University of Rochester

2010 Diversity Conference:
Building a Stronger Community
April 5, 2010

Notes from lunch table discussions

What did you learn or experience in the first session that you did not know or experience before?


  • University is expanding recognition of deaf and hard of hearing community.
  • From a medical standpoint: including them in research and grant opportunities
  • Pipeline programs for deaf students
  • Mentoring teams -Make sure students have the right mentor because already coming in a disadvantage
  • AS&E pipeline programs for disadvantaged students -UR Step program for high school students
  • We didn’t realize how much is going on
  • Multi-mentoring/ different mentoring styles for teaching and learning
  • Need Broader, more inclusive version of diversity
  • Education and mentoring in IT program
  • Need more information on retention of faculty (exit survey, etc)
  • The notion that developing a diverse pool of candidates for faculty and administrative positions was new.  It is insufficient to complain about a ‘small pool’; the University must commit to diversifying, broadening and deepening the pool. 
  • Embracing inclusion to mean ‘diversity of thought’
  • UR Community outreach; there is not enough communication across units, thought there are fears about not being able to respond to the huge needs.  The cross-pollination needs to include staff, too.
  • Lack of awareness on the medical side of what diversity and inclusive efforts, but also a lack of support for the efforts. 
  • IT modelà multi-level; 18 months work on shared values (250 people)-open, honest (Julie Buehler), willingness to fail, able to disagree impersonally
  • Minority- doing fairly well; not doing as well with women in trying to develop pipeline…
  • No time and too many issues
  • Welles Brown: Staff development/ Mentoring and tracking into administrative positions
  • In one group, nothing was said about the staff
  • Senior leadership is homogeneous and we need to deal with disability
  • There is a significant amount of community engagement with little publicity
  • Making a staff track that is professional
  • The percentage of women receiving their Phd were higher at the URM
  • how un-diversified the fraternities are campus are
  • different outreach program of Eastman School of Music
  • Extent of existing initiatives throughout UR, especially pre-college initiatives.
  • Several articulated “elephant in the room”; fear of staff and faculty of speaking up to senior people. 
  • IT Diversity and organization management and integration of diversity
    Broadening diversity from just race to other areas of diversity, such as disability, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
    Diversity values must permeate the entire culture- get buy-in from everybody
  • Considering the complexity of the faculty-student power dynamic
    One session discussed lack of diversity of Fraternity quad, predominantly in fraternity houses (excluding ResLife managed houses)
    Lack of ‘gender identity and expression’ in Diversity statement, when many universities nationwide and in Rochester include such a statement
  • Some things reinforced and learned
    Reinforced à too little coordination of efforts (students, faculty, staff, alumni)
  • Decentralized structure is a big impediment
  • Perception of financial impediment to enrolling
  • Learned about creative mentoring approach in Medical Center with multiple and interdisciplinary mentors for each mentee
  • Need to focus on pipeline both ways: our graduates contribute to success at other institutions and in other fields.  This in turn benefits us in reputational terms.
  • For faculty and graduate students, family leave very important- but University administrators have mixed level of support and insufficient data.  Important for recruitment and retention.
  • Idea of doing University-wide climate survey to get real information about entire community’s perceptions. 

Going forward, what one thing will you use from what you’ve learned today to help personally move the university’s diversity agenda?


  • Lack of awareness, provide forum where people can meet and discuss ideas
      • Offering an avenue where this can happen
      • Student diversity- helpful for students and encourages a wide scope of ideas
      • Need to avoid isolation
      • Retention important in addition to recruitment
  •  People need to come out of their comfort zones to truly discuss issues related to diversity
  • Continuing to take advantage of what is ongoing at the University; Will help with:
      • minority fraternization; segregation in fraternity and sorority housing
      • deeper understanding
      • administrators seemed unaware of some cultural issues
      • multidisciplinary, multi-approach: lack of student focus à focus more on student groups
  • Multi- mentoring (peer-academic, internal/ external, etc)
  • Bench making- holistic inventory
  • Leaving and understanding disability more
  • Using the idea of ‘diverse thinking leads to innovation’ in daily life.
  •  Discuss the notion of an Associate Dean for Development and Diversity within the college.
  • Recruiting women and other under-represented groups into leadership roles, giving them opportunities to influence practice more broadly.
  • Being active in pushing the message that this work is everybody’s business (faculty, staff, students)
  • Commitment of president and CDO
  • Being aware of our own role to inform and share perspectives
  • Community connections, work collaboratively
  • Perception of power- disarm influence of power positions in organization
  • Be honest and open to provide feedback- example of Pres. Seligman à create this environment in other areas of University
  • Connection and learning from others- Ph D candidate- nursing- communicate
  • Talking with faculty and staff to tell them how important diversifying the university is.
  • Take advantage of network of people involved in diversity.
  • Take information from conference and communicate to communities.
  • -Encourage idea of multiple mentors
  • Communicate more about programs and successes
  • Look for more opportunities to integrate diversity themes into staff development
  • Develop career growth opportunities.
  • Multi-disciplinary approaches to solving problems are critical in a decentralized organization.  This can work in academic courses, student life, administrative units, etc.  --Develop capstone projects/ courses which teams are assigned to include a diverse group of people.
  • Not being afraid to speak at given moment
  • Participate in Diversity issues more

What messages or recommendations do you have for the University Leadership?


  • Message to President:
      • See where people from different backgrounds come from, see what works to attract people here
      • Immersion
      • Make more effort for diversification of faculty and students
      • Want to come to a place where you see people who are diverse
      • Retention (faculty, staff, students)- professional development- assumption of limited opportunities and less knowledge, not enough allowance to let us make mistakes
      • Stop hand-holding and treating like ‘children’
  • How to provide opportunities for those with concerns to voice these in a meaningful way
  • Need to provide professional development to all faculty (do not differentiate)
  • Need to include staff as well, take a holistic and inclusive approach to development
  •   How do we get people to understand the diversity issues as they relate to academic settings?
  • The decentralized structure of the university hinders communication.  How can we improve communication? 
  • It’s the University’s job to welcome, it not fair to ask the new person to do  so
      • Stop making fun of our successes please tell me what we aren’t doing well, so we can help do better
      • Work on growing our own; how do we do this better?
      • Target of opportunity of hires for faculty
      • Please have more focus on students if you want students to participate
  •  Create a more holistic inventory
  • Multi-mentoring levels and leadership
    Leavin and understanding disability
  • Find ways to include metrics on our progress related to diversity- staff/ faculty performances reviews, student group funding, etc
  • There seem to be gaps in the middle who are not actively engaged in working on diversity
  • Climate survey for faculty and staff.
  • Diversifying senior leadership, administration, as well as the Board of Trustees is important.  The “One University” Concept will enable co-ordination of diversity efforts. 
  • Front- line leadership needs to exhibit more commitment in terms of resources, visibility, inclusion of students, faculty and staff (deeds, not just talk).  This also include mid-level leaders.
  • Retention is crucial, because that is a central way forward toward culture change. 
  • Think about how policies translate into tangible practices
  • More conferences like this
  • How can the community help us share resources?
  • Listen on the grass roots level
  • Clone successful programs- McNair
  •  Staff are an important part of retention
  • Mentoring for staff, presentation skills, management skills
  • More discussion of GLBT, religious affiliations, persons with diabilities, etc.
  • A contract situation for staff (in particular medicice) – outstanding bedside clinicians, etc- could improve teaching and learning
  • The work of diversity has to be done by everyone- including the majority groups (people need allies)
  • The concept of multi disciplinary work can assist us with cross-departmental projects, bringing together different majority groups
  • Doing a climate survey at the faculty level
  • Send the people who really need to hear about diversity to the meetings (not the people who are already fully invested, don’t preach to the choir)
  • More conversation
  • What does it mean to be diverse?
  • * website, etc, to consolidate information about UR initiatives
  • Encourage/ enable “Majority group” students to get involved in diversity issues
  • Address “elephant in room” mentioned under #1.
  • For the university to address challenging questions and be better prepared to discuss.
  • This isn’t rocket sciences. Just do it! Break dwon the walls/ silos. 
  • Hold the community members and leaders accountable.
  • This event is linked to other events and activities.  We need an inventory audit of what we’re doing and how successful our efforts are.  And it should be communicated in a way that encourages feedback.
  • Do a university climate study
  • Get everyone on the same page in FMLA- goal is not to minimize but to optimize.
  • Improve diversity of University’s senior leadership.  
  • Intellectual diversity, which will lead to social diversity.
  • Promote outreach progress- more diverse student recruitment
  • More on retention
  • More staff development
  • Respect for different knowledge
  • That mentoring needs to be multi- faceted in focus (cultural mentoring as well as disciplinary)
  • That mentoring should be part of institutional culture- STAFF as well as faculty/ student
  • Mentoring/ advising/ tutoring à all must have “best practices” playbooks we can draw in.

Maintained by Office for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please send your comments and suggestions to: Office for Faculty Development and Diversity