Last Updated January 17, 2017:
This is a partial list of institutional and strategic actions, as well as accomplishments in the past two years to promote inclusive excellence at the University of Vermont. These actions and accomplishments represent the commitment of campus leaders and community members, as well as the devotion of significant resources (i.e., space, financial support, time and energy). While some actions were a one-time occurrence, many actions reflect ongoing efforts that have been institutionalized at the University of Vermont. You can find additional up-to-date information on Advancing Diversity and Inclusion at UVM.
President's Commission for Inclusive Excellence
- Launch of the President’s Commission for Inclusive Excellence, which is a commission of students, faculty, and staff who advise the President on matters pertaining to diversity and inclusive excellence at the University of Vermont.
- This commission was highly engaged in several institutional strategic initiatives in the past few years (e.g., finalization of the Framework for Inclusive Excellence, revision of the Why Diversity and Inclusive Excellence is an Academic and Institutional Strategic Priority for the University of Vermont statement, and the identification of strategic diversity priorities for UVM).
- The commission hosted several UVM community forums for inclusive excellence in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years. These forums were open to all members of the UVM community, bringing together students, faculty and staff, as well as units on campus who are actively working to promote and enhance inclusive excellence. The commissions recently co-sponsored women faculty open forum with a number of university partners (the President, Women Caucus and Faculty Senate).
Facilities and Campus Spaces
The ongoing exploration of and planning to expand the availability of non-gender segregated restrooms on campus continues. In spring 2016, the Gender Inclusive Restrooms Taskforce (GIRT) was appointed. In summer 2016 a report with recommendations was submitted by GIRT. Throughout fall 2016, campus leaders and other partners have engaged in a planning process to implement the recommendations outlined by GIRT. Even as implementation planning continues, immediate actions were taken to address the challenges of gender specific restrooms, particularly in high student traffic areas (e.g., Bailey-Howe Library and Athletics), since spring 2016. The Bailey-Howe Library has created non-gender-segregated restrooms on the second and third floors to ensure greater access for more people. The Department of Athletics has expanded access to non-gender-segregated locker room space by increasing from one to three the number of private facilities dedicated to non-gender-segregated access. The next step is to determine goals for the future and to establish a clear plan, timeline, and accountability for meeting our goals.
- The Mosaic Center for Students of Color (formerly the ALANA Student Center) moved to a more central location on campus (in the Living Learning Center). This new location allows much easier access to the center and symbolically represents the centrality of this space to the UVM community. The center also has additional space for enhanced services and programs.
- The campus will formally open its first Interfaith Center in Fall 2016. The grand opening ceremony will take place on November 10, 2016. Located on Redstone campus, the Interfaith Center provides space for prayer, meditation, conversation, and community building.
Community Outreach and Action Events
- On several occasions, President Tom Sullivan hosted groups of students in his home and on campus with his wife Leslie. These students, from the LGBTQA community and communities of color, joined the President and Leslie to share a meal and hear about their experiences as students at UVM.
- Following the increasing racial tensions and conversations across the nation in Fall 2015, President Sullivan met with the President’s Commission for Inclusive Excellence and the Diversity & Equity Unit leaders to discuss campus climate issues (November 2015)
- Solidarity walks led by students and attended by members of the UVM community (including senior campus leaders) occurred in November 2015.
- There have been a number of Black Lives Matter Community Gathering, Reflections and Educational Opportunities held in December 2014 for the UVM community.
- Ongoing signature events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Education and Learning program and Blackboard Jungle Symposium continue.
- The General Education Requirement for Diversity criteria and competencies were revised (approved by the Faculty Senate in May 2015). This requirement is now under general education (approved by the Faculty Senate in November 2015).
- The Maximizing Multicultural Learning in the Classroom: Diversity, Pedagogy, and Curriculum event for faculty was held in November 2015.
- A resource to support faculty in engaging students in conversations related to activism and protests on college campuses was disseminated in December 2015.
- The George Washington Henderson Fellowship Program was expanded with additional funding. This program serves as a pipeline for scholars of color who are early in their academic careers.
- UVM became a 2014, 2015, and 2016 recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
- UVM was named as one of the top 30 LGBTQ-Friendly Schools in the Nation in 2016.
Programs and Trainings
- UVM’s senior leadership participated in ongoing professional development to broaden and deepen their multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills.
- Training was provided for search committees to support affirmative recruitment and hiring.
- A number of student focused retreats, events, and conferences were held to support the engagement of students in contemporary issues and challenges related to diversity and inclusive excellence (e.g., Women of Color Leadership Retreat, Examining White Privilege Retreat, Translating Identity Conference, Dismantling Rape Culture Conference).
- Student programs designed to support the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students continue (e.g., Summer Enrichment Scholarship Program, NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program).
Climate Studies and Programs
- Faculty Pay Equity Study - In summer 2013, at the request of President Thomas Sullivan and under the direction of Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity, and Multicultural Affairs Wanda Heading-Grant, the University of Vermont engaged a statistical consultant to conduct an analysis of faculty salary at UVM, focusing specifically on investigating whether there is statistical evidence of a gap in salary associated with gender or with minority status.
- Staff Pay Equity Study - As part of the University of Vermont’s ongoing effort to support initiatives that assess our progress and foster continuous improvement regarding issues of equity and diversity, President Thomas Sullivan, and under the direction of Wanda Heading-Grant, Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity, and Multicultural Affairs, the University of Vermont engaged a statistical consultant to conduct an analysis of staff salary at UVM. This study focused specifically on whether there is statistical evidence of a gap in salary associated with gender or minority status. The study was complete, and results were shared, in Spring 2016.
- Online Employee Exit Interview Program and Service- Will go live in January 2017. The exit interview process is intended to provide employees voluntarily leaving the University with the opportunity to provide feedback on culture and job satisfaction. The purpose of the exit interview is to gain insight into where there is opportunity to improve and areas that currently promote employee job satisfaction. Information collected during exit interviews will allow the University of Vermont a unique perspective on organizational performance and employee satisfaction.
Recruitment and Retention
- The George Washington Henderson Fellowship Program (GWH) was established in honor of the memory of George Washington Henderson who was the first African American student elected to Phi Beta Kappa and to graduate from the University of Vermont in the class of 1877. In partnership with academic departments, the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs sponsors pre-doctoral and post-doctoral scholars who help advance the university's research and teaching goals regarding diversity, multiculturalism and social justice in honor of UVM's first African American graduate.
- Since academic year FY14, the University has added George Washington Henderson Fellows in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and the College of Arts and Sciences as well as establishing the Andrew Harris Fellowship.