Photo from stonybrook.edu/diversityplan
By Rawson Jahan
Earlier this month, Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. released a draft of the school’s new diversity plan. Alongside the plan, Stanley urged the campus community to share their ideas and offer their feedback.
The draft, which can be found on the university’s website, tackled both student issues and employee issues while also providing background information on both areas.
According to the plan, while the university has increased its enrollment of black and Latino students, the yield rate for these students continues to remain low. In the past, the school has addressed the issue by “targeting schools with the highest percentage of African-American applicants” and “sponsoring high school groups with high minority populations for campus visits,” according to the draft.
The school’s administration says they hope to create even more initiatives to further expand the minority population in the future. Among these initiatives are creating more recruitment activities such as campus overnight visits and alumni events in New York City for admitted students.
One of the larger proposals is the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, which is funded by The Center for Inclusive Education’s $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). This proposal plans to increase the percentage of minority scholars who are pursuing undergraduate and doctoral degrees in the bio medical sciences.
In addition to pursuing the recruitment and retention of minority students, the draft also proposes to address the student issue of gender and sexual identity. One initiative the plan proposes to take is to create and include Americans with Disabilities Act accessible and all-gender restrooms in new and renovated buildings.
For employee issues, the plan also acknowledges lack of minority faculty. In particular, the plan focuses on the low recruitment rates of black and Latino staff. Among its initiatives to solve the problem, one was to increase recruiting efforts by expanding partnerships with Library Job Centers in impoverished communities.
Another employee problem is the available mentoring available for employees. The university hopes to expand its mentoring for new employees by making it a necessity for tenure or job promotion.
Stanley says he wants to implement the plan by first naming a Chief Diversity Officer by June 2016 to put the plan in works. He says he also wants to create a Stony Brook University Steering Committee to supervise the plan.
Stanley says he hopes that with feedback from the university community, the plan can solve the present problems surrounding race, age, religion, ability and sexual orientation. He also says he hopes the plan can help expand diversity on campus.