Dear Students and Families: The first day of classes is now less than 40 days away. We are all excited by the prospect of a return to an academic and student experience that resembles our pre-pandemic campus environment. A critical…
Fall Update 9.28.18
Friday, September 28, 2018
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
With the new academic year underway, we want to update you on the work that has continued through the summer and into the fall semester.
Greek Life Review
• The Greek Life survey was distributed to full-time undergraduate students between Aug. 13 and Sept. 3. We are pleased that nearly 42 percent of those who received the emailed survey responded to our request for input. The results from the survey will provide insight into Greek Life on campus and inform the Greek Life Review Committee’s work in evaluating policies, programs and culture.
• From Sept. 16 through Sept. 19, the external reviewers visited campus to meet with groups of campus community members, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and others. Focus groups were conducted with individuals both affiliated and not affiliated with Greek organizations.
Disability External Review Committee
• A new deadline of Oct. 15 has been set for firms responding to the Request for Qualifications to provide the expertise and experience necessary to achieve our goals. The committee will review the submissions and select finalists for on-campus interviews, which will likely take place during the week of Nov. 26 and result in the selection of the consultant and awarding of a contract by the week of Dec. 10.
• The external review is projected to begin in January 2019. In preparation, the committee is meeting Oct. 2 to discuss ways to engage the campus in conversations around ableism and the elimination of barriers.
Interim Chief Diversity Officer
• On Sept. 13, Keith Alford, interim chief diversity officer, hosted a group screening of a live webinar designed to introduce the impact of unconscious bias in higher education institutions. Two dozen people viewed the 90-minute webinar, titled “Overcome Unconscious Bias & Racial Tension, Break Down Barriers to Equity & Inclusion for Students, Faculty & Administrators.” The University can present the webinar for one year. If you are interested in learning more about the webinar, please email email@example.com.
• In August, Alford worked with campus leaders to enhance diversity.syr.edu, the diversity and inclusion website. The website is the hub of information, news and events about diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
• Alford continues to meet with campus constituencies to listen and determine where community needs and intersections lie.
Student Services and Resources
• The Counseling Center has enhanced and expanded access to mental health services with extended hours for scheduled appointments Monday through Thursday until 7 p.m., and drop-in services Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additionally, the center has appointed four new therapists, a training director and graduate student trainees.
• A new digital platform to increase access to safe and affordable off-campus housing options will be available to students by the end of November. The new platform is designed to ensure that all available properties are listed accurately, registered with the City of Syracuse and compliant with housing ordinances.
• Approximately 400 students, faculty, staff, deans and administrators are currently leading small groups of new students in discussions centered on themes from Trevor Noah’s memoir “Born a Crime,” including identity, inclusion and belonging. More than 6,000 complimentary copies of the book have been distributed to date.
• In total, 327 instructors, including more than 150 anchor course faculty, participated in the Inclusive Teaching in the Classroom and Beyond development workshops. These workshops are co-led by Jeff Mangram, newly appointed Provost Faculty Fellow and associate professor in the School of Education, and Marie Garland, executive director of the University’s Center for Faculty Leadership and Professional Development in the Office of Academic Affairs.
• Discussions have occurred with leaders at each school and college regarding a permanent, three-credit liberal arts course that will provide all new students with a unified first-year course. A 20-plus-member subcommittee, chaired by College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Gerry Greenberg, developed the course prototype. School/college level voting will occur through early November regarding the adoption of this University-required course; University College has already voted in favor of the proposed course. The course will require University Senate approval.
• The Be Well Expo is scheduled for Sept. 30 in the Dome. This new event will feature ABC News anchor and author Dan Harris, who will speak about his journey to mindfulness. Nearly 50 exhibitors and interactive experiences that promote well-being will be available, including a rock-climbing wall, therapy dogs and meditation spaces. The event is one of three health and wellness requirements for new students, but it is open to all campus community members with a valid SUID.
• Two online modules were sent to all incoming first-year students in early August—one relating to alcohol and substance abuse and the other regarding sexual assault. To date, 3,349 students have completed the former module and 3,436, the latter.
• 3,545 first-year students participated in “Speak About It” during the fall semester’s opening weekend. “Speak About It” is a thought-provoking, performance-based presentation dealing with sexual consent, assault, misconduct and bystander intervention.
• Dawit Negussey has been appointed Graduate Dean Faculty Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion. His responsibilities include strengthening the Graduate School’s efforts in recruiting, retaining and supporting graduate students from diverse backgrounds; identifying and administering graduate fellowship and related funding initiatives; and conducting trainings and outreach to departments within the schools and colleges to support their graduate diversity and inclusion work. More information about Negussey’s new position will be shared on SU News.
• A recently announced $750,000 Fellowship Fund will sustain about 30 additional doctoral fellowships. The fund will help expand opportunities for underrepresented populations to access doctoral education and advance interdisciplinary and global study.
• Five faculty members were selected to participate in the Academic Leaders Network of the Academic Consortium of the Atlantic Coast Conference and attended the first of three conferences intended to build leadership competencies and broaden awareness of best practices in higher education policy and practice.
• On Sept. 17 and 18, the Center for Faculty Leadership and Professional Development and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs LaVonda N. Reed hosted an inclusive excellence leadership workshop featuring renowned diversity and inclusion expert Damon A. Williams. In total, 178 senior associate deans, department chairs, program directors and other academic leaders participated in the workshop.
Schools and Colleges
• Kishi Animashaun Ducre, associate professor of African American studies, was named the College of Arts and Sciences’ inaugural associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion. She will use her new role within the college’s senior management team to further an intellectual climate of dignity and respect.
• Karen Davis ’83, G’91 has been appointed interim assistant dean for inclusive excellence in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. She will oversee the college’s newly established Office of Inclusive Excellence, which will augment and integrate diversity, equity and excellence within the college through education, research, dialogue, policy and assessment.
• James Haywood Rolling Jr., dual professor of art education and teaching and leadership in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and the School of Education and the chair of art education, has been appointed VPA’s inaugural director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Rolling will lead VPA’s diversity and inclusion initiatives in conjunction with the University’s interim chief diversity officer and establish and lead a collegewide committee to advance a more inclusive environment.
We appreciate the continued feedback we have received from the campus community. You will continue to receive monthly updates from campus leaders about the important work happening at Syracuse University.
Michele G. Wheatly, Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dolan Evanovich, Senior Vice President, Enrollment and the Student Experience