Professionals, Staff to Attend Diversity Institute

Professionals, Staff to Attend Diversity Institute


Campus professionals for the first time will be offered a seat at the table of the College’s annual summer institute on educating educators about inclusiveness on campus from Monday, May 23, through Wednesday, May 25.

About half of the 10 who registered for this year's three-day Summer Institute for Infusing Diversity and Multiculturalism into the Curriculum and Professional Service are professionals, organizers said.

Registration closed on May 11.

Participants will meet in Old Main, Room G-12 to discuss and explore ways to reach the goal of becoming an “inclusive excellence educator.” The areas of diversity and multiculturalism to be discussed may include race, ethnicity and racism; gender, sex and sexism; class and classism; homosexuality and homophobia; people with disabilities and able-ism; looks and look-ism; age and ageism; and religion and religio-ethnocentrism.

The institute will offer SUNY Cortland faculty and professional staff the chance to become comfortable with diversity and help them work toward the common institutional goal of having a campus of very different people living in harmony with one another, Nagel said.

On college campuses, all employees are educators, including professional staff, according to institute co-facilitators Mecke Nagel, a SUNY Cortland philosophy professor who chairs the College's Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS).

“We all need to learn more about the respect for language and cultures,” Nagel said. “We gain that through a three-day, intensive discussion with each other, which culminates in a presentation by participants.

“This also is another way of bringing faculty and professional staff together to hear about campus issues as they affect all of us in different ways.”

Seth, left, facilitates a discussion
Seth Asumah, who will co-facilitate the upcoming Summer Institute for Infusing Diversity and Multiculturalism into the Curriculum and Professional Service, is shown discussing diversity in the 2009 Diversity Leadership Train the Trainer Institute workshop on the campus.

Nagel's co-facilitator, Seth Asumah, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of political science who chairs the SUNY Cortland Africana Studies Department, outlined the institute’s approach:

“We will utilize the knowledge base and conceptual framework of the diversity wheel, learning wheel, cultural competence, difficult dialogue, white racial framework, Islamophobia framework, and social justice theories,” he said. “The aim is to prepare culturally competent transformative teachers and professionals at SUNY Cortland.”

Nagel and Asumah have trained more than 100 faculty members on the campus since they began offering the institutes in 2004. In 2009, Nagel and Asumah also began co-directing a three-year project to develop leadership in diversity on three SUNY campuses: Cortland, New Paltz and Oneonta. The Diversity Leadership Train the Trainer Institute (DLTI) project is supported by grants totaling a little more than $40,000 from both the New York State/United University Professions (UUP) Joint Labor-Management Campus Grants Committee and the SUNY Office of Diversity and Educational Equity (ODEE).

In addition to Nagel and Asumah, the presenters will include:

• Janet Duncan, an associate professor of foundations and social advocacy at SUNY Cortland and director of its Institute for Disability Studies.

• Kate Coffey and Aimee Greeley, SUNY Cortland Health Department faculty members who co-chair the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual and Queer or Questioning (LGBRQ) Faculty Committee.

The presentation by Greeley and Coffey will run the gamut — from basic information about the LGBTQ community to suggestions on how to create equity for members of that community.

The Summer Institute is co-sponsored by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, CGIS, the Africana Studies Department and the Political Science and Philosophy departments.

For more information, contact either of the two co-facilitators. Seth N. Asumah can be reached at (607) 753-2064. Mecke Nagel is available at (607) 753-2013.