January 2014—Letter to CDR Student Leader

As you know, the College Diversity Roundtable has multiple missions that include advising the Dean, providing a forum for discussion and program development, and providing information to students from the administration.

Our goal this semester is to focus more explicitly on having students provide information and advice to me, so that I can develop a deeper understanding of climate and student life from your perspectives, and identify policies, procedures, and events that might be revised, created, or eliminated. I am committed to doing what I can in response to the issues you raise. Of course, this can work effectively only if student groups are well represented at CDR meetings. It is therefore important to ensure that you, or someone else representing your organization, attend each meeting.

I would like the student groups affiliated with the CDR to utilize this opportunity to submit general and specific climate issues that you and your group members would like to have discussed at the CDR. These topics can include any topic that affects your experiences at UR, such as: classroom experiences, College policies, residential life, student activities, dining services, libraries, intergroup dynamics, or any other topic you or your group would like to raise.

An example of an issue that has been raised is this: students are often instructed to divide into groups in class; I’ve been told that the feeling among URMs is that they feel ignored/unwelcomed in groups. A CDR discussion about this issue would potentially include comments from students about their experience in situations like this and ideas about how this can be addressed. The suggestions that emerge from such a discussion that might result in advice that I give to faculty about group formation.

The first CDR meeting for the spring semester is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, 5-6:30 p.m. I ask that you have these matters raised at your organization’s general meeting and submit a compiled list to icc@rochester.edu by Friday February 7.

I hope to see you at the next CDR meeting.

Richard Feldman

October 2013—Faculty Involvement in the CDR

My service on the CDR has been very rewarding and eye-opening in many ways. My early involvement in conducting our first Campus Climate Survey and associated focus groups was very helpful in learning directly from students about their perspectives on the importance of diversity both in and out of the classroom. Over the years, the CDR has enabled many interesting conversations between students, faculty and staff about diversity and inclusion with respect to all facets of campus life—security, admissions, advising, social activities and faculty recruitment. I routinely walk away inspired and impressed by the students' commitment and passion—it's a great way to meet some students outside of the classroom and be reminded about the richness of the college experience. Although my main role has been to listen, and occasionally offer a faculty member's perspective, I have enjoyed having opportunities to help students network and to share my observations with others across campus. Whether you are new to campus, or just seeking a new perspective on the College, I would encourage other faculty members to get involved in the conversation!

Amy L. Lerner
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Academic Director, Center for Medical Technology and Innovation

September 2013—Greetings from Dean Feldman

I am writing to thank you for your continued dedication to the College Diversity Roundtable, and to tell you about some changes that are taking place. As the new Director of the Intercultural Center, Michelle Thompson-Taylor will be facilitating the CDR beginning this fall. The CDR has grown and blossomed since its inception under the leadership of Norman Burnett, and I want to thank him for his tireless dedication to its goals and objectives over many years.

The charge of the CDR remains focused on diversity in all its complexity and multi-faceted dimensions. The CDR will remain a student-centered task force in which issues and concerns can be raised and discussed. It will also provide opportunities for all participants to engage in activities and conversations that address current affairs and contemporary challenges affecting individuals and groups of various intersecting identities. The CDR can also be a forum for discussion of the ways in which we can celebrate the diversity that enriches our campus community.

The CDR will hold its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, September 24, 4:30–5:30 p.m., in the Gamble Room, Rush Rhees Library and Michelle will discuss her vision for the CDR moving forward. I certainly hope that you continue to participate and encourage your peers to do the same. We look forward to an invigorating year…

Rich Feldman
Dean of the College