As a sponsor of the upcoming VISIONS workshops, The CEC wants to share President John Simon's recent invitation and encourage interested Lehigh community members to sign up.
Dear members of the campus community,
We are pleased to announce that Deborah J. Walker, senior consultant at VISIONS, Inc., is returning to campus in January to conduct additional workshops. The "Introducing VISIONS' Multicultural Process of Change" sessions are once again being sponsored by the Council for Equity and Community (CEC). Dr. Walker will be conducting 4-hour sessions designed to introduce Lehigh staff and faculty to the framework and common language being used by the CEC and senior leadership to enhance the university's internal capacity to create an equitable campus community. If you have already participated in an introductory workshop but would like a "deeper dive," there will also be a full-day follow-up session offered.
To date, nearly 250 faculty, staff, and students have benefited from VISIONS workshops. If you have not yet had the opportunity to take part in one, the next set is scheduled for January 19, 20, and 21 (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). To sign up, send an email to the CEC at email@example.com.
We encourage supervisors to make work time available to those who wish to engage in this training. Those staff who need their supervisor's approval for this kind of activity during work hours should seek that prior to signing up for one of these sessions.
For additional information about VISIONS, feel free to ask any member of the CEC. They would be happy to answer your questions. Thank you for your support as we continue to work together to create a respectful campus environment, where diversity in all its forms is recognized, understood, and celebrated.
Sincerely, John Simon, President Pat Farrell, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Yom Kippur is the holiday in Judaism where we are asked to reflect on the past year, recognize when we have done something wrong, and ask forgiveness for it. It is often called the “Day of Atonement.”
The Jewish understanding of atonement includes not only apologizing for your misguided actions, but having a plan in place so that you will not repeat them. This year on Yom Kippur, I reflected on how the events leading up to and during the emergent Black Lives Matter movement affected me this past year, and how I did and didn’t act.
The official launch of the Lehigh Survey by President Simon on October 12 was an historic moment for Lehigh, and an especially proud moment for the two of us. As two of the developers of the survey (along with Professors Gordon Moskowitz and Dominic Packer from the Psychology Department and Jennifer Jensen, Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs), we were happy to see our hard work coming to fruition. And as members of the CEC and the broader campus community, we see the survey as an important step toward the goal of a more diverse and inclusive campus environment.
The Lehigh Survey is one-of-a-kind – developed by members of the Lehigh community to capture the unique aspects of climate and culture that make Lehigh what it is. The survey is ambitious in its scope – with a much broader focus than was specified in the university’s agreement with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). At the outset, we thought we might face resistance in trying to “go big” with the survey rather than simply meeting the narrow requirements of the OCR agreement. However, we felt supported and encouraged at all levels in broadening the scope of the survey. In fact, the biggest limiting factor was keeping the survey to a manageable length in order to achieve a high rate of completion across all segments of the campus community – including students, staff, and faculty.
Several features of the survey are worth highlighting.
First, we tried not to reinvent the wheel. We pulled some key questions from the previous campus climate survey so we can see, for instance, how the prevalence of harassment and discrimination on the basis of a wide range of social identities is changing over time. Looking at responses to these questions can help us see where progress is being made and where future efforts need to be targeted.
Second, we tried to strike a balance between asking about personal experiences and beliefs and more general perceptions of the campus climate. This approach recognizes that people’s thoughts and behaviors are influenced not only by their own experiences or beliefs, but also by what they see as acceptable or unacceptable in a given context.
Third, we incorporated questions about what is working well in addition to questions about existing challenges. Sitting on the CEC allows us to see many of the great things happening around campus related to diversity and inclusion, and we wanted to make sure the survey provided a platform for sharing these strengths.
Fourth, the survey is action oriented. It is not meant to be done and filed away on a shelf to be forgotten. It is meant to help provide a roadmap for future efforts to improve the campus climate. The CEC in particular will be paying close attention to the survey results and thinking about how to translate the results into action steps.
Finally, it encourages your participation. We knew we couldn’t ask all of the questions we wanted to ask, and we also recognized that we might not think to ask all of the relevant questions. The survey includes several open-ended questions that allow you to provide your own personal insights, experiences, and recommendations to fill some of these gaps.
Although we have much to be proud of on our campus, hearing our students and colleagues share their own experiences of the campus climate has sometimes been disheartening. This survey is not just a response to the OCR but our effort to contribute to continued growth of our campus. If you have already completed the Lehigh Survey, we thank you for your time and participation and ask you to encourage others to do the same. If you have not yet completed the survey, we invite you to add your voice to those of your friends, coworkers, classmates, and students in helping to shape the campus climate at Lehigh in the years to come.
Christopher Burke, Assistant Professor, Psychology
Christopher Liang, Associate Professor, Education and Human Services
Editor's note: The Lehigh Survey remains open until November 10. If you accidently deleted the email, no need to worry. Additional emails in the form of a reminder will be sent to all those who have not completed the survey on Sundays, October 18, 25, November 1, and November 8, 2015. If you do not see the email in your INBOX, then please check the SPAM folder in your email account. The emails related to the survey will have the title The Lehigh Survey or A reminder to complete “The Lehigh Survey” and will come from the following email account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Cassano, Administrative Director of Zoellner Arts Center, asked the CEC to share the following informaiton about the upcoming academic showcase taking place as part of the big 150th Block pARTy.
The Academic Discover Showcase is a featured event during the 150th and the Lehigh block pARTy over Founders Day week. We'll be turning Zoellner and (as the event gets bigger) Rauch Galleria and the Wilbur Powerhouse into a walking gallery of projects by Lehigh faculty, staff and students, celebrating our collective work, innovation, and inspiration that makes us uniquely Lehigh. We already have about 80 projects with more coming in. During the showcase there will be light food stationed throughout so people can network, talk and see what else is going on in the class rooms. One example is a short film and storytelling Mountaintop project undertaken by social justice and creative writing, which will happen before the special speech with string theorist and theoretical physicist Brian Greene, who will be talking about the innate process of innovation.
The visit to campus next week by Mark Anthony Neal, Professor of African and African American Studies and Director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship at Duke University includes two public events that should offer great opportunities for dialogue and deeper engagement. The CEC encourages you to attend and check in here to share your thoughts about the programs. Here's more info.
It may have felt a bit like a kids' birthday party, complete with a sundae bar and fantastic balloon artist, but last Friday's celebration of the last day of classes, co-hosted by the CEC and the Senior Officers, was also a chance to reflect on the many ways everyone at Lehigh is working to create the more inclusive and welcoming campus community we are striving for. During the event, students, faculty and staff were invited to share their efforts this year and their commitment for the future.
You can add a sticky note via the comments. What do you commit to do this coming year to build on the work already started?