November 17, 2017

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Updates from Senior Leaders on Student Concerns.

1. Diversity training

Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (HRDMA), has met with some of the university shared governance leaders and key stakeholders in regard to diversity training initiatives and is compiling their input and ideas.  The information is now being used to help formulate and propose a strategic implementation plan reaffirming current successful efforts and introducing new ones that will support a rapid expansion of faculty professional development and training in the areas of class, gender, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, and gender identity and expression. This will also include other opportunities for further learning (i.e., conferences and workshops). Although already occurring in most colleges, UVM Deans have reconfirmed their commitment to have targeted diversity conversations on cultural competencies, curricular transformation, and pedagogy throughout this academic year and beyond.

2. Hire faculty of color

Retention program(s) for Faculty of Color

The Office of the Provost collaborated with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) Program, and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources Diversity Multicultural Affairs (HRDMA) in sponsoring a retreat facilitated by a recognized scholar on race and relations. A report on the outcome of the retreat is in preparation.

This initiative adds to existing retention programs aimed at faculty in general (e.g., Faculty Mentoring Program, Faculty Development Program) and faculty of color in particular: (i) activities associated with the Henderson Fellow's Program; (ii) events hosted by the Center for Cultural Pluralism, social gatherings, cultural events, etc).

We remind our students that the percentage of faculty of color on tenure track is proportional to the percentage of students of color on campus.

The Office of the Provost has evaluated our faculty recruitment and onboarding practices, more specifically the effectiveness of the changes implemented since 2015 aimed at increasing the pool of diversity candidates. We have consulted with recognized scholars who research diversity in higher education and we have redoubled our study of the literature on this important topic. This inward and outward analysis has served to reinforce the importance of best practices adopted over the past two years, as well as identify areas for continued improvement and more focused attention. The product of this exercise, (Strategies to Diversify the UVM Faculty), is summarized in Section 4 (Qualified Professors).

3. D1 /D2 Courses

Renovation of D1/D2 courses and qualified professors to teach them

Part of our current effort to improve and expand faculty training in teaching, particularly teaching of D1 and D2 courses, is to design activities tailored to the specific needs and concerns of the instructors. With this in mind, we are  undertaking the following: (i) the Office of the Provost in collaboration with CTL and HRDMA, is conducting a survey of the faculty to identify their preferred topics and training modalities; (ii) in collaboration with the deans, the Office of the Provost has begun collecting faculty input on ·classroom climate issues. Based on initial input from CAS faculty, Jim Vigoreaux, Jenn Papillo and Joe Russell are coordinating efforts to deliver the desired training and guidance.

In addition, the Faculty Senate is partnering with the Office of the Provost and HRDMA to assemble a group to read, discuss, think, write and redress issues related to UVM’s Six Credit Graduation Requirement (D1 and D2). The objectives are to provide knowledge on history, assessment, learning goals, and faculty professional development and to make formal recommendations to advance these efforts and goals.  Planning for this has already begun. 

 4.  Qualified professors

The Office of the Provost and the academic deans have discussed the following strategies to diversify the UVM faculty:

  1. Implement and enforce a Workforce Diversity Recruitment and Retention Plan in each academic unit.

  2. Examine your past faculty recruitment practices and evaluate their effectiveness.

  3. Track the effectiveness of offers and hiring strategies with an on-time assessment of yield data (including opportunity hires, dual career hires). Create annual report of search committee activities and outcomes.

  4. Establish formal relationships with other institutions or organizations to create opportunities to interact with and recruit future faculty from diverse backgrounds (e.g. postdoctoral programs, exchange programs, summer research appointments).

  5. Encourage and actively support faculty networking (e.g. travel funds) at places and events where they will interact with, or learn about diverse candidates.

  6. Develop unit-wide or department-specific structured relationships with industry or private sector partners (including your Board of Advisors) that are leveraged to recruit prospective applicants from diverse backgrounds.

  7. Participate or collaborate with other institutions in a structured graduate or postdoctoral program that aims to increase diversity in the professoriate.

  8. Develop and implement strategic initiatives to recruit recent alumni.

  9. Provide incentives to faculty who direct efforts at securing funding and advancing diversity initiatives.

  10. Formally evaluate and recognize a faculty member's contributions to campus diversity goals and initiatives.

  11. Leverage your efforts with institutional efforts and those of other units. Share best practices.

An examination of the practices of Faculty Search Committees has resulted in the following recommendations:

  1. Make statement on commitment to diversity a requirement of the application process.

  2. Instruct search committees to evaluate the diversity statement early in the review process and to assign it appropriate weight in the evaluation matrix.

  3. Demand accountability by requiring search committees to provide progress reports at faculty and department meetings.

  4. Use the interview process to question candidates about their experience with, and commitment to diversity and their plans to contribute to our diversity goals.

  5. Share literature on diversity in higher education.

  6. Create a transition and mentoring plan as part of the recruitment process.

5.  Hate Crimes labeled as such  

Jes Kraus and Annie Stevens met with the Black Student Union on October 25th and had a good conversation about Freedom of Speech and how a hate crime gets determined. They also discussed the processes for resolving policy violations involving intent of bias.

For more information about Bias, Hate Crimes, and Discrimination, Harassment, etc. go to the following link:

6.  Fraternity and Sorority Life mandatory training  

Fraternity and Sorority Life mandatory training is moving along. A shift in leadership for our Fraternity and Sorority Life is currently taking place, however this should not impact the training that has been planned.

7.  Student to be expelled

The student who was found responsible for taking the Black Lives Matter flag last Fall was appropriately referred to the student conduct process, was found responsible for his actions, and received appropriate sanctions consistent with incidents of the same nature. Sanctions for similar actions typically include probation or suspension, community service, and educational projects as appropriate based on the context of the incident. 

8.  Funding

  1. SGA Funding- SGA is passing legislation that creates more funding for the identity-centered clubs. They are also putting mandatory training in place for senators and executive leaders of organizations.
  2. Related to this item is funding student events and activities that have become larger institutional events- I am working with Bev Colston to determine which events may need support and when I have this will follow up on the best way to support them.

9. Donations to ALANA-based organizations

  1. The Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the President and CEO of the UVM Foundation are working to make University web pages more clearly call attention to giving options and funds related to diversity and inclusion efforts.  Staff from both offices are developing content that will be placed on University web pages dedicated to diversity and multicultural affairs.  The content will inform prospective donors on how to give in support of our efforts, most specifically to give to support students.
  2. The President and CEO of the UVM Foundation and the President of the Student Government Association plan to discuss the campaign and how fundraising works at UVM. They will also discuss SGA and their role in this work, and discuss ways to engage with other students and student leadership. 
  3. The President and CEO of the UVM Foundation and the President of the Student Government Association will discuss the current fundraising campaign and how fundraising works at UVM.  They will also discuss SGA and their role in this work, and discuss ways to engage with other students and student leadership.  They wil identify a SGA Open Forum during which the Foundation President will present on fund raising, the campaign, and student support.

10. Naming Buildings 

As previously stated, George H. Perkins Hall will keep that designation.  Please see the October 18, 2017 Communication from UVM Responding to Student Concerns: Part 2, for details.  At present, UVM leaders continue to work collaboratively to establish criteria and processes for receiving, assessing, and recommending to the Board of Trustees, requests for renaming buildings and facilities.  More information on this matter will be posted as it develops. 





Krista Lynn Malaney