Quinnipiac University

Ten Point Plan: Progress and Initiatives

Overview

Collectively, with forceful and concerted actions, we can 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 have developed 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.

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:

  • A preliminary review of curricular and co-curricular offerings is being piloted in the School of Health Sciences. In addition, ongoing discussions are taking place within the committees overseeing the University Curriculum, including First-Year Seminar and I-courses. We will expand this work in partnership with the provost and various university partners to develop and pilot a 360 review. 
  • We will launch the Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab (IETL) to support faculty innovations in course creation, redesign and mentoring to ensure every course reflects this commitment. The lab will bring together faculty from each school to develop a template for curriculum review that is both standardized and specific to curricular needs of the various programs. The lab will be staffed by the inaugural cohort of Inclusive Excellence Teaching Fellows and co-led by two faculty members in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Center for Research and Scholarship. 
  • This spring, the teaching lab will offer 5 Inclusive Excellence Transformation Grants to faculty and staff who would like to develop courses and/or co-curricular opportunities during Summer 2021. Preference will be given to collaborative efforts. Eventually this lab may serve as a revenue-generating resource for local educators and school districts to contract with the lab and its cohorts.
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. This info will be integrated into the new Department of Cultural and Global Engagement (DCGE) and HR websites to ensure accessibility and efficiency. The Bias Incidence Response Team (BIRT) is being repurposed to enhance effectiveness. An announcement for the updated bias and discrimination policy and reporting form will be sent to the campus community.

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:

Virtual training experiences for students were developed and implemented during the Summer 2020 semester and continued into the Fall 2020 semester.  In addition, there will be more regularly offered standardized training sessions with virtual and limited in-person opportunities planned for Spring 2021 and beyond. A new virtual diversity training curriculum for all students will be introduced in Spring 2021. DCGE staff continue to work with and support student organizations and leaders committed to this work. 

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. A pilot of “Developing Inclusive Classrooms” training took place during the summer and at the start of Fall 2020. HR and DCGE staff are working to ensure equitable training and access across schools and campuses and to align training with structural changes that enhance the implementation of what’s been learned. New requirements have been instituted for search committees to ensure a diverse candidate pool. 

5

Data Access

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

Progress and Efforts:

Data is important, but context is essential. 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. This includes data for QU and peer institutions to assist in developing metrics and plans of action. The goal is to build out a site and database to help develop benchmarks, track progress and inform all aspects of recruitment, retention and climate. 

6

Affinity Groups

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

Progress and Efforts:

  • We will develop a more comprehensive picture of existing groups and the need to supplement with new affinity groups based on shared identities and interests. Affinity groups will be leveraged to enhance opportunities for professional development, networking and community building. We will engage existing student affinity groups to address areas of concerns. 
  • We will launch The Inclusive Excellence Network as a collection of affinity groups driven by a fundamental question: How can we use our role as faculty, staff, students and mentors to work toward racial justice, social change, civic action and pedagogical engagement?

 

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:

  • We are working with DCGE, HR, Admissions and various departments, schools and programs across the university to address hiring and search practices, opportunities for internal advancement, and strategies for retention. The inaugural Quinnipiac University First-Year Immersion (QU-FYI) program for underrepresented students was launched this summer to help ease the transition from high school to Quinnipiac, and new mentoring strategies have been adopted to target underrepresented groups.
  • We will launch The Path to Full mentoring initiative to enhance opportunities for faculty retention and promotion among underrepresented groups. Faculty diversity data will be assembled from each school. A similar plan for enhancing staff representation at various levels is also being developed. Partnerships are being initiated with the broader regional community to provide pathways from community colleges, job readiness programs and vocational training organizations. 
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 and working with various student leaders and organizations to rethink the Legend of the Bobcat. Collaborative drafts of these documents should be completed by Spring 2021. A number of virtual programs connected to the Indigeneity initiative will be 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. However, additional resources are being sought to expand structural enhancements, programming and staffing to implement the previous commitments of importance. DCGE will partner with the Development Office, the Center for Research and Scholarship and various faculty leaders to pursue new funding streams. 

10

Civic Engagement

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

Progress and Efforts:

A new, nonpartisan QU VOTES! initiative was launched this semester to bring together students, staff, faculty and community members to promote greater awareness, increased exposure and 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. This is an initial step in ongoing efforts to promote civic engagement during and beyond elections.

Key Initiatives

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.

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