Nearly 100 fifth-graders from the Syracuse City School District’s Seymour Dual Language Academy will be welcomed to Syracuse University on Thursday, April 25. For many of the children, Syracuse University’s Shadow Day, run by the Office of Community Engagement, is…
Fall Update 10.30.18
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
Since my appointment to the role of interim chief diversity officer July 1, I have been privileged to speak with a number of students, faculty and staff, and have participated in many meetings across campus. The conversations have been constructive and produced creative ideas and tangible ways we, as a community, can continue to embrace our connectivity and foster a more diverse and inclusive campus environment. I appreciate the willingness of so many of you to engage in candid dialogue around important, and often difficult, issues.
Much has been accomplished since the last fall update on Friday, Sept. 28. I know so many projects and initiatives are happening simultaneously across campus. The list below is simply a snapshot:
Disability External Review Committee:
• Submissions for the Request for Qualifications were due Oct. 15. Purchasing/Procurement has prepared executive summaries of each submission.
• Each member of the Disability External Review Committee has received the submissions, executive summaries and a rubric for reviewing the submissions. The committee will meet on Nov. 6 to determine which consultants to bring to campus for interviews in late November.
Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion Long-Term Recommendations:
• The University has expanded benefits offered to faculty and staff to assist with child care, elder care and other family needs in 2019, which can be viewed as part of the Open Enrollment 2018 website. This includes a greater subsidy amount, an expansion of the age range of eligible dependents and an increase in the annual household income threshold used to determine faculty and staff eligibility. Changes relative to summer closure have also been made at the Early Education and Child Care Center to better support and meet the needs of parents.
• As part of the Workgroup’s recommendation to develop a Physical Access Plan that would remove barriers to access over time, an inspection of all facilities has been completed, and a database of barriers to access has been created. A committee is currently designing a request for proposals for a consultant to examine the entire campus.
• The Preferred Name, Pronoun and Gender Advisory Council, which was created following the approval of the Preferred Name Policy last year, has been identifying services and applications across campus to see where further action is needed to make it easier for campus community members to indicate their preferred name, pronoun and gender. The council has reviewed 12 service applications, including the Common Application and Orange SUccess. The next step is to prioritize the roll out of preferred name, pronoun, prefix and gender services that have the highest value to students. The council is hosting focus group sessions to engage and receive feedback from students.
Office of the Interim Chief Diversity Officer:
• Earlier this month, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs LaVonda N. Reed and I hosted a reception for 100 new and returning faculty of color at Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center. It was an inspiring event, and we look forward to hosting it again in the years ahead.
• Associate Provost Reed; Martha Diede, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence; and I welcomed Laura Pipe, director of the Teaching Innovations Office at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, to campus. While here, she facilitated four 90-minute experiential learning workshops focused on inclusive teaching methods. More than 60 faculty and instructors attended the workshops.
• On Oct. 15, I hosted the inaugural meeting of the Inclusive Leadership Assembly, composed of faculty and staff who have been appointed by each of the University’s schools and colleges to lead their school/college’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The Inclusive Leadership Assembly will routinely meet and work toward the goal of providing a forum where members can share and leverage best practices as well as lessons learned to better support our students, faculty and staff.
• Earlier this month, I was fortunate to participate in a breakfast for Disability Mentoring Day, an annual event hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities, in acknowledgment of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Disability Cultural Center (DCC) was among the University’s partners and collaborators in hosting mentees on-site on that day. My thanks to Diane Wiener, DCC director, and all of the students, faculty and staff who were part of this enormous effort.
• This past Saturday, Hendricks Chapel partnered with Syracuse Athletics to sponsor Faith and Family Weekend, which consisted of 15 events, including worship services, community meals, a pre-game tailgate on the Shaw Quadrangle, tours and open house at Hendricks Chapel, a football game and the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble Family Weekend concert. Read more about the event here.
• Chaplain Amir Duric has launched “Understanding Islam,” a seven-week series that offers a comprehensive look at Islam through lectures and discussions for 26 students, staff and faculty members. The series, now in its second year, is intended for all members of the University community and the public interested in deepening their understanding of Islam, a faith often misunderstood even though it is practiced by 1.8 billion people.
• The next Interfaith Dinner Dialogue will be held on Nov. 27 from 7-9 p.m. This collaboration of Hendricks Chapel and the Disability Cultural Center will focus on “Facts, Faith and Politics” and will include a conversation facilitated by Professor Dana Cloud and senior Ryan Patel.
• Hendricks Chapel will send students, chaplains and staff members to the Parliament of the World’s Religions conference in Toronto next month. Known to be “the oldest, largest, most diverse and inclusive global interfaith event held in the world,” the theme is “The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change.” The team of 13 conference participants will present what they have learned upon their return to Syracuse.
• The Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience (ESE), in partnership with the Division of Marketing and Communications, has launched a student blog and e-newsletter, The Peel, to enhance communication with students and share relevant news, events and advice about campus life. The content, produced mainly by students with support from ESE communications, focuses on the need-to-knows about the student experience and ways to connect on campus.
• The Office of Multicultural Affairs recently hosted the 15th annual WellsLink Transitions Ceremony. The event celebrates WellsLink Scholars from the previous year who have successfully transitioned through the WellsLink Leadership Program, a nationally recognized academic excellence and leadership program for first-year students of color at Syracuse University.
• The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) at Syracuse University held its annual induction ceremony Oct. 19 at Hendricks Chapel. NSCS is the only honor society to recognize outstanding academic achievement among first- and second-year college students. As members of the Syracuse University chapter, students become leaders within the campus and the community through various events and activities.
• The Division of Marketing and Communications has appointed the inaugural Student Communications Advisory Committee. The 16-person group will provide input on how to better engage with students and offer feedback on future student-focused campaigns. The committee’s first meeting occurred last week.
We will continue to provide monthly updates, but in the meantime, please be sure to visit Diversity.syr.edu to learn about upcoming events, resources, learning opportunities and programming.
Keith A. Alford, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Diversity Officer