This email was sent from the President’s Office on Tuesday, August 28, 2018.
Dear D’Youville Community,
I write to you today to express a renewed commitment toward our campus diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Our reach for diversity must come with a sustained commitment to make every student, faculty, and staff have a firm foundation on what inclusion means and how we as a college community communicate that to all who walk on our college campus. Every member of D’Youville must feel value, safety, and welcomed; in an environment of respect and civility on all corners of our campus.
Diversity is the full range of human difference: (including) race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, citizenship status, disability, and worldview. Our students’ success depends on their knowing, appreciating, and engaging in the lived experiences of one another, and for us as a college to embrace them and teach them how to live in a global society. Over the past 9 months, members of the campus have been exploring a full range of topics and perspectives that started us on our renewed journey. Throughout the Summer, 40 faculty and administrators engaged in the strategic planning process. Each of the three Strategic Planning Teams brought forward the need to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in our campus practices, including hiring, student services, and campus decisions. In November 2017 and then again in May, nearly 65 college faculty and administrators participated in a Racial Equity Workshop. Attendees were engaged in learning about what equity-focused work is, how a racial impact analysis can help us ask questions about equity, policy and procedure, and practice. Asking us to examine how that can affect our work in our bottom line of enriching our educational excellence, expanding opportunities and community impact; and boosting the student experience. In June, three members of the campus attended The Institute for Diversity: Train the Trainer Workshop at Cornell University. The Institute allowed the team to engage a community of leaders from 20 different campuses who were developing diversity training for faculty, staff, administrators, and students. And finally, in August, the campus listened in on an informative panel at the Campus Assembly that discussed systemic approaches to address student poverty and reduce student barriers to achievement.
We are ready to take the next step. As a campus, we now embark on new ways to achieve our own aspirations for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We would like to form a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council that will address an overall campus-wide strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The newly formed Council will address an overall campus vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion; and identify increased programming for faculty and staff; enhancing student-focused services, creating inclusive classrooms, developing tools and resources to achieve the new vision; and steps to become a resource and leader in our surrounding community. The council will lead the entire campus in taking an active role to carry out council goals and expectations. The council will be chaired by Yolanda Wood, Director of Diversity and Inclusion and will commence its efforts in September.
I ask for your wholehearted support of the efforts of the Council and encourage you to engage with the work they will be undertaking on behalf of the College. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to Yolanda Wood or me.