Dear Orange Friends:
In two weeks, our new academic year at Syracuse University will be in full swing. All summer, hundreds of faculty and staff have been getting ready for the new year. The campus looks almost ready now (there has been terrific work on the grounds and facilities), and I have talked with many of my colleagues on the faculty who are very much looking forward to welcoming new students and catching up with all those who are returning.
Last week, I joined all the Deans of the schools and colleges, and the Vice Chancellors and leaders of all parts of the University for a three-day retreat focused entirely on creating inclusive campus environments. Thirty-two of us were facilitated in a searching examination and education by Kathy Obear, a nationally renowned facilitator with deep expertise in this field. The retreat was organized by University leaders Bea González, Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, and Andy Gordon.
Through intense discussion, reading, and interaction, we learned to apply an inclusive lens to everything we do, and in particular worked on communications. We applied our learning as a group in several areas, including student academic success and online education.
There is a lot of great work happening at Syracuse, including in the areas we studied. We learned how much greater it can be, in the experience of our students and in the impact of our school, if we work on and model best practices of inclusion. I thank all the University leaders who committed to this at the retreat.