As SUNY Brockport enters the final year of its 2016-2021 Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we acknowledge the unprecedented challenges that our community has faced, while also reflecting on the tremendous strides we have made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
When our EDI strategic plan was launched in 2016, we understood our responsibility to improve and transform the educational experiences of our increasingly diverse student body, and to recruit and retain an increasingly diverse faculty and staff. We focused on recruitment, retention, education and training, and on enhancing our campus climate, in order to ensure that Brockport is a great place to learn and to work.
However, none of us could have imagined all that we as a community would face in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an international movement demanding the dismantling of structural racism, and a highly divisive US presidential campaign that exposed conflict and concerns over civility, respect, and community building.
As a Brockport community, we have learned much about the value of being a resilient resource for our community over the last year. Examples of our efforts include establishing the Golden Eagle fund to support our most vulnerable students, who are suffering from food insecurity; compiling a list of anti-racism resources on the Brockport.edu/diversity website to better serve and support our most-impacted communities during this time; and engaging in dialogue and action to ensure that issues of structural racism are acknowledged and addressed in our community, to name but a few. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic helped us reimagine what the learning and work environments look like on campus, as we focused on ensuring that both in- person and remote settings are inclusive, accessible, and equitable. Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion remains firm, strong, and unwavering, and we hope you find this EDI Strategic Plan Review a helpful resource in our ongoing journey.
Dr. Lorraine Acker, Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Heidi Macpherson, President
Our EDI Goals and Objectives
We have made notable progress on implementing our goals and living out the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion during 2020-21, while recognizing that the pandemic has had an impact on the objectives set against these goals. The overarching goals for our EDI Strategic Plan are as follows:
Goal 1: Achieve a Balance of Representation in Faculty and Staff
Goal 2: Achieve a Balance of Representation in the Student Body
Goal 3: Expand Attendance at and Access to EDI Curriculum, Programming, and/or Trainings
Goal 4: Build and Maintain an Inclusive and Positive Campus Climate
Some of the progress we made on our goals occurred in different ways than first envisioned. For example, in relation to Goal One, the recruitment of Brockport employees was significantly curtailed during 2020-21, due to COVID related NY State and SUNY restrictions. We were, however, able to recruit a new PRODiG Fellow, continue to support four PRODiG faculty members from the 2019-20 cohort faculty, and secure four more PRODiG faculty in 2020-21, due to SUNY’s strong commitment to the PRODiG project and EDI initiatives overall.
Other notable hires include our Transition and Success Coordinator in the Academic Success Center, whose role is focused on supporting underrepresented students, particularly men of color; and most recently, the Coordinator of Intercultural Engagement and Programs, who is responsible for programming in the new Joey Jackson Intercultural Center for underrepresented students and their allies, who started over the summer.
Also of note, we were able to hire a trained Diversity Recruiter this year, who, among other things, has transformed our search committee training, written a Diversity Recruitment plan, conducted Stay Interviews and reestablished the exit interview process. Our Diversity Recruiter can use the data gathered to inform Cabinet about trends and concerns, find creative solutions to long-standing issues, and recommend additional training for supervisors, while ensuring the confidentiality of individuals (except in cases covered by legal requirements). Thus, over the last year, we have focused our efforts more on retention rather than recruitment activities, whilst also being intentional in relation to notable appointments in EDI related areas.
In relation to Goal Two, 28.1% of first year students and 29.8% of transfer students who were newly enrolled at SUNY Brockport in Fall 2020 identified as students of color, continuing the trend of increased racial and ethnic diversity on our campus. For the most part, student recruitment activities went virtual in 2020-21, though we were the only SUNY school consistently to offer in-person opportunities for small student tours, as well as two outdoor events in May during which accepted students were able to tour campus, meet with faculty and staff, and see Brockport’s facilities. Our Undergraduate Admissions team has been particularly active in seeking new ways to recruit a diverse student body; please see Section 7 for further details.
The expansion of in-person attendance at EDI events, Goal Three, was similarly affected by COVID-19, though we were able to embrace technological solutions that meant, in some areas, we expanded our reach beyond the confines of our campus by going virtual. More details about our progress on goal three is noted below. In relation to Goal Four, we created a new Presidential Campus Climate Committee to lead the process of creating and reviewing a new climate survey.
In addition to these four overarching goals, SUNY Brockport has also responded to wider SUNY guidance and support. We were fortunate to have Dr. Rodmon King continue his partnership with us until December 2020, during which time he attended weekly cabinet meetings, divisional leadership meetings, and held trainings, and met with affinity groups. We appreciated his expert assistance, and we remain grateful to SUNY for offering us such professional services.
In February 2021, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced SUNY’s 25-point Action Plan to close racial equity gaps and eliminate cultural and institutional racial discrimination across SUNY campuses. So in addition to measuring ourselves against our own goals, we have taken the SUNY plan and mapped it, where applicable, against the efforts we are currently undertaking.
Recognizing that we were working this year under a set of conditions that had not been anticipated when our EDI plan was created, we set eight priorities under these larger goals as our foci for 2020-21, which were shared with the college community through the publication of 2019-20 EDI strategic plan update.
As a reminder, these eight priorities were as follows:
- Completion of the CDO Search (to assist with all four goals, but particularly Goals 3 and 4)
- Implementation of Divisional EDI Plans, touching all goals as appropriate
- Development of a new EDI Strategic Planning Committee
- Implementation of a Presidential Campus Climate Committee (PCCC), focused on Goal 4
- Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management & Student Affairs to continue to partner to address gaps in High Impact Practices (HIPs) and Co-Curricular High Impact Practices (CHIPs), focused on Goals 2 and 3
- Faculty/Staff Training & Development: Review of EVERFI, BizLibrary and internal offerings, focused on Goal 3 and 4
- Review and alignment of recruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented students, focused on Goal 2
- Alumni Engagement & Outreach around EDI initiatives, focused on Goal 4.
In what follows, we will expand on each of these eight priorities:
INTERNATIONAL FACULTY AND STAFF ASSOCIATION
The International Faculty and Staff Association became an approved Affinity Based Group by the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) in October 2020. Since its official establishment, the group met regularly during fall 2020 and spring 2021 to work diligently on its mission and goals. The mission of the Group is to enhance professional success by professional development opportunities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service, as appropriate, of international faculty and staff, and to support students, through collaboration, community building, mutual support, advocacy, professional development, mentorship, and networking.
The group has held several meetings with campus leadership, presented to various groups on campus, and wrote several reports, all to address the challenges and needs of international faculty and staff. In addition, the group has participated in numerous campus-wide activities. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group was productive in growing its membership, seeking out opportunities to collaborate, and advocating for how international faculty/staff can thrive at Brockport.
JOEY JACKSON INTERCULTURAL CENTER
The Joey Jackson Intercultural Center was created as a safe space with a focus on underrepresented groups, especially people of color, to engage in active dialogue regarding social injustices, exploring one’s own identity and leadership of self.
The Office of Community Development coordinated 26 Intercultural Center programs and collaborated with a variety of departments and community organizations from Fall 2020-Spring 2021. In 2020-2021 over 80 students, faculty and staff members participated in the programs delivered.
Plans for 2021-22
Objectives for 2021-22 are as follows:
In order to support Goal One (Achieve a Balance of Representation of Faculty and Staff), the College will strengthen the collaborative relationship with the Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs, HR and OEDI to support the academic enterprise from an EDI lens. Specific actions will be taken around
- Hiring, recruitment and promotion efforts to diversify the faculty (working closely with the Diversity Recruiter)
- Supporting the assessment of a diverse and inclusive curriculum (working with College Senate and Academic Affairs Leadership)
- Supporting faculty professional development through NCFDD and PRODiG Committee plans
- Ensuring that we submit an application for a renewal of the PRODiG Program
In order to support Goal Two (Achieve a Balance of Representation of Students), the College will
- Support the work of the relevant committees working on the Persistence Roadmap
- Seek to support Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions in their processes, practices and procedures
In order to support Goal Three (Expand Attendance at and Access to EDI Curriculum, Programming, and/or Trainings), the College will
- Review past OEDI programs and trainings offering to ensure they’re aligned with best practices in the field
- Recruit, hire and onboard the new Program Coordinator
- Plan and develop the annual Diversity Conference
- Further roll out virtual training through BIZLibrary
In order to support Goal Four (Build and Maintain an Inclusive and Positive Campus Climate), the College will
- Continue working on the Campus Climate Survey
- Reconvene the Student Advisory Board
- Partner with the Intercultural Center and Affinity Groups to support a sense of belonging for students, faculty and staff
In addition to these goal-specific plans, the College will use the 2021-22 academic year to:
- Establish systems/processes necessary for the day-to-day operation of OEDI
- Develop a new 5-year EDI Strategic Plan