Past Action Steps
The “Action Steps to Address Racism and Cultural Bias” were announced in the Fall of 2015 to address immediate concerns about diversity and inclusion on campus. Many of the steps were rooted in recommendations from a Diversity Strategic Action Committee. Over the next two years, the college made significant progress on the action items and provided regular updates to the community.
Remaining action steps have been rolled into those ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive and respectful campus climate.
The action steps were grouped in the following categories and are presented below for documentation purposes.
Cross-Cultural Awareness and Effectiveness
Programming and experiences were planned for students, faculty, staff, and volunteers to expand intercultural experiences and dialogues.
In the fall of 2016, 50 inclusion workshops were piloted for first-year students through the Ithaca Seminar Program. The goal of these pilot workshops was to introduce our students to the language / concepts used on campus in our work towards more inclusive spaces.
New programming was introduced that fall for students as part of the annual Fall Welcome event for first-year students, the Leadership Academy for student athletes, and for all leaders of student organizations.
Re-structured orientation sessions for new faculty members began in the fall of 2016. These sessions are composed of a half-day on inclusion and multicultural competency in the classroom and in the advising and mentoring of students. Returning faculty are also invited to participate in these sessions.
Additionally, Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell, director of programs and outreach, has led an ever growing array of diversity and inclusion programs, conversations, workshops and training initiatives for faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
The Faculty Council created a compendium of resource materials for use by departments and faculty members to facilitate discussion about topics of inclusion, diversity, and cultural competency which is curated and available to faculty members through Sakai. The expectation is that faculty members will refer to these materials to help educate themselves and each other, and to apply those lessons to create welcoming classroom environments that foster inclusivity and respect for diverse backgrounds, ways of life, and beliefs.
For staff and administration:
A baseline cross-cultural awareness and effectiveness for all current and new employees was established in the fall of 2015 through the Office of Human Resources, which developed and implemented a series of cross-cultural awareness workshops and educational baseline programs for the campus community.
By February 2016, all new employees were required to complete this training within three months of their start date. All employees hired before February 2016 were required to complete the baseline-training program by May 2016. Human Resources also underwent the update of all job descriptions at the time to include an expectation of competency in cross-cultural awareness and inclusion, which was completed by the end of 2016; all new job descriptions incorporate this expectation, and the annual performance review process was updated to include this expectation.
In January 2016, HR also implemented a training segment for new employee orientations that is devoted to IC's policies on non-discrimination, Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation compliance, and harassment based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, or social status.
The Office of Alumni Affairs selected the Craig Clayton Diversity Consulting firm to provide diversity and inclusion training for alumni volunteer leaders, which can include faculty, staff, students, alumni, members of the Board of Trustees, and the Alumni Board of Directors.
In the fall of 2016, the multicultural student lounge opened in the Campus Center, and has since undergone a redesign to be even more warm and welcoming.
A support network for students who have experienced bias or discrimination was also established.
ICUnity, an affinity group which existed as a Facebook group since 2002, expanded significantly after 2015 in collaboration with the Office of Alumni Relations. The group has held alumni social gatherings around the country and locally as well.
The IC Women's Network exists to connect junior and senior female students to alumnae, especially through smaller events hosted by an alumna in her home.
In the fall of 2015, Alumni Affairs expanded the IC Mentoring Network to help foster more opportunities for ALANA alumni to mentor ALANA students.
Hiring and Retention of Faculty and Staff
Beginning in the 2015-16 academic year, faculty and staff search committee chairs underwent training on new hiring guidelines to help ensure inclusiveness the hiring process. Since then, all search committees include a member from outside the department or program seeking the fill the position. In addition, all advertisements for open positions now include language specifying that candidates must possess competency in cultural awareness and effectiveness.
Human Resources will continue to review semi-finalist and finalist lists for diversity before approval; all semi-finalists and finalists for positions at IC will be assessed for cultural awareness and sensitivity. In addition, the Policy and Procedures manual was updated to ensure IC represents best practices and eliminates barriers to fulfilling employment in higher education.
The Diversity Scholars Program (formerly the Dissertation Diversity Fellowship Program) was expanded to include Park and HSHP in addition to the School of H&S. Donathan Brown, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a former fellow in the program, led the efforts to expand this program. These efforts also included the establishment of a post-doctoral in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. IC's first-ever diversity post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Maria Nandadevi Cortes-Rodriguez, began a two-year term in biology with the 2016-17 academic year.
Meanwhile, the Center for Faculty Excellence focused some of their attention on retention initiatives geared toward ALANA faculty early in their careers. During fall 2015, the ALANA Faculty Working Group formed in an ad hoc capacity to enhance the college’s efforts to attract and retain our faculty of color. The working group learned that the most immediate need expressed by our tenure-eligible ALANA faculty was support for their writing and scholarship, as well as the need for mentorship.
To that end, the working group has helped faculty get involved with professional writing support groups. Additional support for travel to professional conferences and workshops relevant to the development of ALANA faculty has also been offered.
Campus Climate Survey
The Campus Climate Survey was administered in the fall of 2016, and the results presented in the spring of 2017. Learn more about this important initiative at the Campus Climate website.
Per suggestions from the campus community, a new satellite station in the Campus Center opened in early 2017 and has brought officers and students into closer contact. Later that year, policies, standards, and best-practices were finalized, and the use of body cameras was rolled out, as well.