Updates on Efforts
Here are some of the actions the university has taken in response to events of hate and racism in May, as well as updates on efforts that were already underway.
- Deans met with their various stakeholders (e.g., advisory boards, leadership teams, faculty, staff) to inform the members about incidents on campus and discuss implications.
- The colleges, library and UNH Cooperative Extension have held workshops, forums, working groups and speaking engagements related to inclusion and diversity in an effort to train, educate, brainstorm and inform their faculty and staff.
- The deans explicitly articulated diversity and inclusion as a primary theme in their strategic planning process for the next five years and began compiling ideas and action items.
- Eight faculty are working as an independent group, in synergy with the President’s Task Force on Campus Climate, as a liaison/advocate to students and faculty and a bridge to senior administrative leadership.
- The College of Health and Human Services leadership team held a retreat focusing in part on racial bias and inclusion, and the college is planning a CHHS Learning Exchange on Race and Ethnicity five-part series of faculty/staff dialogues with NH Listens.
- The College of Liberal Arts hired three new faculty members in Africana Feminisms.
- English 401, which virtually every first-year student takes, is being enhanced to integrate inclusion and diversity.
- The Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics included a specific statement on fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion in the college’s revised mission statement that was approved June 28, 2017: We are an inclusive community that respects and harnesses the power of diverse perspectives, identities and experiences to enhance learning.
- UNH is working with other colleges and universities in northern New England to submit an NSF Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation grant proposal to advance underrepresented minorities in the STEM disciplines.
- Julie Williams, senior vice provost for engagement and academic outreach, is co-lead on a grant proposal with Howard and Morgan State universities toward increasing the number of African American doctoral students.
Athletics held a number of meetings and a mandatory departmental forum in which “real life” anonymous scenarios were reviewed and discussed along with open dialogue about the environment in athletics and the greater community.
The department determined actionable items and initiatives, including:
- Create a standing committee for mutual respect and inclusiveness.
- Have every full-time athletics employee participate in the Social Justice Educators workshop by the end of fall semester 2017.
- Create monthly brown bag lunch forums open to student-athletes, coaches and staff on topics regarding race relations, Title IX, LGBTQ concerns and others.
- Revamp life skills offerings considering current issues and social relevance.
- Broaden bystander training to include issues beyond sexual assault.
- Bring in more experts.
- Use Wildcat Way social media to open communications to all student-athletes.
- Provide coaches and staff with training to help improve their understanding of issues facing diverse populations.
- Sign up for social justice training.
- Save the date (Nov. 1) to attend the screening of “Defamation."
Or share your own ideas about building a better UNH.
New hire orientation includes online harassment prevention training that all new hires must complete and includes at least one speaker who invites dialogue about diversity in the context of community responsibility.
During Wildcat Days in August, incoming students saw the student social justice theatre troupe — WildActs — perform “The Wild Year Ahead,” addressing topics related to college life, such as bias, race, alcohol/drug abuse, sexual harassment and rape.
Work continues across the university this summer to build a stronger community and to encourage constructive dialogue around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Recent actions:
- The deans from all schools and colleges, Cooperative Extension and the library are working with their faculty to develop concrete recommendations for articulating their unit’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- The Paul College of Business and Economics and the College of Health and Human Services are convening faculty and staff working groups around the issues of equity, diversity and identity.
- Deans and members of the provost’s staff have formed a discussion group on diversity, equity and inclusion that is meeting four times over the summer. Shared readings frame each session.
- Four luncheon discussions open to everyone in the university community will feature a speaker, presentation or panel. Luncheons will take place in the Strafford Room of the MUB from noon – 1 p.m.
- Sept. 20 – President’s Commission on the Status of LGBTQ+ People
- Nov. 15 – President’s Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities
- Feb. 7 – President’s Commission on the Status of Women
- April 4 – President’s Commission on the Status of People of Color
- The Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate will set up a series of campus-wide listening sessions this fall, which will inform recommendations shared with the UNH community in January 2018.
- Networking/meet-and-greet sessions for faculty and staff from underrepresented communities will be held Oct. 6.
- A social justice educators training session will be held Aug. 16. Additional sessions will be added to accommodate a waitlist.
- Breaking Bread sessions will be held Sept. 5, Sept. 12 and Nov. 5. This program will support student groups holding community dinners in residence halls. As students create a menu, shop, cook and clean up, these meals will encourage them to collaborate, problem-solve, negotiate and get to know one another. The groups will also create a project or program they will work on that benefits the larger UNH community.
- An active bystander training session for students will be held Sept. 20, 3 – 5:30 p.m.
- An active bystander training session for staff will be held Oct. 18, 3 – 6 p.m.
- Community forums on reports of bias submitted to ReportIt! will be held once each semester.
- Preparation for a campus climate study will continue through the fall.
- Navigating Difficult Dialogue and Controversy in the Classroom, a PowerPlay Lab, will be offered in February 2018 for faculty and staff. Trained actor-improvisers present scenarios based on UNH student experiences. Workshop participants will be encouraged to interact with the characters and explore strategies for positive outcomes.
- Workplace bias awareness training will be held for faculty and staff March 1, 2018.
Training and education
Several actions have been taken in the area of training and education.
UNH Police met with students and have committed to 12 hours per year of additional cultural/diversity training for their officers. The department is collaborating with the diversity trainer for the New Hampshire Police Academy.
A comprehensive training calendar for the 2017-18 academic year is in development and will be completed by the start of classes. We are conducting an audit of all trainings that are offered on an ongoing basis across all three of our campuses. We will create a catalog that includes additional trainings being added this year, such as bystander intervention and others.
- Social Justice Educators Training will take place June 26 (full) and Aug. 16.
- Active Bystander Training will take place Sept. 20, 3 – 5 p.m., and Oct. 18. It will be offered again in the spring of 2018.
- UNH’s PowerPlay Bias Awareness and Intervention Training for faculty and staff will take place Sept. 7. This workshop helps participants identify incidents of bias and develop the ability to address such issues in a positive and constructive way. Interaction involves witnessing brief moments of bias and experimenting with different tactics from the perspective of the bystander by suggesting intervention tactics to actors who then replay the scene. Dr. Stephanie Goodwin supplements this program with an interactive presentation. Dr. Goodwin is a renowned expert on bias intervention and awareness training and best practices.
On June 2, there was a planning meeting across all three campuses to develop a year-long thematic initiative on inclusivity and civility that will include shared trainings, events such as the play “Defamation” and regular meetings with representatives from each campus.
On June 9, President Huddleston announced the formation of a presidential task force on race, inclusion and civility. The task force will deliver an interim progress report by Aug. 31, 2017.
At June Orientation, parent sessions included explicit mention of the university’s need to engage more fully in educating students about addressing issues related to identity and the multiplicity of sources from which students draw their personal identities. That messaging also included a rationale for why that need is so pressing. Parents were encouraged to engage their sons and daughters in active conversations about respect, civility, diplomacy and decency when addressing these issues. During Wildcat Days in late August, we will address the matter with all entering students in the Whittemore Center during their second day on campus. Doing so will insure a unity of message.
For the past several years, all newly enrolled students have received an online module on sexual violence prevention (Title IX), bias, meaning of community at UNH and more, to be completed in early August.
The play “Defamation” is coming to UNH Nov 1. Trailer
Other efforts and updates
We are reviewing current student policy with regards to social media. In addition, preliminary work for a campus climate study/survey is underway, with focus groups planned for fall across our campuses. The survey will take place in 2018. Focus group results will also be provided to the presidential task force.
The incidents reported to the police in May remain open, and investigators continue to encourage community members to come forward with any information that would advance their work.
Numerous departments across campus have been meeting to explore ways they can strengthen diversity, inclusion and civility. From IT to Paul College to athletics and Cooperative Extension, departments and units have been deeply engaged in finding ways they can support a stronger UNH community.
The athletic director convened a mandatory forum in which “real life” scenarios were reviewed and discussed. Participants had an open and honest dialogue about the campus environment, both in athletics and across the university. The department has since created a standing committee for mutual respect and inclusiveness. This committee, comprised of head coaches, assistant coaches, administrators and staff, will actively engage students and staff, create awareness, promote dialogue and drive our campaign to build a 100 percent inclusive athletics environment. In addition, athletics will have every full-time employee participate in the social justice educators program by the end of the 2017 fall semester. Athletics will also launch Brown Bag Lunch Forums to be held once per month in the Victory Club to encourage and facilitate open discussion on all topics regarding race relations, Title IX issues, LGBT&Q concerns/issues and more. The forums will be open to all student-athletes, coaches and staff.