July 13, 2024
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Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, spring 2023

A new year brings a new beginning for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This year, we faced the challenge of several staffing changes while still responding to the myriad of requests from our internal and external partners. Though this experience has presented challenges in meeting these workshop requests, it also provides an opportunity to re-examine and pivot to rethinking ways to build professional strength and capacity.

As we prepare for the upcoming quarter, we are excited about new opportunities to invite additional professionals to the division as we continue to develop our internal relationships with the collegiate and operational diversity officers and strengthen external partnerships with organizations like the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. Recent meetings with deans and operational vice presidents have helped us understand their DEI needs and how our division can continue to support their initiatives and efforts.

We continue in our efforts to build community among our peers by hosting networking events, attending conferences to support professional development, and learning additional pathways to maintain compliance with federal and state statutes.

Nationally, we are witnessing a steady increase in legislation attempting to dismantle DEI in higher education. And yet, our division remains steadfast in our commitment to fostering an inclusive campus community where we support each other’s successes. We will continue to tell “our story” and how we are all the better for having a diverse and inclusive community where everyone belongs.

DEI Administrative Office

At the end of the quarter, DEI has 138 active search committees for positions on the state payroll and 23 active search committees for Research Foundation positions. On the state payroll, 55 searches were opened this quarter while another 54 searches closed. On the Research Foundation payroll, 14 new searches were opened this quarter and another 15 searches closed. A combined 161 active search committees sought to fill positions at Binghamton University by March 13. A total of 57 employees attended six virtual search orientation training sessions in the first quarter.

Updates to the search process include ensuring that search committees are adding the disposition codes for non-selection for all applicants before the search process ends and the search has closed. Disposition codes for non-selection are a requirement in order to run affirmative action reports by our external consultant, Affirmity. The DEI, in conjunction with the Provost’s Office, also sponsored a luncheon for PRODiG faculty and all faculty eligible for the Presidential Diversity Research Grant. The 2023-2024 Call for Proposals for the Presidential Diversity Research Grant went out in February and applications were due in March. Three presentations for the UDiversity Educational Institute were completed for students during this quarter as well.

Communication and Operations

This quarter the associate director of operations coordinated a divisional full-day spring retreat that featured team-building opportunities, 2023-2024 strategic planning sessions and an assessment workshop hosted by Manar Sabry, senior assistant director for strategic analysis for Binghamton University’s Office of Student Affairs Assessment and Solutions for Engagement.

The DEI communications manager (CM) wrote several stories highlighting diversity, including a feature-length story about the Master in Human Rights program for the CCPA magazine, Confluence. Other stories and blogs focused on heritage months — Lunar New Year, Black History Month and Women’s History Month, or covered unique initiatives like the Mountainview Jams and updates on centers including the Harriet Tubman Center for Freedom and Equity. The CM finalized a fou- series campus-wide poster campaign with DEI-related content. In February, the CM presented a communications update with the VP for Diversity to the Binghamton University Council.

Affirmative Action Office

Bias incidents/discrimination complaints/ADA accommodation requests

During this quarter, the Affirmative Action Office (AAO) received nine bias incident reports and no discrimination complaints. Three employee requests for ADA workplace accommodations were filed. The Bias Incident Response Team met in February to review a summary of fall semester 2022 bias incident reports.

Diversity trainings

In partnership with Human Resources, AAO co-facilitated two trainings titled “Respectful and Bias-Free Communication in the Workplace” for first-, second- and third-shift employees in Physical Facilities with an approximate total of 376 participants. In addition, two Bias Response training sessions were held via Zoom with 16 participants. AAO led its first supervisory training on ADA accommodation requests. Two trainings were conducted; one in person for the CCPA Dean’s Council with 12 participants and one held via Zoom with 18 attendees (campus-wide). And finally, AAO was invited to facilitate a student training for two sections of Engineering Design Division (EDD 112) for first-year Watson College students on “Understanding Microaggressions and Ableism” for approximately 330 students in total.

Retention initiatives

To support retention efforts, the AAO led the coordination of the Women’s Friends of DEI Social Mixer on March 10 in the Benet Alumni Lounge. Approximately 50 faculty and staff from across campus attended to enjoy karaoke and refreshments. In addition, AAO partnered with student affairs divisional diversity officers to host the return of the Professional Staff of Color affinity group on Feb. 21, with approximately 20 faculty and staff in attendance.

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