Office of Diversity and Equity
Office of Diversity and Equity
The ideals of the SUNY Geneseo community strive to broaden understanding, heighten awareness, awaken empathy, and foster empowerment of all individuals.
We believe that our differences make us stronger and together, we commit ourselves to sustaining and expanding the diversity of our community and to making equity for all members of our diverse community a measure of our success.
The Office of Diversity and Equity strives to cultivate and uphold an inclusive and diverse campus. We aim to create an environment that educates, empowers, and inspires our students, campus, and community here at SUNY Geneseo.
Connect with Us
Student Team email: email@example.com
Calendar of Selected Cultural Holidays
- Spring 2023
LUNAR NEW YEAR (BUDDHISM) is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. January 22 SHIVRATRI (HINDUISM) Is a festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. February 18 LENT (CHRISTIANITY) Is the six week period beginning Ash Wednesday leading to Easter Sunday, where some Christians fast or give something up in solemn observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Period includes Palm Sunday and Good Friday. February 22-April 6 PURIM (JUDAISM) Is the Jewish festival commemorating the saving of the Jewish people and the defeat of Haman as recounted in the Book of Esther. March 6-7 HOLI (HINDUISM) Is a popular ancient festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, as it celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Narayana over Hiranyakashipu. March 8 NAW-RUZ (BAHA'I) Is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the New Year and for Baha’is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and coincides with the spring equinox. March 21 RAMADAN (ISLAM) Is the ninth most sacred month in Islamic culture that Muslims observe to mark when Allah sent an angel to Prophet Muhammad to reveal the Quran, the Islamic holy book. March 22-April 21 MAHAVIRA-JAYANTI (JAINISM/SIKHISM/HINDUISM) Is one of the most important religious festivals in Jainism, celebrating the birth of Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpiṇī. April 4 PASSOVER/PESACH (JUDAISM) Is the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. The first and last two days are observed as full holidays. Includes a ceremonial meal called the Seder comprising food of symbolic significance, traditions and prayers. April 5-13 EASTER/PASCHA (CHRISTIANITY) Is the Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion.
April 9 (Orthodox)
RIDVAN (BAHA'I) The festival commemorates the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith, publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. Elections for local, national and international Baha’i institutions are generally held. April 21, 29, and May 2 EID AL-FITR (ISLAM) Is the "Festival of Breaking the Fast" may be called Lesser Eid or Eid, is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
DECLARATION OF THE BÁB (BAHA’I) This Holy Day commemorates when the Báb, announced that He was the Herald of a new Messenger of God. May 24
- Summer 2023
ASCENSION OF THE BAHA’U’LLAH (BAHA’I) This Holy Day marks the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i Faith. May 29 SHAVUOT (JUDAISM) Is the ‘Feast of Weeks’, which marks the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mt. Sinai, and is often linked with the Confirmation of teenagers. May
EID AL-ADHA (ISLAM) Is the latter of the two Islamic holidays honoring the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. June 28-29 MARTYRDOM OF THE BÁB (BAHA’I) The Holy Day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Báb, Herald of the Bahai Faith, in Persia. July 10 TISHA B’AV (JUDAISM) Is an annual fast day and intense day of mourning on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred. July
AL-HIJRA (ISLAM) Is the first day of the month of Muharram representing the Islamic New Year. July
SRI KRISHNA JAYANTI (HINDUISM) Is the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. August 18-19
Periodic DEI Updates
- Fall '20-Spring '21
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Sept '21 Updates
Campus Climate Study
The President’s Commission on Diversity and Community will conduct a campus climate study this semester to gather feedback on the campus environment. Students can expect a survey invitation to come via email in the coming weeks; a faculty and staff survey will follow later this year.
Expansion of LGBTQ+ and Multicultural Student Services
With the goal of better supporting the success of students, the current part-time position of LGBTQ+ programs and services coordinator will be augmented to become a full-time assistant director of multicultural affairs for LGBTQ+ life in what will now be called the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The assistant director will have an expanded portfolio, with a primary responsibility for serving LGBTQ+ students while supporting multicultural students more broadly.
Progress on Securing a Multicultural Space for Students
Facilities and Administration, together with Student and Campus Life, has identified the Knightspot as a temporary multicultural space for students. Renovations on the space will begin this fall.
New Living Learning Community Opens
Umoja House is the latest Living Learning Community on campus with 20 residents in Erie Hall. An Inquiry and Discovery LLC, Umoja House comprises students from diverse backgrounds who share an interest in unity, for which the LLC is named.
Academic Affairs Executing Racial Justice Plan
Academic Affairs continues to execute its division-level racial justice plan. The division held focus groups with its faculty and staff of color last spring and recommendations based on the feedback are being integrated into the division-level racial justice plan. See a larger list of department/division-level action plans and statements of support for racial justice here.
Finance and Administration Support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
To further advance its commitment to DEI, the Finance and Administration (FA) Division is advancing DEI strategies at multiple levels. In collaboration with related campus efforts, a new FA Division Diversity Group recently reviewed current administrative practices and identified ways to better infuse the division’s commitment to DEI into culture and practices. Examples are highlighted here, many of which represent implemented practices. More updates will be made as our community needs evolve.
Get Involved in the Diversity Summit
The Diversity Summit will be held February 16, 2022. Classes will not be held so everyone can fully participate in the activities. To join a planning committee, complete this form. The session proposal form will be made available in November.
Oct '21 Updates
Campus Climate Study
The Comprehensive Campus Climate Committee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community has launched a survey designed to understand students' perspectives and experiences regarding the campus climate. The goal of this survey is to amplify student voices and use student feedback to continue to improve the experiences for all students at SUNY Geneseo. All full-time matriculated undergraduate students have received a survey invitation email from Dr. Monica Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org) on behalf of the Comprehensive Campus Climate Committee. Please encourage students to complete the survey. A related survey of campus personnel is anticipated in a future phase (timing TBD).
Interim Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs
The Office of Multicultural Affairs now has an interim director: Natalie Weathers. Natalie, who recently completed her master's degree at Syracuse University, has a passion for and strong record of engagement in diversity, equity, and inclusion work as it pertains to the student experience. She will continue the Office’s vibrancy, programming, and student support during this academic year. Natalie’s first day is October 28. Please stop by the office and give her a warm Geneseo welcome.We will announce details about a national search for the office’s next long-term director later in the spring.
A Note about Halloween
With Halloween upon us, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to consider our college value of Belonging and our Community Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as you make choices about costumes, gatherings, and other holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, while Halloween can be a joyful time for many, it also can be a painful time for members of our community whose culture or identity is misrepresented or mocked by others’ choices.
Geneseo To Give Two Honorary Degrees at 2022 Commencement
SUNY Geneseo alum Howard Blumenthal ’74 and Ibram X. Kendi will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees at the college’s 2022 commencement. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist, helped inspire the College to spend the 2020–21 academic year exploring topics related to racial (in)equity, (in)justice, and movements for social change.
PRODiG Program Thriving
SUNY Geneseo is pleased to participate in the SUNY PRODiG Program as part of its efforts to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty in its nationally-recognized student-focused community. We currently have six faculty and two fellows, which is among the highest representation of all SUNY comprehensive colleges. Plus, we’ve applied for an additional award to continue to grow this excellent program.
Nov '21 Updates
Campus Climate Study
There are two days left for students to complete the climate survey (due November 19). As a reminder, the Comprehensive Campus Climate Committee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community has launched this survey to understand students' perspectives and experiences regarding the campus climate. The goal is to amplify student voices and use student feedback to continue to improve the experiences for all students at SUNY Geneseo. A related survey of campus personnel is anticipated in a future phase (timing TBD).
Diversity Summit Seeks Proposals
This year’s Diversity Summit will take place on February 16th, 2022. All members of the Geneseo community and beyond are invited to submit proposals for sessions they would like to host during the Diversity Summit. Sessions can vary in length and format, including presentations, discussions, art activities, performances, and more! Those who are interested in hosting a session should fill out this Google form by December 15.
Support Services Available
At Geneseo, we are committed to helping every member of our community reach their full potential by fostering an environment that allows everyone in our diverse community to feel affirmed, valued, and a sense of belonging. Individuals who experience a bias-related incident are encouraged to report the incident so that the college can respond effectively. These reports are received by the college’s Bias Prevention and Response Team (BPRT), which is composed of committed students, faculty, and staff. BPRT works to prevent bias-related incidents and to support our community when these incidents occur. Some reports are referred through other appropriate channels for follow up and investigation.
New Identity-Affirming Student Spaces on Campus Coming Soon!
Finance and Administration’s facilities department, together with Student and Campus Life, the Office of Diversity and Equity, Student Association, and student leaders, are hard at work transforming the Knight Spot into new multicultural, identity-affirming spaces for students. Additionally, space near the office of the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs for LGBTQ+ Life has been renovated for use by LGBTQ+ students and their allies. The team expects these spaces to open before the end of the fall semester. Stay tuned for more information!
Summer Farmers Market Effort Increases Diversity in Sustainability Activities
Students are learning the full cycle of farming — from planting to sale — part of a larger sustainability related effort to increase engagement, business and access opportunities for BIPOC community members. Read more in our News Center.
Dec '21 Updates
New Workshop Program for Faculty and Staff
This spring, we will launch a new branch of the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC) program, allowing departments to request workshops on topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. ACCC alums have been given the opportunity to participate in facilitator training. Trained ACCC alums will serve as workshop facilitators to enhance the range of professional development offerings on these important topics. This complements our existing Diversity and Inclusion Community Educators (DICE) program which engages students as facilitators.
Campus Climate Study
Thank you to all the students who responded to our Campus Climate Study. We received 1,300 responses with 600 full completions. Congratulations to our three raffle prize winners: Bakhita Solenyanu (iPad), Alissa Moeller (Apple Watch), and Isabella Robles (AirPods). We anticipate sharing the results of the survey next semester, and faculty/staff will have a chance to provide feedback in the next phase of the study.
Diversity Summit Seeks Proposals
There is still time to indicate your interest in hosting a session at this year’s Diversity Summit, which will take place on February 16, 2022. Sessions can vary in length and format, including presentations, discussions, art activities, performances, and more! Those who would like to host should fill out this Google form by December 15.
Leadership Training “Graduates” First Cohort
The inaugural cohort of the faculty and staff leadership program has completed its first year of ongoing training. Leaders from across the campus community learned about equity-minded leadership, as well as other areas of leadership development. The program is also designed to promote relationship building and foster collaboration skills, as well as increase awareness of and appreciation for various campus roles and responsibilities. Participants on multidisciplinary teams identified potential actions for Cabinet consideration that are now under review. More to come!
DEI Training in the School of Business by PwC
The School of Business and PwC worked together to create DEI awareness sessions for over 150 Introduction to Business students. Two Business Advisory Council members and PwC partners (Tom Henk and Dan Book) moderated the Zoom sessions. The first session, by a PwC staff member, focused on developing self-awareness among the students about differences. The second session featured a panel of PwC employees, including Tomas Cesar '20, who talked about their experiences as persons of color at PwC. Student leaders from SOB clubs also participated in the DEI awareness training at the beginning of the semester.
Jan-Feb '22 Updates
Multicultural Affairs and LGBTQ+ Services Move to the Office of Diversity and Equity
In an effort to create a centralized hub for DEI-related initiatives and programs, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, including LGBTQ+ Life and Jewish Student Life, is moving from the Division of Student and Campus Life to the Office of Diversity and Equity. We believe that this reorganization will lead to greater collaboration, innovation, and support for our campus community. The office and its staff will continue to provide a high level of support to students, and the programs and services offered by this office will continue from its new organizational home.
New Identity-Affirming Student Spaces on Campus Coming Soon!
Finance and Administration’s facilities department, together with Student and Campus Life, the Office of Diversity and Equity, Student Association, and student leaders, are nearly done transforming the Knight Spot into a new multicultural space for students. Additionally, space near the office of the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs for LGBTQ+ Life has been renovated for use by LGBTQ+ students and their allies. The team is currently selecting furniture and decorating the spaces, which are expected to open early in the spring semester.
Diversity Summit Keynote Speaker Announced
Keith Boykin will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Diversity Summit, which will take place on February 16, 2022 at 1 p.m. in the Union Ballroom. Boykin is a CNN political commentator, New York Times best-selling author, and a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton.
Mar/Apr '22 Updates
Multicultural Center Prepares for Opening!
The Knight Spot will officially be renamed the “Multicultural Center” and will serve as a programming and community space for multicultural students. Special thanks to facilities services for completing the renovation during the pandemic. There is temporary furniture in place and new furniture has been ordered with funding from the Student Association. There will be opportunities to visit the new venue this semester. A new sign for the awning will soon be installed, and an official launch of the new Multicultural Center will occur in the fall.
Academic Affairs Updates - DEI Expo, New Racial Justice Website, PRODiG Fellows
Student leaders and Academic Affairs piloted a DEI Expo on March 23. Student leaders, Joelmy Acevedo and Francheska Colon, conceived the event, which was co-implemented by the Provost office, DAPA, and students. Designed to provide students with just-in-time information about all of our DEI classes right before fall registration, departments and units also shared information about their DEI-related activities.
Academic Affairs also created a racial justice website, and implemented a think tank on faculty evaluation designed to make recommendations to reduce bias in the tenure-and-promotion process.
SUNY Geneseo is participating in the continuation of PRODiG Fellows and will collaborate with other SUNY comprehensives to choose a fellow for the 2022-23 academic year. This will be the college’s third PRODiG fellow. These are two-year fellowships designed to introduce late-stage Ph.D. candidates or early stage new Ph.D.s to teaching at comprehensive colleges. Through this program, the College provides Fellows a reduced teaching load, excellent mentorship, and robust networking opportunities.
Upcoming Search for Director of Multicultural Affairs
In the coming days, we will launch the posting to recruit our next Director of Multicultural Affairs. Now under the Office of Diversity and Equity, the holder of this position will also serve as the Assistant Director of that larger entity. Campus community members are asked to help circulate this posting once it is live and are encouraged to participate in the open fora when finalists are interviewed.
- May '22 Updates
Seeking Nominations for the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award
The President’s Commission on Diversity and Community is currently soliciting nominations for the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award. Nominations are due Friday, May 13. The purpose of this award is to recognize students, student organizations, faculty, staff and alumni who have evidenced an extraordinary commitment to enhancing SUNY Geneseo's environment of mutual respect for all people and points of view. The award process enables us to share success stories as a community and celebrate the leadership and vision of our members and programs as we strive to foster a supportive and welcoming climate for everyone. To view past winners of this award, visit the website.
Hillel Pilots "Understanding Antisemitism on Campus"
This April, SUNY Geneseo Hillel launched a first-of-its-kind training, delving into the origins, evolution, and context of past and present manifestations of antisemitism. To our knowledge, Geneseo was the first Hillel in the country to offer the training to all members of the campus community. The 40 participants represented a range of backgrounds and identities: students, faculty, staff, community members, Jews, and non-Jews. The curriculum, created by Hillel International and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), helped participants understand and feel better equipped to identify, respond to, and proactively educate others about antisemitism.
Identity-Affirming Graduation Celebrations
Three identity-affirming celebrations take place this month as seniors prepare to graduate. The Lavender Graduation Celebration on May 10 honors students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Sankofa Graduation Celebration, to be held on May 19, honors those who self-identify as students of color while acknowledging their resilience and perseverance toward this important milestone. On Friday, May 20, a Senior Sendoff Shabbat will take place followed by dinner to celebrate our Jewish graduates. Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors; we can’t wait to celebrate with the entire Class of 2022!
Neurodivergence Living Learning Community
With a focus on providing a sense of belonging for students with neurodivergence, our new LLC, developed in partnership with students, will be a welcoming community created to be inclusive of all aspiring students who have unique minds and attributes. The Neurodivergent LLC will provide students with an intentional living space designed to accommodate their diverse needs. Spaces in development may include: quiet rooms, calming areas, study zones, stimming sanctuaries, comfortable furniture and fabrics, and staff support.
Geneseo Foundation Allocates Funding for Multicultural Scholars
On Friday April 28, the Geneseo Foundation Board of Directors allocated $250,000 to the multicultural scholars scholarship program. This allocation of funds was made in addition to a $400,000 distribution for unrestricted scholarships, and enabled the College to recruit 39 multicultural scholars for admittance this fall.
Thank You for Participating
As our year comes to a close, we want to thank everyone who has taken the time to participate in the vast opportunities designed to deepen awareness and foster community. These include: the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC) program, Cultivating Community, Diversity and Inclusion Community Educators (DICE), Intergroup Dialogue course sequence, Equity-Minded Leadership Certificate, and more. The investment of time and energy on an individual level really does impact Geneseo on a community level.
- Oct '22 Updates
Update on Multicultural Affairs Staffing
This Thursday, October 13, Amanda Chestnut will begin as the interim coordinator of multicultural affairs with primary oversight over the newly launched Multicultural Center. They will work full-time until a new ongoing director of multicultural affairs begins in the role. On that topic, following an unsuccessful recruitment effort this spring, we have restarted a national search for the director position. I would ask you to share this opportunity with anyone you believe might be qualified and interested. This is a very important position for our campus and I appreciate your participation in this search.
Opening of the Multicultural Center
The Multicultural Center in Blake Hall officially opened on September 12, with a ribbon cutting event on September 9. A collaborative outcome of Geneseo voices from past and present generations, the Center is intended to serve as not only a physical space for community and cultural development, but also a spiritual and mental space for relaxation and creative expression. The Multicultural Center has been open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; weekend hours are now available as well (also 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.). For more information and to reserve the space for events, visit the website.
Planned opening of the LGBTQ+ Lounge
A brand new LGBTQ+ Lounge will be opening this semester. This space is the result of collaboration between students, faculty, staff, and administrators in an effort to provide a student-centered space which supports the belonging of LGBTQ+ community members. The furnishings for this space were provided by the Student Association, and were supported by student activity fees. A ribbon-cutting will take place on Thursday, November 10 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the hallway outside MacVittie College Union 345. After this event, the LGBTQ+ Lounge will be open daily during Union hours. Students are welcome to use this space as a place to relax and make connections with each other. The space includes a living room, conference room, and two all-gender bathrooms.
Hispanic Heritage Month
The Global Languages and Cultures Department together with the Latinx Student Association have presented several events in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, including music performances, dance instruction, and a panel discussion and keynote speaker focused on the Spanish culture and language respectively. One more event, a Poetry Reading, takes place this Thursday, October 13, at 6 p.m. in Bailey 101. All are invited.
Multicultural Meet and Greet
The 15th Annual Multicultural Meet and Greet is Friday, October 14, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. This event helps foster informal mentorship relationships among faculty, staff, and students, and cultivate a sense of community and belonging for BIPOC students and those from minoritized groups. RSVP to attend.
Climate Study Report Results Shared with Campus
Last month, the results of the Campus Climate Study, administered in Fall of 2021 by a subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community, were distributed to the campus community. A range of ways will be offered for members of our community to engage with the data to inform change. The Cultivating Community dialogue series this semester is focused on these findings. The next session is November 9, and all are welcome and encouraged to participate. Register on the website.
Join a Diversity Summit Planning Committee
This year’s Diversity Summit will take place on February 28, 2023. Four planning committees will help make the summit a success: logistics, programming, volunteerism, and marketing. We would love to have students, staff, and faculty involved on each of these committees. You can sign up here to participate on a committee. Information about how to submit a session proposal will be available later this fall semester.
- Nov. '22 Updates
Indigenous Peoples' Heritage Month Featured Speaker
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting an event with Emmy Award-winning social justice storyteller, entrepreneur, and philanthropic leader Sarah Eagle Heart. Join Residence Director Tim Snider on Tuesday, November 15, from 7 to 8 p.m. for the Zoom webinar conversation about the culture, art, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples. Learn how their voices can be amplified in the Geneseo community. This event is sponsored by the Student Association and supported by mandatory student activity fees.
Transgender Awareness Week
Around the country, many people, organizations, and institutions celebrate Transgender Awareness Week (also called Trans Awareness Week). This is an opportunity to deepen knowledge, increase support, and uplift members of our community who identify as transgender. Geneseo holds many events this week (full schedule on Instagram @geneseolgbtqia), including a ceremony to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Gazebo on Wednesday, November 16, at 6 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting for LGBTQ+ Lounge and Opening of the Lavender House
Two important LGBTQ+ affirming spaces opened last week: LGBTQ+ Lounge (in the MacVittie College Union) and Lavender House (Living-Learning Communities in Suffolk, Putnam, and Genesee Halls).
The LGBTQ+ Lounge provides a student-centered space that supports the belonging of LGBTQ+ community members. The Student Association provided the furnishings, which were supported by student activity fees. Students are welcome to use this space during Union hours as a place to relax and make connections with each other.
The Lavender House Living-Learning Community was named by students; the color lavender has had a long and strong historical tie to the LGBTQ+ community. While its true origin is unknown, the most common belief is that purple represents the mixing of gender normative colors such as pink and blue. This new Living-Learning Community aims to strengthen the sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ students within the residence halls.
Celebrating First-Generation Students
November 8 was National First-Generation College Student Day. Nearly 40 students, individuals who identify as first in their families to attend a four-year college, enjoyed brunch and giveaways in the MacVittie College Union Hunt Room. Many thanks to Summit Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the event.
Cultivating Community Focuses on Climate Study Report Results
Our Cultivating Community dialogue series continues to focus on the findings of the Campus Climate Study report, released earlier this semester. On November 9, participants discussed how to use the insight on microaggressions to cultivate a better community.
- Dec. '22 Updates
Celebrating First-Generation Students
Following last month’s successful First-Generation College Student brunch, we will again welcome first-gen students to a grab-and-go event for study day on Tuesday, December 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the MacVittie College Union Hunt Room. First-generation college students are invited to stop by, recharge by grabbing coffee, snacks, and more—and recharge their devices, too. This event is sponsored by the Summit Federal Credit Union, thanks to Laurie Baker '85, member of the SUNY Geneseo Foundation Board.
Student Campus Climate Study Update
A Campus Climate Support Team, co-chaired by Monica Schneider, professor of psychology, and Michael Restivo, associate professor and department chair of sociology, will launch this spring semester to help faculty, staff, and students understand and use the study data for meaningful change. Further updates will be shared in the coming weeks.
Faculty/Staff Campus Climate Survey
We anticipate administering a faculty/staff campus climate survey this spring using a survey from Great Colleges to Work For and supplementing it with custom questions specific to SUNY Geneseo. The survey will help us learn more about employees’ morale and work environment and benchmark against similar institutions.
The Diversity Summit is February 28, 2023; this year’s theme is Campus Climate: Learn, Engage, Take Action. The deadline to submit session proposals is this Friday, December 16. Sessions may vary in length and format, and creative collaborations across campus are welcomed and encouraged. Programming examples include presentations, discussions, activities, performances, and exhibitions. This year’s Diversity Summit keynote speaker will be Emmanuel Kulu Jr., an African historian and author of Cameroonian descent (Zulu/Bantu tribe). Kulu began his professional creative career in 2015 with screenwriting and acting for films such as The Rize & Fall of Tephlon Ent, Bug Love, and The First Purge.
Student Evaluations and Faculty Personnel Processes
The College introduced the new Student Course Experience (SCE) survey, which is intended to help mitigate unintentional biases that may shape student evaluations of faculty instruction. After a multi-year process that involved College Senate, United University Professions, and Academic Affairs, the College began using the SCE this fall. The SCE replaces the Student Opinion of Faculty Instruction (SOFI) and features streamlined prompts about students’ experiences in their classes.
College Senate recently endorsed six recommendations about faculty personnel processes generated by the Think Tank on Faculty Evaluation during the 2021–22 academic year. The task force recommendations reflect a diversity, equity, and inclusion mindset and are rooted in substantial research on equity in higher education, particularly the experiences of women and faculty of color. Many thanks to the faculty and staff who contributed to the think tank’s work and senate deliberations on the recommendations.
Student and Campus Life Division Updates
The Division of Student and Campus Life has been putting into action its diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts. For example, student athletes are leading DEI training for coaches and students. They will soon offer land acknowledgements prior to all athletic competitions and post plaques with the land acknowledgements at key locations in the athletic complex.
- Jan. '23 Updates
Black History Month Events
In celebration of Black History Month, on February 22, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom, Kodjo Adabra, associate professor of francophone studies, will present his new book, “The Power of an Untamed Mindset,” followed by a Q and A and book signing. Other events are planned for Black History Month, as well. For a complete list, visit the events calendar.
This spring, the Cultivating Community Series will lean into the College’s value of creativity and our newly claimed vision as community members consider what it means to be equity-centered at Geneseo. Please join us in the College Union Ballroom on Tuesday, February 7, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. to consider the question: What does equity-centeredness look like, sound like, or feel like to you? Participants will be challenged to imagine how others’ artistically expressed visions of equity-centeredness can be transformed into climate-bettering practices. Those who are comfortable and interested in drawing, doodling, dancing, describing, or expressing in some other form their visions of equity-centeredness will be welcome to do so. Register here.
The Diversity Summit is February 28; this year’s theme is Campus Climate: Learn, Engage, Take Action, and the keynote speaker is Emmanuel Kulu Jr., an African historian and author of Cameroonian descent (Zulu/Bantu tribe). Kulu began his professional creative career in 2015 with screenwriting and acting for films such as The Rize & Fall of Tephlon Ent, Bug Love, and The First Purge. You can view all the speakers and sessions here. In addition, students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to participate in “The Hair Monologues." Applications are due February 9. For more information, contact Charlotte Wade at email@example.com.
Supporting Departmental and Unit DEIB Plans
A new subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community has been established to support departments and other units in making progress towards their stated DEIB goals. This subcommittee will be gathering information about individual units’ aspirations/structures and developing resources that aim to both foster interdepartmental connectivity and provide support for initiatives. Please complete this Google form by February 8, to indicate your interest in joining this subcommittee.
Multicultural Graduation Celebration Dates Announced
Lavender Graduation and Sankofa Celebrations have been scheduled for 2023. Going forward, Lavender Graduation Celebration will fall on the Tuesday of Commencement Week in Doty Recital Hall. Sankofa Graduation Celebration will fall on the Thursday of Commencement Week in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom.
2023 Geneseo Employee Climate Survey
Soon after Spring Break, we will launch the 2023 Geneseo Employee Climate Survey. The information gathered in this survey will provide insight about the overall climate for employees at Geneseo in ways that can affirm positives and promote action to address concerns. I encourage you to look for more communications about this opportunity as the date approaches and to participate in the survey. Without your candid feedback, we cannot learn and grow.
Seneca Nation Acquires Part of Historic Homeland
As you are aware, SUNY Geneseo sits on land that is part of the historic homeland of the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation. The Big Tree Treaty, which created the original Seneca reservations, was signed on land adjacent to our campus. Of local interest, earlier this month the Seneca Nation acquired Canawaugus land in nearby Caledonia.
- Feb. '23 Updates
Diversity Summit is Tuesday!
The Diversity Summit is February 28; this year’s theme is Campus Climate: Learn, Engage, Take Action, and the keynote speaker is Emmanuel Kulu Jr., an African historian and author of Cameroonian descent (Zulu/Bantu tribe). Kulu began his professional creative career in 2015 with screenwriting and acting for films such as The Rize & Fall of Tephlon Ent, Bug Love, and The First Purge. You can view all the speakers and sessions here.
Sybrina Fulton Webinar Culminated Black History Month
On February 24, the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, for a Black History Month webinar. Fulton has become a role model to many by turning her grief into advocacy. As a mother, she inspires audiences to continuously educate their children about civil rights and to help them feel accepted as part of an ever-changing society. It was an honor to host Sybrina Fulton during Black History Month. Special thanks to the Student Association for sponsoring the lecture. I also commend Geneseo student, Awa Traore, for the wonderful facilitation of this important event!
Save the Dates for Commencement Recognition Celebrations!
Commencement recognition celebrations are important occasions for our campus community to support our graduates. All are welcome at the following events. Lavender Graduation Celebration for LGBTQ+ graduating students will be on May 16, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Doty Recital Hall. Be on the lookout to RSVP. Sankofa Graduation Celebration for students of color will be on May 18 at 2:30 p.m. in MacVittie College Union Ballroom. The Interfaith Center will host a Shabbat Shalom and lehitraot to our Jewish graduates on Friday, May 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Interfaith Center followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Equity-Minded Search Practices Expanded
We hosted the first session of Equity-Minded Search Practices (EMSP) 3.0 this past week, building on the strong record of EMSP 1.0 and 2.0 sessions, a series that started in Jan 2018. Since issues affecting equitable practices are evolving, individuals interested in serving on search committees are required to attend the session every two years. To ensure our search committees reflect participation from across the campus, we urge faculty and staff members to be preemptive and register for a session.
Cabinet Meets with ACE Leaders
On February 17, members of the Cabinet met with leaders of the Alliance for Community Enrichment (ACE) organizations in a new format for the traditional Multicultural Leaders Reception event held each semester. ACE aims to promote and encourage the growth of a diverse environment for all students in the Geneseo community. I appreciate the dialogue design and co-facilitation of Abigail George and Alexander Ruiz, who were wonderful partners in the planning of this important event. One theme that emerged from the discussion was students’ desire to have faculty and staff support their events, particularly the upcoming multicultural dinners and events. Please consider attending a few of these terrific events to learn more about our students, their experiences, and their cultural backgrounds.
- March '23 Updates
Employee Opinion Survey Underway
The Employee Opinion Survey is open until April 5. Faculty and staff should have received a link in their email from ModernThink. Please note that this survey is NOT the Employee Campus Climate Survey as first communicated on January 31. While we had intended to adapt it as the climate survey, upon further reflection and in response to specific feedback from colleagues, we pivoted to separating the two surveys, as each survey has a distinct and different purpose. We anticipate that information gleaned from this opinion survey, largely a human resource instrument, may help inform the development of our Employee Campus Climate Survey, to be administered at a later date.
Campus Engagement Opportunities
We are offering a series of engagement opportunities for individuals across campus to participate in facilitated dialogues about our equity-centered public honors college vision. We have a variety of dates, times, and locations available for faculty, staff, and students to opt in to these discussions, and we hope you all will take advantage of this opportunity to connect with others around our vision. Click here to sign up for one of the sessions.
Additional Accessibility for Commencement
The Commencement Committee made the decision that in addition to having captioning both as part of the ceremonies and the livestream (instituted last year), we now will have American Sign Language interpreters present at commencement each year regardless of whether that service is requested.
Diversity Summit Evaluation
The Diversity Summit planning committee is asking attendees to share feedback about their experience with the event and the impact that it has had on them. The committee also is soliciting ideas about themes and speakers for next year’s Summit. The results from this survey will play a key role in shaping the growth of this important program. Thank you in advance for your feedback.