Embracing Diversity and Inclusion
October 26, 2016
To the University of the Pacific Community:
University of the Pacific is actively embracing diversity and inclusion, as I shared in my recent State of the University addresses. At last week's Board of Regents meeting, the Board affirmed our commitment to promoting and maintaining a rich and welcoming learning and working environment. This is a moral imperative, and also an educational one. We must be a diverse and inclusive learning environment to provide the most meaningful education and the greatest success to our students. A diverse classroom and residential experience fosters opportunities to learn more deeply and broadly, become a better citizen and expand one's worldview. Moreover, as a California university, Pacific should reflect the diversity of our state. We will work this year and in the coming years to achieve this vision. Recent actions we've taken to enhance our university climate include:
- The development of a new University Diversity Implementation Plan (PacificNet log-in required), created by the Diversity Leadership Team in partnership with stakeholders across Pacific. The plan includes short-, medium- and long-term actions to advance diversity and inclusion. It builds on the recommendations from the 2012 Report of the Strategic Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. Several recommendations have been integrated into the University' s 2016-17 Priorities and Initiatives (details below). I thank everyone who participated in the plan's development.
- The appointment of Shani Richards, Assistant Director of Assessment, Training and Technology, to the Diversity Leadership Team (DLT). I formed the DLT in 2015 to identify and monitor efforts to enhance the diversity and inclusion experienced by our students, faculty and staff. Shani will represent the staff perspective on the committee, replacing Sondra Roeuny, who recently left the university. Shani is an excellent choice to join this important group. A leader within her unit, she is dedicated to staff learning and engagement. She also has deep roots and a strong commitment to the local community. I am excited to see the positive contributions Shani will make as a member of the DLT, in partnership with our two other dedicated members: Assistant Provost for Diversity Chris Goff, representing faculty, and Senior Associate Vice President for Student Life Steve Jacobson, representing students.
- The appointment of Tracy Simmons and Stan Constantino as diversity leads on the Sacramento and San Francisco campuses, respectively. Recognizing that our Sacramento and San Francisco campuses need local leaders to champion diversity and inclusion, I have asked Tracy Simmons, Assistant Dean for Admissions, Diversity Initiatives and Financial Aid at the McGeorge School of Law, and Stan Constantino, Director of Admissions at the Dugoni School of Dentistry, to serve in this key role. Tracy and Stan will work in close partnership with the DLT.
- The creation of a standing University Diversity Committee. The DLT has been partnering with faculty, staff and student leadership across the university this fall to form an advisory body that will guide diversity-related work in the critical areas of recruitment and retention for students and faculty/staff; curriculum and co-curriculum; alumni and community outreach; and university climate. The DLT will share progress on this effort during open forums in November, to which all are welcome. Forums will take place in San Francisco on Nov. 4, noon-2pm, Room 437. In Sacramento: Nov. 9, 4-5:30pm, Classroom H. In Stockton: Nov. 15, 2-4pm, Grace Covell Hall.
- The identification of several Diversity Implementation Plan recommendations to be addressed in 2016-17:
This year, as part of the university priority to Enhance Enrollments and Improve Student Success:
- We will invigorate undergraduate enrollments by hiring four additional recruiters within Enrollment Management.
- We will expand pipeline and transfer opportunities by partnering with additional agencies, community college institutions and area high schools in order to increase and diversify underrepresented, international and socioeconomic characteristics of our entering class.
- We will establish and implement an action plan for underrepresented minority (URM) recruitment for undergraduate students, in alignment with the Strategic Enrollment Plan completed and approved by the Board of Regents last year.
- We are also working to better understand and respond to the needs of identity-based groups including African American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latino, LGBTQ and veteran students. An example of progress toward this goal: we have made great strides in the search for Pacific's new Assistant Director for African American/Black Student Support and Success. We look forward to making an announcement of a hire soon.
- We are creating a global learning environment by partnering with Shorelight to assist in recruiting international students and to create the Pacific English Language Institute, which will support the language skills, acculturation and success of all international students at Pacific.
As part of our priority to Support Faculty and Staff Development and Engagement:
- We are updating our hiring processes, including anti-bias training, for faculty and staff to support recruitment of diverse employees. We've already made progress. The Faculty Hiring Guide and Staff Hiring Guide manuals have been updated. Anti-bias training for faculty searches is being conducted and we will soon incorporate training for staff searches.
- We will deliver recruiting, selection and hiring systems to support all search committees and hiring managers in their efforts to increase employee diversity.
- Building on the intergenerational training we began last year, we will deliver anti-bias and intercultural awareness training to faculty and staff across the university.
- We will build on the progress we have made. Important diversity work that we have recently accomplished includes creating a single non-discrimination statement; creating a university-wide Title IX policy to address gender discrimination; hiring a full-time Title IX Coordinator, Andrea Goldblum; and charging a university task force to examine our compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I want to highlight the Position Statement on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence recently formulated by the Diversity Leadership Team, in collaboration with the entire university community:
The University of the Pacific community believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the fulfillment of all aspects of our institutional mission. This includes providing a superior student-centered learning experience, and preparing individuals for responsible leadership in their careers and communities. A superior student-centered learning experience requires diversity and inclusiveness in our curricular and co-curricular programming, university climate, recruitment, admissions, hiring and retention. Pacific acknowledges, accepts and respects the uniqueness of each individual and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, sex/gender, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, medical condition, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression or mental or physical disability, nor on the basis of cultural, political, intellectual, religious or other affiliations.
Responsible leadership demands that all members of the Pacific community become competent and ethical citizens in an increasingly intercultural society. In practice, Pacific, and each member of its community, will aspire to move beyond simple tolerance by: affirming each person's right to freedom of expression; providing a safe and nurturing environment to explore differences; and embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity in all people.
The beauty of an educational environment is that is allows us innumerable opportunities to learn more about our commonalities, and to respect and celebrate our diverse perspectives. Those perspectives then enrich what and how our students learn, and enhance the working environment across our three campuses.
Together, we will ensure that Pacific is a welcoming and supportive place for all. Thank you for your partnership.