President's Commission on Diversity & Community
Each individual in our community brings specific experiences and a unique perspective that contribute to the richness and vibrancy of the College. We believe that Geneseo's progress relies on our ability to embrace the diversity of its members and the vigorous exchange of ideas. The purpose of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Community is to aid the College in fostering inclusion, belonging, and empowerment for all people at Geneseo, so that together we can experience the intellectual growth that is the core of the educational experience.
In alignment with these values, the commission focuses their work on the five subcommittees below, and ad hoc work groups. While commission members are appointed to their roles, subcommittee membership is open to all interested. Please consider getting involved.
Professional Development SubcommitteeThe Professional Development Subcommittee takes a varied approach to developing sessions that aim to engage members of our community around issues of diversity and inclusion. Professional development programming includes an awareness campaign that we bring to campus departments to share what we’ve learned about our campus climate, incorporating diversity issues into the new faculty orientation, conducting focus group research, campus-wide presentations, organizing lectures and talks, and gathering and sharing what is happening in and around our community.
Campus Climate Analysis Subcommittee
The Campus Climate Analysis Subcommittee measures and evaluates the campus climate regarding diversity and inclusivity, and it provides useful information to assist everyone at SUNY Geneseo to build a more inclusive community. For example, two research projects, one quantitative and the other qualitative, were conducted in Spring 2016 and Fall 2017. The quantitative campus climate study assessed the role of peer, faculty, staff, and institutional support in students’ adjustment to college life, focusing predominantly on students from underrepresented groups. The qualitative study was conducted via nine different focus groups which included students from diverse backgrounds, including black, Latino, LGBTQ, Muslim, and international students. Data from this project were included as part of the training on stereotyping for faculty who teach gateway courses, courses that contain a significant number of first-year students and/or serve as the foundation courses for different departments. In addition, focus group data on international students were presented to the Global Geneseo committee to help enhance the experiences of international students. In addition to assessing Geneseo’s campus climate from a student perspective, the subcommittee also evaluates the same from a faculty and staff’s perspective. The subcommittee also assists the improvement of the College’s Bias Reporting system.
Real World Geneseo Subcommittee
Real World Geneseo (RWG) is an "Extreme Learning" course. The course, 201, was designed primarily for sophomores and juniors with the goal of building a strong foundation for cultural competency. The class includes a 3 1/2 day intensive off-campus retreat, weekly academic seminar, and a service learning project that is designed and implemented by students.
The RWG experience allows students to engage in dialogue about social systems of power and privilege, explore their worldview, and to gain the knowledge and skills needed to become advocates for inclusivity. Students explore issues related to social class, gender, ethnicity and race, sexual orientation, religious differences, age, and physical and mental ability. Exercises, presentations, and discussions allow participants to examine how these issues affect both their academic and personal lives.
Equity Scorecard Subcommittee
The Equity Scorecard Subcommittee focuses on identifying and reducing impediments to success among students from historically underrepresented and underserved backgrounds, with the ultimate goal of raising the retention and graduation rates for these students. The committee has been conducting a campus equity study in collaboration with the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California, using their Equity Scorecard process.
According to the CUE, the Equity Scorecard process, “emphasizes the need for practitioners to not only become aware of institutional inequities but also to take responsibility for reducing educational opportunity gaps and strive for equity, parity, in outcomes.” This approach focuses on addressing institutional impediments rather than on student deficits.
During the 2015–16 academic year, committee members worked with CUE to examine SUNY Geneseo’s existing diversity plan in order to identify relevant goals and to develop a plan using an equity-minded lens. We used data from the Institutional Research office in conjunction with CUE’s Vital Signs tool to identify inequities and to determine which issues to address first. Although equity gaps were identified in both the recruitment and retention of members of traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, the committee decided to initially focus on inequitable retention gaps found among black and Latino students at SUNY Geneseo.
Consistent with the Equity Scorecard process, the Equity Scorecard Subcommittee uses a comprehensive, systematic, data-driven approach to identify both individual and institutional factors that serve as potential barriers to students’ success, particularly focused on students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Below is information about initiatives that are currently being implemented as part of the Equity Scorecard Subcommittee.
Differential Student Outcomes in Gateway Courses: This initiative focuses on faculty who teach gateway courses, first-year, foundational courses, with the goal of reducing D, E, and withdrawal rates. Subcommittee members met with gateway faculty at an initial planning meeting in November 2016. Based on recommendations and requests from the faculty, the subcommittee conducted an all-day retreat in January 2017 to discuss best inclusive teaching practices and strategies for reducing stereotype threat in the classroom and provided a professional development series on campus climate issues in conjunction with the TLC and the Professional Development subcommittee. Currently, there are plans to have several gateway classes serve as pilot courses for implementation of best practices to improve student performance.
Student Use and Non-use of Academic Support Services: In May 2017, the subcommittee facilitated a student support services diversity retreat with directors of various programs that provide students with academic support services in order to develop a comprehensive assessment of students’ use, experiences with, and non-use of academic support services. Two different assessments will be collected during the 2017-2018 academic year. The first assessment will log students’ use of various services, including services in the Center for Academic Excellence — the Writing and Math Centers — Supplemental Instruction, and AOP tutoring. The second assessment will be a survey asking students’ experiences with the services they used and reasons for non-use of other services.
Case Study of Underrepresented Students: This project examines the profiles of underrepresented students who graduated compared to those who left the college. The goal is to try to identify factors that may contribute to retention or predict attrition. The project began in Spring 2016 with an analysis of student transcripts. A more comprehensive comparison will be conducted this academic year.
Outreach and Visibility Subcommittee
As the newest subcommittee, the Outreach and Visibility group aims to broaden the campus’ awareness of the robust work of the Commission, to cultivate relationships with students, staff, and faculty that fosters feedback and collaboration, and to connect various related campus efforts into a cohesive community-wide effort.