Quinnipiac University

Ten Point Plan: Progress and Initiatives

Overview

In the summer of 2020, we introduced Quinnipiac’s “Actions to Advance Racial Justice.” The actions outlined in this plan were informed by statements, pledges and ideas from both faculty and student groups. The 10-point plan is intended to be a long-term roadmap to advancing racial justice for all communities—Black, Brown, Asian-American, Indigenous and Native American, LatinX and so many others.

Collectively, we can bring about change in our own communities—and within our own institution—by advancing equity, inclusiveness and antiracism as cornerstones of who we are at Quinnipiac. Following are the latest updates and highlights of progress that continues to be made against each component of the 10-point plan.

1

Curriculum Review

Goal: Increase learning about the roots and contemporary manifestations of social injustice, privilege, oppression, and the drivers of social change.
Status: In Progress 

Progress and Efforts:

  • Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows, members of the I-Course Committee, the director of general education, and the senior director of inclusive excellence attended the AACU virtual Diversity, Equity and Student Success Conference in March 2021.
  • Five inclusive excellence transformation grants of $1,000 each will be awarded to faculty and staff to develop courses, co-curricular or experiential opportunities that reflect the values of global citizenship, an appreciation for diverse cultures and experiences, and an understanding of how these principles connect to the personal and professional goals of our university community.
  • The Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab Summer Institute is up and running. It includes faculty fellows from each QU school and is co-chaired by Professor Marcos Scauso and Professor Teresa Twomey. The lab serves as a resource to teach about “the roots and contemporary manifestations of social injustice, privilege, oppression, and the drivers of social change.”
  • The lab hosted the Inaugural Inclusive Excellence Summer Assembly on June 8–9. This year’s theme, “Our Campus, Our Communities, Our Commitments,” recognized the tremendous work being done against the backdrop of unprecedented social unrest in this country. The assembly encouraged faculty and staff across the university to explore issues of identity, pedagogy and inclusion from a range of perspectives. One of the goals is to provide a working space for those in student-facing roles to coordinate and strategize on effective methods for engaging with opportunities of improvement and for transforming their classes, programs and units into spaces of inclusive excellence.
2

Bias Reporting

Goal: Educate the community about the reporting process to ensure a fair and efficient investigatory process that supports a welcoming community for all.
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • The bias reporting system has been revamped and now includes a structured flowchart to delineate what happens, who is involved, and how those who report can access additional resources and supports.
  • We are developing a new website and training on understanding bias. The site will include definitions of terms and best practices related to addressing bias/ discrimination on campus.

Bias Incident Reporting Form
Bias and Discrimination Policy

3

Student Training

Goal: Explore the roots of racism and actions to counter discrimination in society and in our own behaviors.
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • A new virtual diversity training curriculum for all students was introduced in Spring 2021.
  • Department of Cultural and Global Engagement (DCGE) staff members continue to work with and support student organizations and leaders committed to this work through personalized training sessions.
4

Faculty and Staff Training

Goal: Explore the roots of racism and actions to counter discrimination in society and in our own behaviors.
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • New mandatory training modules were developed and implemented to move beyond anti-bias and toward behaviors that create and sustain a welcoming community.
  • Training for faculty and staff has continued to take place throughout the academic year.
5

Data Access

Goal: Enhance access to data to promote greater transparency, strategic planning and accountability. 
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • Relevant data housed by HR, Academic Innovation and Effectiveness and other units are being culled to develop a sharing format that is relevant and accessible.
  • A new Equity and Inclusion report will be published twice a year, which will include data on the diversity of our university community with the first being released in Spring 2021.
  • Data will be posted to our web site in Spring 2021.
6

Affinity Groups

Goal: Amplify the voices of diverse groups on campus and in our alumni community. 
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • Discussions with alumni groups have started and a more detailed plan will be developed over the summer.
  • A document highlighting our new Employee Resource Groups policy/procedures is being released in Spring 2021.
  • Office of Human Resources, in conjunction with the DCGE, has established a more robust process for Quinnipiac University employees to participate in resource groups. These groups will be composed of employees from across the university who come together based on shared interests, experiences and/or identities.

 

7

Pipeline

Goal: Improve policies and practices to enhance the pipeline and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff and students. 
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • The Quinnipiac University First-Year Immersion (QU- FYI) program for underrepresented students was launched last summer to help ease the transition from high school to Quinnipiac. New mentoring strategies have been adopted for underrepresented groups.
  • We have worked with colleagues across the university to address hiring and search practices, opportunities for internal advancement, and strategies for retention.
  • We have implemented a Diversity/Equity/Inclusion review of all pools of candidates for open positions. The review takes place at each stage of the hiring process. Increasing campus diversity cannot happen without focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion at every step of the search process.
8

Indigenous Recognition

Goal: Appropriately acknowledge the Indigenous people of the land of this region who are Quinnipiac’s namesake.
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • We are developing a land acknowledgment statement in partnership with the Akomawt Educational Initiative.
  • We continue our work with the Indigenous Student Union and other student leaders and organizations to rethink the Legend of the Bobcat.
  • The original deadline for a draft for Spring 2021 was pushed back to ensure we have a process that honors Indigenous communities involved in this work. We want to get it right.
  • Several virtual programs connected to the Indigeneity initiative were held during Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.

 

9

DCGE Support

Goal: Attract philanthropy and augment the resources of the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement. 
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • Funding for DCGE has increased for academic year 2020–21.
  • Additional philanthropic funding has been acquired in collaboration with the QU Office of Development & Alumni Affairs.
10

Civic Engagement

Goal: Promote greater global awareness and engagement that holds leaders accountable.
Status: In progress

Progress and Efforts:

  • The QU VOTES! Initiative was launched in the fall semester to bring together students, staff, faculty and community members to promote greater awareness, increased exposure and engagement.
  • In addition to courses in which students work on issues of importance to our surrounding communities and the broader world, we are engaging campus and community partners to develop equity-driven internships, fellowships and mentoring spaces.

Key Initiatives

Creating a lasting culture of inclusive excellence requires sustained efforts, big and small. It’s a community effort that requires contributions from everyone in the Bobcat family. This section reviews some of the key initiatives and many different ways students, faculty and staff are helping advance equity and inclusion throughout our university community.

  • The Bridge and Quest programs to build pathways and retain students from diverse backgrounds.
  • New First-Year Immersion Program launched last summer that familiarizes high school students, including underrepresented minorities (URM)* with QU.
  • Veterans summer programs to help transition veterans into college.
  • Planned living-learning communities, e.g., international LLC, LGBTQ+ studies LLC, gender-inclusive housing.
  • Increasing the presence of admissions and academic counselors with expertise in attracting and guiding underrepresented minority students to long-term success at QU.
  • Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab—Faculty Fellows (funded and appointed) to focus on curriculum reform and innovation.
  • HR policy that requires consideration of diverse candidate pools for all faculty and staff positions.
  • Senior leadership team composed of diverse members, modeling expectations for the university.

  • Offering new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training course to all students through EverFi.
  • Comprehensive curriculum review across all schools to identify opportunities to learn the history of oppressed groups, and sociopolitical strategies to remedy injustice and inequality.
  • Diversity teaching workshop for faculty.
  • Required diversity training for all QU faculty and staff.
  • Offering regular progress reports, and demonstrating progress, against the accountabilities we established for advancement of social justice.
  •  Funds granted to Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab Fellows and I-Course community members to attend the virtual AACU Diversity, Equity, and Student Success conference.
  • President’s “Way Forward” speaker series, which hosts industry and community leaders and topics addressing critical issues around equity and inclusion.

  • Leadership development programs for student leaders of diverse groups.
  • Highlighting diverse groups through celebratory milestones or history months.
  • Funding and putting in place 3 newly appointed LGBTQ+ Fellows: a student, faculty member and staff representative to focus on initiatives related to the LGBTQ+ community (leadership retreat, housing and campus activities).
  • Newly created platforms (The Cut, Curl Talk and The Crossover) that give students of color a safe space to have candid conversations and share their thoughts with each other and with faculty and staff mentors.
  • New magazine launched by Black students—For the QUlture—to promote lifestyle topics and issues for the Black and Brown communities.
  • LGBTQ+ Student Leadership and Identity Retreat.

  • Building connections to students in diverse high schools by offering courses in high schools.
  • Deep partnerships with community colleges through direct teaching, advising and financial aid.
  • New Haven Promise outreach and financial aid.
  • Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement development.
    Planned partnership with community-based organization to offer Adult Entrepreneurship Academy to help develop entrepreneurial ventures in marginalized communities.
  • Philanthropy/gifts specifically to be used to support underrepresented minority groups.

Action Plan Progress Report

The Action Plan Progress Report will be posted and updated on a quarterly basis so the university community can access, review and engage.

To our Quinnipiac community:

Over the last several weeks, faculty, staff and students have come together through various forums to listen, learn and share very personal and often painful experiences of racism at Quinnipiac. They have also come together to express hope – and articulate the expectation – that we will take steps to eradicate the injurious effects of racism within our own community.

These forums have been powerful reminders that it is time for our community to take the burden of our colleagues who are Black, Indigenous and people of color onto our own collective shoulders, so that it is not they who must again explain, or lead change, or exhort us that Black Lives Matter. Rather, each of us must commit to actions that will reverse an entrenched history of racism. Collectively, with forceful and concerted actions, we can work together to bring about change in our own communities, and within our own institution, by advancing equity, inclusiveness and anti-racism as cornerstones of who we are at Quinnipiac.

To that end, we are announcing Quinnipiac’s Actions to Advance Racial Justice. The actions outlined below are informed by statements, pledges and ideas we heard from both faculty and student groups.

A 10-Point Plan of Action:

  1. We will begin an immediate curriculum review to increase learning about the roots and contemporary manifestations of social injustice, privilege, oppression and the drivers of social change. We will expand across the university the types of reviews initiated by Dwayne Boucaud and Amber Kelly in the School of Health Sciences, and Hillary Haldane and Robert Yawson in the University Curriculum. We will aim for proposed changes this academic year.
  2. We will establish a clear and readily accessible system to report bias incidents. Eradicating racism and racist behavior begins with holding each other accountable. People who witness, or are themselves the targets of, racist words or actions need a place to report these experiences. We will create and educate the community about this reporting process and ensure that our system includes efficient investigation and fair decision-making to build a safe and welcoming community for all.
  3. We will add student training on diversity, equity and inclusion beginning this fall. All students will be required to complete annual training exploring the roots of racism, and actions to counter discrimination in society and in their own behaviors. In addition to online training, in-person sessions will be offered throughout the year and facilitated by members of the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement.
  4. We will monitor compliance and expand mandatory training for faculty and staff across the entire university beyond the existing “Harassment and Discrimination” and “Managing Bias” online training. This will include in-person training within schools and units focusing on contemporary manifestations of racism and bias. This training will also work to build skills in facilitating and participating in difficult conversations.
  5. We will enhance access to data describing Quinnipiac’s diversity. We will expand the demographic data about our faculty, staff and student representation published on the university’s website. This will include data tracking progress on key diversity metrics, including faculty and staff advancement by rank and level.
  6. We will expand affinity groups for faculty and staff on campus and offer alumni the opportunity to build affinity groups for people of color. This will further amplify the voices of diverse groups on campus and in our alumni community.
  7. We will improve policies and practices to enhance the pipeline and retention of under-represented faculty, staff and students. This will include mandatory training and approval requirements for search committees to ensure more diverse candidate pools; openness to non-traditional candidate profiles; expansion of mentoring and development opportunities for faculty, staff and students of color; recruitment from more diverse high schools and community colleges; and greater diversification of our health services and student support professionals.
  8. We will complete a review, and appropriately acknowledge, the Indigenous people of the land of this region who are Quinnipiac’s namesake. We will continue work that has been guided by the Akomawt Educational Initiative to honor the legacy of the Indigenous people who lived here, to include refining the “Legend of the Bobcat” read at various events with a more appropriate representation of Quinnipiac’s roots and the development of a land acknowledgement statement.
  9. We will increase university funding and attract philanthropy to augment resources for the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement. This will fund many of the initiatives noted above as well as future projects developed in partnership with members of our community.
  10. We will work with students and faculty to drive voter registration and participation. Exercising one’s voting rights is the embodiment of enlightened citizenry and a cornerstone of our strategic plan, and holds elected leaders accountable for changes that are needed.

We are grateful that Professor Khalilah Brown-Dean has agreed to serve as the Senior Director for Inclusive Excellence, partnering with Vice President Don Sawyer, to champion implementation of Quinnipiac’s Actions to Advance Racial Justice. Greater detail will be released on each of these 10 initiatives, including how we will measure progress. We will continue to include our students, faculty staff and alumni in these critical discussions to ensure that your voices are heard, and that we persist in achieving ambitious change.

The university leadership holds itself accountable for progress on each of the initiatives noted above. But we cannot do it alone, and we should not. These actions require community-wide commitment, efforts and collaboration. We will not achieve the results to which we aspire unless we are passionate and authentic in our desire for systemic change. Quinnipiac has made notable progress in the last few years to become more inclusive. However, the purpose of this letter is not to look back on those accomplishments. Rather, we want to look forward and focus on where we need to do much more to amplify progress.

It is our hope that by building understanding of the roots of racism and nurturing inclusive values during the formative years that students spend with us, Quinnipiac graduates leave our university with greater humility, empathy, compassion, respect for others, and the capacity for dialogue with individuals who have different lived experiences. Our essential purpose is to serve and advance each member of our community through education. It is a purpose that can be an antidote to these times when we are reminded frequently of all that separates us.

Let us come together, let us act to create a more just society, let us lead the way.

Judy Olian
President

Don C. Sawyer III
VP for Equity and Inclusion

QU VOTES! brings together students, staff, faculty and community members to promote:

  1. greater awareness
  2. increased exposure
  3. engagement (this includes participation in National Voter Registration Day, debate watch parties, a film viewing and panel discussion, student-created PSAs on the importance of voting, and an information guide on how/where to register and vote)

The Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab (IETL) is a partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Research and Scholarship and faculty from across the university who have demonstrated their commitment to, and interest in, issues of equity, diversity and inclusion within their curricular and co-curricular approaches. These scholars become exemplars for their colleagues by encouraging them to consider how these themes shape the experiences and intellectual explorations of students, staff and faculty within their programs. In Spring 2021, the teaching lab will offer 5 “Inclusive Excellence Transformation Grants” to faculty who would like to develop courses and/or co-curricular opportunities during Summer 2021. Preference will be given to collaborative efforts. Eventually this lab will also serve as a revenue generating resource for local educators and school districts to contract with the lab and its cohorts. 

While Quinnipiac has made some incremental gains in diversifying its faculty at the junior ranks and awarding tenure, there is a stalling at the rank of associate that reflects broader trends in academic ranks across higher education. For example, data from the Pew Research Center shows that only 19% of full professors nationwide are non-White compared to 27% of assistant professors. This is a dedicated mentoring program for underrepresented faculty with less than 5 years of service at the university to match junior faculty with two mentors: 1 from within their college and 1 from outside the college with similar scholarly interests. This approach to layered mentoring (in addition to mentoring that should happen within a professor’s home department) is a structured way to help support faculty development, identify opportunities for service and networking and diminish the silos that seem to keep faculty separated by program rather than interests. Eventually, the goal is to move toward a program that allows each of the program mentees to select a faculty member from outside the university with whom they would like to build a professional relationship. That outside faculty member would be invited to be a visiting lecturer for a 2-3 day residency that would include an open talk for the university community and a small group workshop with affiliated faculty.

Our Journey to Inclusive Excellence

In Spring 2021, we introduced the university’s first Equity and Inclusion Report. It tracks a variety of key initiatives that are building a culture of inclusive excellence, reports on the progress we are making, and spotlights the students, faculty and staff who are bringing this important work to life. This report will be updated twice a year.

Download the report


“It is our hope that by nurturing inclusive values during the formative years that students spend with us, Quinnipiac graduates leave our university with greater humility, empathy, compassion and respect for others. They will become global citizens prepared to lead change for the good of society.”

Judy Olian, President

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