University of Vermont

Former President Daniel Mark Fogel

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at UVM

A Memorandum from the Office of the President

Date: February 16, 2005

To: UVM Community

From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President
A. John Bramley, Senior Vice President and Provost

Re: Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at UVM


We are writing to share with the University community our responses to important recommendations submitted to us by the President’s Commissions on Racial Diversity (PCRD), on the Status of Women (PCSW), and on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender Equity (PCLGBTE). We hold, with these Commissions and with the Board of Trustees, that diversity and inclusion are inseparable from academic excellence.

We recognize that diversity has many dimensions and that they are only partially detailed in the “Why Diversity” statement and resolution unanimously endorsed in November by the Trustees as including, “among other differences, those of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economic status, cultural and/or geographic background, religious belief, age, and disability.” Accordingly, in partial response to a recommendation from the Commission on LGBT Equity, we have determined that the prohibition of sex discrimination in the University’s policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action will be interpreted to include gender identity and expression, and will be administered accordingly.

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women has completed a detailed, qualitative study of the campus climate for women and has made some specific recommendations arising from that study. In response to the recommendations, we are pleased to report that:

  • In the year and a half since the PCSW study got under way, we have taken a number of measures that continue to promote safety for all members of the community, including a significant expansion of our blue light locations (which will be further expanded as new campus building projects are completed), increased campus transit service with special attention to night and winter service, and continuing regular safety walks of the campus;

  • The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, in collaboration with the PCLGBTE, is revising UVM protocols on bias incidents, and is developing educational programs that clarify the definition and effects of such incidents.

In addition, the Commission on the Status of Women has identified broad campus climate issues that we believe will become more amenable to mitigation through the extensive University Campus Climate Survey that has been initiated by the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI) and that will be administered and analyzed this semester. Once that work is done, we will consult with all of the presidential commissions on any salient areas of concern and on steps to take to ameliorate them. (The PCDI is charged with addressing concerns and activities that span—and that go beyond—the specific areas of focus of each of the other presidential commissions).

About a year and a half ago (September 2003), we announced enthusiastic endorsement of five initiatives that came out of the deliberations of the PCRD: 1) the building of increasingly diverse pools of applicants for admission to the University’s degree programs; 2) the building of increasingly diverse pools of applicants for faculty and staff positions; 3) commitment to ensuring the retention of ALANA (African-American, Latino/a, Asian-American, and Native American) students, faculty, and staff at rates commensurate with those for non-ALANA students, faculty, and staff; 4) commitment to improving the campus climate for persons of color, including the climate survey referred to above; and 5) commitment to curricular initiatives that would ensure broad multicultural understanding and competencies for all of our baccalaureate students.

This academic year has seen significant progress in these undertakings. Enrollment of ALANA students is at an all-time high overall, and this fall the first-year undergraduate class was 7.7% students of color. The overall percentage of ALANA students rose to 6.7%, up from 4.75% in the fall of 2000 (representing a numerical increase from 481 to 728). As of last week, moreover, we had 1001 applications for first-year undergraduate admission from ALANA applicants, far more than ever before. At the same time, the faculty and staff of UVM are more diverse than ever, with ALANA faculty (both tenure-track and non-tenure-track) and staff at all-time highs: for example, tenure-track ALANA faculty this fall numbered 75, up from 52 in 1999, a 44% increase, with the increase of African-American tenure-track faculty over the same period at 100%, up from 8 to 16, while total ALANA faculty and staff went from 231 to 294, up 27%.

This fall, the Provost and the Faculty Senate implemented a process for development and Senate review of curricular innovations proposed by the Commission on Racial Diversity. Similarly, we have referred curricular proposals originating in the President’s Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity to the appropriate academic program and faculty review processes.

While we deeply appreciate the progress to date and the initiatives already under way, we recognize that a great deal remains to be done, and we have made a number of decisions and commitments in response to specific recommendations by the President’s Commission on Racial Diversity. We have decided to:

  • Increase funding for our Summer Enrichment Scholars Program (SESP). Since summer of 2003, the annual spending for the program has increased by $104,500, including $79,500 in base budget (of which $49,500 is an increase for fiscal year 2006), and, outside the base budget, $25,000 annually from private funds at the President’s discretion to enhance the stipends for program participants. The SESP is a bridge program to prepare a diverse group of selected students (such as ALANA, first-generation, and low-income students) for the challenges of University life in advance of their first fall semester. Increased funding allows expansion of the number of program participants from 25 to 40 and also provides increased staff support;

  • Provide an additional $7,500 for the ALANA peer mentoring program;

  • Charge the Vice Presidents for Student and Campus Life, for Undergraduate Education, and for Research and Graduate Education with applying available resources to expansion of the University’s important TRIO programs (Project Stay, Upward Bound, and the Ronald McNair Program, all designed to help low-income students enter college and to succeed once enrolled, including going on to graduate study);

  • Create periodic reports on retention of faculty and staff, including updates of the first reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) study completed for the period from 1980 to 1997, and disseminate those reports at intervals of no less than three years to administrative and academic leadership and to faculty and staff governance bodies, beginning with a just-completed RPT study that was distributed last month;

  • Commit to regular conduct and review of faculty exit surveys (the first round of which were conducted last spring) and to implementation of a program for surveying staff who are leaving the University (we are asking the Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services to have Human Resource Management develop an effective instrument for staff exit surveys) and take action with respect to any systemic issues affecting faculty and staff retention that emerge from these processes;

  • Explore establishment of a coalition of Vermont institutions and other large employers to support recruitment and retention efforts through coordinated approaches to the accommodation of dual-career couples—and to continue to facilitate on a case-by-case basis such accommodations within the University;

  • Implement a new National Science Foundation (NSF) program to support minority graduate student recruitment under a pending NSF award to all New England Land-Grants (an award pursuant to a proposal spear-headed by UVM through the efforts of the Provost and the Graduate College);

  • Hold vice presidents and deans accountable for supporting in their unit strategic plans and in their recruitment activities the University’s commitment to the creation of diverse candidate pools for open faculty and staff positions, with special attention to the opportunities for diversifying the faculty represented by the inclusion of 130 new faculty positions in the Strategic Financial Plan—and charge deans with holding department chairs and faculties accountable in like manner;

  • Bring faculty with multicultural competencies to the campus through non-traditional appointments, including the proposed Professors-at-Large Program, the Visiting Scholar Program within the Strategic Curriculum and Faculty Diversity Fund, and similar mechanisms.

  • Ensure that the new Guidelines for Recruiting Candidates for all Tenured and Tenure-Track Positions are implemented in ways that actively and effectively support the efforts of departments to build national networks and relationships that enhance the diversity of candidate pools.

  • Charge the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Vice Provost for Multicultural Affairs with actively encouraging the aggressive pursuit of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship programs with an eye to increasing the diversity of candidate pools for faculty positions;

  • Support changes in campus climate and in curricular innovation that enrich the multicultural fabric of the University;

  • Continue to communicate throughout the campus community institutional progress in pursuit of UVM’s strategic goal of creating a diverse community, including wide dissemination of accounts of success at the departmental level in creating diverse candidate pools for faculty and staff positions.

For the past year, the PCRD has been chaired by Professor Robert Lawson. We are very grateful to Professor Lawson and to all of his colleagues on the Commission for their ongoing work in pursuit of academic excellence and diversity at the University of Vermont. We are similarly grateful for the work of PCSW co-chairs Bridget Turner Kelly and Margaret Tamulonis and all of their colleagues, for the work of the members of the PCLGBTE, including its chair, David Nestor, and its acting chair Annie Stevens, and for the leadership of Kathryn Friedman and her colleagues on the PCDI in creating the campus climate survey, which we urge all members of the community to complete when it is administered later this semester. (For the complete membership of each of these presidential commis-sions, please see the left-hand sidebar links at http://www.uvm.edu/president/?Page=commissions/presidentialcommissions.html&SM=submenu5.html).

With respect to the initiatives, measures, and positions outlined in this memo, we welcome responses and suggestions from the entire campus community.

Last modified May 14 2006 03:40 PM

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