What did you learn about Ithaca College this past year?
What do you hope for the college in the year ahead?
These two questions were posed to attendees of the Ithaca College meeting for all faculty and staff held on August 18. In past years, various college administrators would use this meeting to provide updates on topics such as the budget, enrollment data, and current initiatives. This year the administration took a different approach.
President Rochon opened the meeting by saying that employees should take pride in the work they do and express appreciation for one another—that’s what makes a strong community. He added, “Another part of what makes a strong community is a willingness to admit mistakes, to learn from the past, and to move forward. A true community understands its strengths and its weaknesses, and a true community acts on that understanding by engaging together to achieve its best possible future.”
To support the growth of a stronger IC community, Rochon shared two commitments with the audience from college leadership:
- “We will enable and facilitate the development of discussion groups, without in any way attempting to control, guide, or limit what they are focused on and where the discussion goes.”
- “We will develop channels to hear, and where possible, act upon the flow of insights that comes from those conversations.”
Rochon urged faculty and staff to foster dialogues on the topics they feel are important to the growth of the community, but he identified two topics for focused attention: diversity and inclusion and shared governance.
Diversity and Inclusion
Vice President of Human Resources Brian Dickens reaffirmed the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and shared that he will work to hire a permanent chief diversity officer that will help inspire the campus to continue this collaborative work.
Dr. Roger “Doc” Richardson, interim chief diversity officer and associate provost, thanked the community for its continued work related to diversity and inclusion. He also mentioned some of the programming planned for the fall semester and noted that more information on these programs would be shared next week. He challenged the crowd to persist in this difficult work and participate.
“We can plan book readings… we can bring in guest speakers, we can arrange workshops... but the question is, are we going to take the individual initiative to engage, in positive ways that are going to help move the institution, to become the institution that we want it to be?” he asked.
Richardson encouraged everyone to take the campus climate survey starting on September 27 to help identify priorities for future work by our community and the next president.
Members of the Shared Governance Task Force provided updates on their work and stated that a draft of the proposed shared governance structure will be made public to the campus community during the fall semester, at which point they would invite feedback. After revisions are made, the proposed structure would then be sent to campus leaders and the IC Board of Trustees for final approval. Members of the campus community will be invited to listening sessions this fall to learn more and provide their input.
Over an hour of the remaining meeting time was reserved for the audience to ask questions via handwritten notes, previously written emails, or at the microphones set up in the room.
In lieu of the traditional updates given during the meeting, President Rochon urged attendees to explore the following resources for more information:
- Ithaca College Areas of Focus for 2016-2017
- Budget for 2016-2017
- Middle States reaccreditation information
- Latest updates on diversity and inclusion efforts
- Campus Climate Survey information
- Updates on the search for the next president
- The Shared Governance Task Force
- Enrollment Data for Class of 2020