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Multicultural Council Aligns with Campus Priorities

 Multicultural Council Aligns with Campus Priorities

12/02/2010 

As it moves forward with initiatives to improve the campus climate of diversity, the Multicultural Council now seeks volunteers to serve on committees.

“The Multicultural Council has been active in reviewing its mission, goals and structure over the last year to align with the College’s new Strategic Plan,” said Council Co-chair Mark Prus, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The council, like the Middle States Self Study Committee, has adopted four major focus areas that are aligned with the College’s Strategic Plan, which in turn models itself after “The Power of SUNY: Strategic Plan 2010 and Beyond.” The SUNY plan embraces diversity as a core value and emphasizes it under every major area of opportunity and challenge.

“I expect that the Multicultural Council will continue to serve to coordinate the College’s efforts to promote and pursue inclusive excellence spanning the entire campus,” Prus continued.

The council features broad membership that includes representation from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Finance and Management, Institutional Advancement, the President’s Office, other offices on an ad hoc basis, the student body and community members.

“The broad membership and committee structure was very intentional,” said Council Co-chair Gregory Sharer, vice president for student affairs. “It mirrors the College’s strategic priorities so that diversity is incorporated into all of our efforts, not seen as a peripheral concern. The council supports the College by infusing diversity and multiculturalism into all aspects of the College.”

multicultural campus
Two SUNY Cortland students unwind with their skateboards on a sunny fall afternoon.

The council has begun recruiting committee membership from across the entire campus and local Cortland community to address a number of specific areas:               

Academic Excellence                                                                                               

This committee considers issues involving curriculum, faculty and staff development, student recruitment and retention, and student achievement, scholarships, awards and recognition.                                                                                                                            

Transformational Education

This committee focuses on community service and residential living both on- and off-campus, clubs and organizations, athletics, study abroad and civic engagement, service learning and volunteerism.                                                                                          

Well-being

Under the umbrella of this committee, topics to be addressed include student support services, community relations, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, and activities, programming and events.                                                                         

Maximize Resources

Areas of consideration for this committee include institutional funding and support, grant writing, and committees.

The council recently completed its organizational tasks, having seen its mission statement, vision statement and goals endorsed by the President’s Cabinet last spring, and on Nov. 2 approved its final committee structure, composition and numerical membership.

The council adopted the mission statement as follows: “The Multicultural Council promotes and sustains inclusive excellence by creating an environment where all are valued, and encouraged to develop their full potential and contribute to the success of the campus and community.”

The council's vision statement is “to be recognized for educational leadership, service and citizenship by infusing justice, equity, diversity and respect throughout the campus.”

Its goals, modeled after the American Association of Colleges and Universities, are as follows:                  

• To promote inclusiveness through academic excellence across the campus community.

• To improve the multicultural climate at SUNY Cortland and the Cortland community.

• To coordinate and collaborate on policies for diversity-related activities across campus.

• To ensure all forms of professional development are consistent with the mission of the council.

• To review, support and advocate for access to grievance structures related to the unfair and/or biased treatment based on, but not     limited to, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

The Kente ceremony
At SUNY Cortland Commencement, wearing the Kente cloth is based on an African tradtion but honors the academic endeavors of all cultures.

• To provide leadership for an ongoing dialogue which values and acknowledges that learners have multiple identities where race and ethnicity intersect with gender, class, sexual orientation, national/regional origin, ability and religion.

The council was conceived in 2006 by Elizabeth Davis-Russell, the previous provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Raymond Franco, the previous vice president for student affairs. They elicited a consensus that the College’s efforts toward diversity were diluted and ineffective as carried out by existing entities. Prus and Sharer later re-convened the council to further refine its goals and mission statement, council makeup and committee structure.

Members of the campus community are invited to join a Multicultural Council committee of their choosing. They can do so by contacting Academic Affairs at (607) 753-2207 or Student Affairs at (607) 753-2336.