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Diversity Action Committee Midyear Report and Recommendations 2004-2005.

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1 Diversity Action Committee Midyear Report and Recommendations 2004-2005

2 The Charge… Listed below are three general topics related to diversity and equity that need to be addressed by the committee. Note that the committee itself will have the opportunity to develop a detailed charge to recommend to me early in fall term. 1. Campus atmosphere and equity 2. Student recruitment and retention 3. Faculty/staff recruitment and retention The focus will be on practical suggestions that can be put into action as soon as possible, after review by all appropriate bodies. Further, the assumption is that some changes will require either new or redistributed funding from college resources.

3 DIVERSITY ACTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS  Patrick Chang, Associate Dean of Students/ Chair x7591,  Professor Lisa Cassidy,, Assistant Professor of Philosophy/ AIS x7146,  Professor Joseph Dallon, TAS and Acting Director of Study Abroad x7730,  Rosa Diaz Mulryan, Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Institutional Relations x7636,  Peter Goetz, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management x7307,  Judith Grieco, Office Assistant/ TAS x7290,  Professor Edna Negron, Assistant Professor of Journalism/ CA X7186,  Anthony Olarerin-George, Student representative- OAU and the Black Student Union President  Professor Andre Perry, Associate Professor/ CA X7573,  Diana Williams, Assistant Director of the Student Assistant Program x7446, LIAISONS  Lorraine Edwards, Affirmative Action/Workplace Compliance liaison  Babette Varano, Institutional Research liasion

4 FIRST THE GOOD NEWS…. In general, the faculty, staff and students of Ramapo College are happy to be here. They cite a very personal, friendly and warm environment as being key elements supporting their remaining here. People agree that Ramapo is an informal environment where everyone knows and refers to each other by first name. It is a caring place that encourages creativity and experimentation in terms of teaching and administrative practice.

5 NOW THE BAD NEWS… The ability to personally engage contingencies through discussion, collegiality and inclusiveness are essential factors in institutional decision making at Ramapo College. Many decisions at Ramapo College are based on relationships that people have with each other. The downside of such an environment is that several members of the community feel that they are left out of the loop.

6 The pervasive perception of those disenfranchised members of the community is that it is “who you know” in order to receive funding or permission to develop programs at Ramapo and that those who are in power decide who to allow into their realm of power. The obvious effects of such a perception are that discrimination takes place quite frequently and that some people feel frustrated by their inability to be promoted or receive the equal treatment that they see being distributed to their peers/colleagues.

7 Another issue identified is the false assumption that policy decisions are clearly communicated in a “trickle down” method from more senior officials to all that work at the college. Frequently, this doesn’t happen. Messages are either never communicated or reinterpreted to the point of losing their focus.

8 In a 1999 study conducted by the Affirmative Action Task Force utilizing full time faculty data according to gender, ethnicity and race from 1997, Ramapo College’s profile met or exceeded national breakdowns. At the same time, Ramapo came in 5th of the 8 New Jersey state colleges. As quoted in the study: “The data revealed that while we have substantially increased the representation of females, most notably White, Non-Hispanic females, on the faculty, we have shown only slight gains in the number and percentage of faculty of color, primarily in the number of Black, Non- Hispanic males and females. All other categories of faculty of color remained low and static over the last ten years. In comparing Ramapo’s results to those of seven other New Jersey state colleges and universities for Fall 1997, we found that with the exception of Black, Non-Hispanic male faculty, we had the lowest or the second lowest proportion of faculty of color in all racial/ethnic categories. In contrast, we had the highest percentage of White, Non-Hispanic males. Among the four state colleges and universities not accessible by mass transportation, Ramapo College has the lowest proportion of faculty of color.”

9 Significant concerns also exist about our current student body. The perception by the community is that the price we have paid for increased selectivity and a better prepared student is a more homogenous student body characterized mainly by white, middle or upper class full- time students.

10 10-Year Minority Student Enrollment YEAR AMERICAN INDIAN ASIANBLACKHISPANIC TOTAL MINORITY % OF TOTAL STUDENT POPULATION 19951720640524687419.3 19961023939525790119.9 1997825037128991819.6 19981325235031693120.0 19991326735732295920.6 200016281352372102120.8 200115273356373101720.8 200219266358419106220.6 200318268353395103419.7 200418278349418106320.1

11 The Result… Teaching about diversity is becoming increasingly challenging given the fact that “the other” is rapidly becoming an abstraction rather than a living, breathing being with a wide range of life experiences to counter preconceived notions of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and identity, socioeconomic status, religious background, physical abilities and political leanings.

12 In addition, minority students have anecdotally cited the following experiences as part of their day-to-day existence at Ramapo  Differential treatment in the classroom by some professors ranging from either being completely ignored to being singled out as the lone spokesperson for their race/ethnicity.  Rude, stereotypical treatment by some staff members in such student support offices as Security, the Registrar and Advisement.  Rude, insensitive treatment by some roommates or suitemates who may not be the same race or ethnicity.  Differential treatment of minority clubs and organizations (i.e., required to have more Security and Police at social events)  Lack of response to formal grievances filed through Affirmative Action  Stereotypical treatment of being guilty of suspicious behavior by the township (i.e., inordinately high rate of pullovers by Police).

13 The Process  Meta analysis of volunteer responses  Weekly meetings beginning in October with Enrollment Management, Marketing and Institutional Relations and Affirmative Action/Workplace Compliance  2 day January Retreat with the Minority Faculty Staff Association, Institutional Planning, Office of Specialized Services, Provost’s Office, Ad hoc Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators (AHCBFA)

14 Sources  1999 Affirmative Action Task Force Report  Ad hoc Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators (AHCBFA) Memorandum to President and BOT  10-Year Minority Student Enrollment Statistics  Fall 2005 Minority Student Recruitment Plan  Marketing materials

15 Recommendations: Over-”Arch”ing 1.The President, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and students must have a full understanding of what the diversity initiative is and support it from the top down. This diversity initiative must be demonstrated as an integral part of campus life, particularly since it is referred to in the Mission Statement, Strategic Plan and Middle States review. An example of such an initiative comes from Oregon State University: American colleges and universities are charged with creating an environment characterized by equal access for all students, faculty, and staff regardless of cultural differences, where individuals are not just tolerated but valued. Institutional missions suggest that higher education values multicultural awareness and understanding within an environment of mutual respect and cooperation. Institutional strategic plans advocate creating welcoming and inclusive climates that are grounded in respect, nurtured by dialogue and evidenced by a pattern of civil interaction.

16 A clear definition of diversity needs to be communicated to the community. A sample statement that could be modeled after is that drafted by the University of Toledo Commission on Diversity: Human diversity is variety and otherness. It includes, but may not be limited to age, ethnicity, gender, religion, physical or mental abilities and disabilities, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin. In promoting diversity, the University pledges to respect and value personal uniqueness and differences, to seek to attract diverse faculty, staff and students, to challenge stereotypes, and to promote sensitivity and inclusion. It understands that its staff, faculty and students must reflect the diversity of the metropolitan area and beyond. It takes seriously its commitment to diversity as expressed in the Mission Statement and Strategic Academic Plan. (Draft-not yet approved by the Commission on Diversity-June 2, 2003)

17 3.Develop a Minority Affairs (or, more ideally, a Diversity Action) Office that will be fully staffed and funded. Such an office would be responsible for providing advocacy, counsel and guidance for the Ramapo College community. This Minority Affairs leader should be a trained and experienced person in the area of diversity/race relations/human resources from outside of Ramapo College appointed to head an appropriately staffed Office of Diversity Action who will be given a senior level of authority through which enforcement can be realized. 4.It has become abundantly clear that the charge of the Diversity Action Committee will extend well beyond this academic year and that its direction and priorities will be defined by our new President and Board of Trustees. If the DAC is to continue, we recommend setting terms and representation (or staggered appointments for continuity) of the committee for future years. 5.Update the 1999 Affirmative Action Task Force Report for immediate implementation (DAC).

18 SHORT TERM (By Spring 2005) 1.Begin work on conducting an institutional environmental survey in order to more accurately gauge campus climate. A recent sample survey that was recently distributed can be found at Oregon State University, … OregonState UniversityOregonState University

19 Short Term (Spring 2005) 2.Establish a Grievance Committee or (ideally) an Ombudsperson who will be responsible for providing advice and counsel and further investigating complaints when individuals feel that progress on grievances is unsatisfactory. Naturally such an individual(s) will need to be trusted and respected the Ramapo community for their fair and objective judgment, knowledgeable in the internal workings of the college and able to work with a diverse population.

20 Short Term (Spring 2005) 3.Restore Schomburg funding to its original allocation of $ 30,000. This group has been subject to the whims of the institution and has experienced a significant cut in funds during the past few years. Creating an established management and reporting structure for the future disbursement of funds would also ensure continued provision of funds. 4.Conduct a feasibility study on establishing a Diversity Action Office comparatively researching format, budget and structure. 5.Establish a campaign clearly demonstrating our commitment toward diversity that will be prominently displayed on bulletin boards, the world wide web and publications. campaign 6.Expand the currently existing Experts Guide to include multicultural expertise and experience of our faculty and staff. Consider placing this valuable resource on the Intranet in some searchable manner for utilization by our in-house community.

21 Short Term (Spring 2005) 7.Continue creating opportunities to make the enrollment management recruitment processes as transparent as possible (and within legal guidelines). Recent efforts by the Vice Provost of Enrollment Management to meet with concerned faculty and students should continue and be recognized as a valuable part of improving communications and misperceptions of such processes. The process of exploring increasing our minority populations within legal guidelines needs to be changed from of a “you can’t do this because” to a more proactive “if you wish to do this, you need to…” model. 8.Create a more formal system for soliciting resumes within convening groups for more wide reaching searches (i.e., are search committee chairs aware of minority based publications and databases within their fields? Should one office be responsible for distributing such information?) 9.Create a general searchable directory of community services for use by the entire Ramapo community listing ethnic restaurants, salons, houses of worship and businesses. 10.Meet with recognized clubs and organizations to determine what their perceptions of diversity are and what they feel the college should be doing to continue creating such an environment (DAC). 11.Develop an End of Year Report summarizing major findings and recommendations of previously written reports such as the Affirmative Action Task Force Report of 1999 (DAC).

22 MIDTERM (By Summer 2006) 1.Have the unit councils commit time toward discussions on diversity during the Spring and Fall 2005 semesters. Frank and honest dialogue on the role of diversity in hiring, its impact on classroom environment and recruitment and retention of faculty and students is an important first step to ensure that a common dialogue is being broached across the campus. Deans should provide a summary of their unit meeting discussions to the Provost. 2.Create a formal funding structure for diversity programs that is well communicated campus wide. The current perception is that funding is a highly informal process based on knowing where potential sources might be. 3.Work with the Faculty Resource Center in developing a Faculty In Service to discuss integrating diversity into the curriculum with an opportunity to cull best practices.

23 MIDTERM (By Summer 2006) 4.Continue creating opportunities to make the Affirmative Action processes as transparent as possible (and within legal guidelines). For example, more clearly communicating time frames for responding to grievances has been expressed by the community as a source of clarification still needed. 5.Develop formal mechanisms to encourage faculty, staff and students to become more actively involved in the Enrollment Management and Affirmative Action processes. The recent assistance of Assistant Professor of History Karl Johnson in connecting Enrollment Management to local church communities is a good example 6.Develop formal mechanisms to encourage faculty, staff and students to become more actively involved in the Affirmative Action process.

24 LONG TERM 1.Restructure the formal exit interview process for the Office of Affirmative Action/Workplace Compliance to conduct with all college employees to determine reasons for leaving. The same should be conducted for departing students by either Enrollment Management or the respective schools. Data should be gathered and trends should be identified on an annual basis and findings should be shared in an open forum opportunity.

25 LONG TERM 2.Develop a campus wide training day for the entire campus to participate in the result of which can be measured. The topics, presenters (external or internal) and format (mandatory or non-mandatory) need serious consideration

26 CONCLUSIONS (FOR NOW) The Diversity Action Committee feels that they have just begun to scrape the top of the proverbial iceberg. Utilizing the research and recommendations from such esteemed colleagues as the Affirmative Action Task Force of 1999, the Ad Hoc Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators and the Minority Faculty Staff Association, we plan on conducting a thorough analysis, summary and offering of recommendations on the following areas by the end of calendar year 2005:

27 Search procedures, networking and recruitment including the interviewing and selection process Updating faculty data according to gender, race/ethnicity and comparing it to our other state college colleagues and national statistics. Updating student data according to gender, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical abilities and comparing it to our other state college colleagues and national statistics Retention of faculty and professional staff Recruitment and retention of students Reappointment/Tenure and promotion Issues of religious tolerance in a public institution and the role of an on-campus meditational space Making the DAC’s processes more transparent to the Ramapo College community through…transparent

28 Luminis / The World Wide Web Open interest meetings (every Tuesday at 11 AM in SC-217)

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