University of Rochester

EVENT: Rochester Conference Explores the Importance of Diversity, Inclusion Across the University

April 27, 2011

This week, the University of Rochester will bring together representatives from all the institution's constituencies for the second annual University-wide diversity conference: Why Diversity?. Slated for Friday, April 29, more than 225 administrators, trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members will gather to discuss programs and policies related to issues of diversity and inclusion on Rochester's campuses.

"We are committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive campus by improving communication, sharing best practices, and encouraging innovations and programs that strengthen our community," said Joel Seligman, president of the University. "By uniting members from all of our academic divisions toward that goal, this conference is a critical component of our progress."

The conference, which is being organized through the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, will include a keynote lecture, panel discussions, and workshops. It will open at 9 a.m., with welcoming remarks by President Seligman and Provost Ralph Kuncl, who will be joined by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks as she presents a proclamation supporting the YWCA's "Stand Against Racism" campaign.

New to the conference format this year, the event includes a keynote address by Daryl G. Smith, professor of education and psychology at the Claremont Graduate University. The author of Diversity's Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work, Smith will discuss her current research on the implications of diversity for organizational change, assessment and evaluation of diversity efforts in higher education, and diversity as it relates to faculty and to science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.

From 10:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., participants will have the option to attend a variety of concurrent presentations on both the River Campus and at the Medical Center. Workshops will focus on campus climate and culture, the graduate student experience, the impact of support staff on student life, diversity in learning styles, and underrepresented minorities in business, among other topics.

"This conference is really a forum for the exchange of ideas," said Dr. Vivian Lewis, vice provost for faculty development and diversity and deputy to the president. "Participants who work on diversity and inclusion in their departments will be able to share resources that can be built upon, and hopefully create opportunities for intercampus collaboration."

At 4 p.m. in Flaum Atrium on the Medical Center campus, Seligman, joined by members of the University's Board of Trustees, will offer closing remarks, which will be followed by a community-wide celebration featuring performances by Mbira dzeMugomo Guru, an Eastman Mbira Ensemble, and the Mambo Kings.

For a complete description of workshops, visit the conference webpage at