent Progress Noted on Diversity and Inclusion Recommendations
Progress is being made on several fronts regarding recommendations made by the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion (CWDI) to enhance the campus climate for all members of the University community.
University leadership and the Universitywide Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) note the advancement of several initiatives that have emerged from the recommendations. The council, which was one of the first CWDI recommendations implemented, meets regularly—most recently, Nov. 1—and works with the University community on measures to achieve a more diverse and inclusive campus.
“The work of achieving a diverse and inclusive campus is an ongoing, substantive effort that requires boldness and perseverance,” says council co-chair Diane R. Wiener, director of the Disability Cultural Center. “The council’s work is the work of our entire campus and we are even better and can achieve more when we come together as a community. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are all crucial voices in this imperative process.”
Developments on several of the recommendations include the following:
- In August, the Provost’s Office announced revisions to the form that faculty use to update their curriculum vitae annually. The changes, which were made after discussion among members of several Senate committees, includes a question inviting faculty members to share how they have included attention to equity, diversity, inclusion, international knowledge and global issues in their teaching, research and service. This latest advancement completes a recommendation requiring attention to diversity and inclusion as components of faculty evaluations, CV updates and tenure and promotion decisions.
- As part of the Campus Framework, the Schine Student Center feasibility study is underway to explore possibilities for the current space by analyzing the building and gathering campus community input. The discussions include the possibility of creating a centralized location in the Schine to house such distinct cultural centers as the Disability Cultural Center, LGBT Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Slutzker Center for International Services. This would ensure all cultural centers are accessible and have adequate space. A roundtable discussion was held in October and further engagement opportunities were held on Nov. 2. Feedback has also been gathered from hundreds of campus community members through meetings with student leaders and student organizations, residence hall tabling and focus group sessions.
- A draft of a Universitywide policy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility has been under revision over the summer and this fall. It was shared with the Senate Committee on Computing Services in October. Student engagement through the process remains a priority. Blackboard’s Ally software, which makes digital coursework more accessible, has been purchased by the University, and will be rolled out over the course of the spring 2018 semester. A pilot program was also initiated in which software and hardware procurement is evaluated to ensure that products meet accessibility guidelines prior to purchase. The University is hosting components of the virtual conference, Accessing Higher Ground, sponsored by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). For more information, contact email@example.com.
- The campuswide accessibility audit, which includes all 9 million square feet of University space, is being evaluated and the final results are being analyzed by Campus Planning, Design and Construction (CPDC) and other partners to make follow-up recommendations and plans. CPDC contracted with United Spinal Association to conduct the audit, which identified physical barriers to access on campus.
- The second annual Indigenous Peoples Day was held Oct. 9. The Native Student Program in the Office of Multicultural Affairs coordinated a series of celebratory and educational activities, in partnership with the student organization Indigenous Students at Syracuse, indigenous graduate students and the Native American Law Student Association in the College of Law. Also, calendars printed by the University’s printing partner, Dupli, and the University calendar published by Hendricks Chapel will note Indigenous Peoples’ Day as the second Monday in October.
“We continue to make progress on efforts to achieve a more equitable campus climate for all individuals, but we still have much to do,” says council co-chair Barry L. Wells, special assistant to the Chancellor. “An important part of achieving our goals is the cross-campus collaborators who are committed to implementing the recommendations and also finding additional deliberate measures that will establish our university community as a model for equity, diversity and inclusion.”
Established in fall 2015, the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion developed the wide-ranging recommendations aimed at creating a more welcoming, respectful campus climate. A critical part of advancing the recommendations, the Council on Diversity and Inclusion serves as the primary advisory committee to Chancellor Syverud on matters of diversity and inclusion and also serves as a resource to academic and administrative units.
The council is responsible for reviewing and advising on critical diversity and inclusion matters, including issues related to campus climate; implementation of recommendations from the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion; and additional steps related to enhancing the diversity of students, faculty and staff.
To learn more about the University’s efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion, please visit http://diversity.syr.edu.