During the last academic year, I wrote a series of BuzzWords, my personal newsletter, on the topic of diversity. In the series I commented on discrimination, institutional barriers, tolerance, and appreciation as part of our continuing effort to make Syracuse University a truly welcoming place for all.
The last issue of the series was a call to action. It was based on a list of suggestions from a team of SU faculty and staff who gathered information about the best practices at other higher education institutions. These suggestions were discussed and revised by my cabinet. We identified six areas that I believe will permit us to respond with a targeted, meaningful, and achievable effort.
Faculty recruitment: By linking national data on new minority Ph.D. graduates with our needs, we will target such areas as psychology, education, political science, and the disciplines represented in the College of Human Services and Health Professions.
Staff recruitment: A task force provided data on the best practices for outreach activities, applicant/candidate tracking, advancement programs, recruiting tools, and more. Program design will follow this spring and an implementation plan will be submitted by August.
Student recruitment: Short-term plans include creating a diversity committee to assist the Office of Admissions in reviewing current practices and implementing enhanced fall and spring initiatives for students of color. An associate director of admissions has been named to coordinate these activities.
Curricular matters: This effort is aimed at connecting existing lectures, such as the freshman lecture, and courses in the liberal arts core to diversity themes and to theatrical, musical, and artistic experiences on campus and in the community.
Training and education: A new, multitiered awareness program for staff and administrators is under development. A University-wide program will be in place by June. An additional course on workplace diversity for supervisors will be developed in 2002.
Institutional environment: A commissioned study, conducted mostly through focus groups, will solicit faculty, staff, and student views on diversity. The results of these studies will help shape our efforts to improve the campus climate for diversity.
I believe these projects mark a good beginning to this next phase of our effort to support diversity at Syracuse.
Kenneth A. Shaw
Chancellor and President