Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
With the start of a new academic year just a month away, the campus community continues to work to enhance programs, strengthen staffing, add resources and consider new opportunities for ensuring a welcoming, inclusive and diverse campus environment.
Today, I will update you on several important efforts.
Disability External Review Committee
• As previously announced, a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued to consultants and firms that were identified through an extensive process. During the month of July, interested parties are submitting questions about the process; answers to the questions will be provided to all parties that were sent the RFQ.
• Responses to the RFQ are due in August, and the committee will review and select finalists who will be asked to submit proposals to be considered for the external review.
Student Conduct Process for Theta Tau
• The student conduct process for the Theta Tau students has concluded. The University Appeals Board issued written decisions to the students this week.
• The University cannot comment on the specific outcomes due to federal privacy law.
Greek Life Review
• A third reviewer, Veronica Moore, has been confirmed and engaged to work with lead reviewers Dave Westol and Karyn Nishimura Sneath. Moore is director of emerging and culturally based fraternal initiatives for the North-American Interfraternity Conference, where she is responsible for developing educational programs and advocacy initiatives for emerging and culturally based NIC fraternities.
• Working with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, a survey is being designed to capture students’ perceptions of Greek Life. This survey will be sent to full-time undergraduate students in late August.
• A meeting was held with the reviewers and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs on July 10 in preparation for the reviewers’ site visit on September 16.
• More than 400 students, deans, faculty and staff have applied to serve as peer, lead and training facilitators for the shared reading and discussion experience. Peer and lead facilitators will co-lead a five-week discussion series with small groups of new students focused on topics including identity, inclusion, belonging, health and wellness.
• Newly appointed Provost Faculty Fellow Kira Kristal Reed, Assistant Provost Amanda Nicholson and College of Arts and Sciences Senior Associate Dean Gerry Greenberg are guiding efforts to develop a new approach to the first-year student experience. Reed and Nicholson currently co-chair the First-Year Experience Initiative Steering Committee and are also helping to implement a professional development program to assist faculty in fostering a more culturally inclusive classroom.
• Fei Shen and Mansi Brat have been hired as new staff therapists at the Counseling Center. Shen, who is fluent in Mandarin, earned a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Texas Tech University and a master’s from the University of Oregon, where she also worked with the Couples and Family Therapy Program. Brat earned a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Toledo, where she also served as a diversity training assistant and a psychotherapist. These two hires complete the hiring of four additional staff therapists announced as part of the Invest Syracuse initiative.
• Following a national search, Jerrel A. Burgo G’18 has been named assistant director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). Burgo previously served as the coordinator of mentoring programs in OMA. In this role, Burgo will oversee diversity and inclusion education programming in OMA, work closely with student groups, and collaborate with the assistant director of the Native Student Program to develop and implement programs for Native students. This role was redesigned to enhance support for the Native Student Program in alignment with the recommendation of the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion.
• With Jerrel Burgo’s move to assistant director, Julissa Pabon has been hired as the new coordinator of mentoring programs. In this role, she will oversee the fullCIRCLE and Dimensions mentoring programs and manage the planning and programming for the annual Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. Pabon recently completed a master’s in counseling from Central Connecticut State University and served as a graduate assistant in Eastern Connecticut State University’s Intercultural Center during her graduate studies. She joins the University on August 1.
• More than 40 staff and graduate assistants, representing 14 schools, colleges and units, participated in the Be Orange train-the-trainer workshop. The Be Orange training educates students on pro-social bystander intervention addressing sexual violence. Trainers are now certified to train others across campus, increasing the number of opportunities for students to participate in the Be Orange training.
• Simona Rosu has been hired to serve in the role of associate director for STEM careers in the Graduate School. She will support professional and career development opportunities for STEM doctoral students as well as our postdoctoral scholars. She brings both an extensive science background and an ability to connect with students and postdoctoral scholars. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health prior to joining the Graduate School. Read the full announcement here.
College of Engineering and Computer Science
• The College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) Dean’s Leadership Team has participated in diversity training. The college has seated faculty and staff members on a Diversity Council. Student members will join the council at the beginning of the fall semester. The dean, three ECS administrators and a community partner from InterFaith Works are in week three of the National Inclusive Excellence Academy led by Damon Williams. The academy is helping to inform the structuring of the college’s new Office of Inclusive Excellence, scheduled to open this fall.
Our next update will be Thursday, August 16.
M. Dolan Evanovich
Senior Vice President, Enrollment and the Student Experience