U.S. Department of Education named UAlbany a national leader in best practices for advancing diversity and inclusion in higher education. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 21, 2016) — The University at Albany is a national leader in best practices for advancing diversity and inclusion in higher education, a new report from the U.S. Department of Education says.
The report released Friday, "Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education: Key Data Highlights Focusing on Race and Ethnicity and Promising Practices," highlights the Obama Administration’s efforts to promote diversity in postsecondary education, as well as reveals continuing educational inequities in accessing and completing higher education.
The report cites UAlbany's success in promoting diversity as rooted in its Strategic Plan, which states the university will "… enhance the quality of undergraduate education at UAlbany and attract and serve a highly qualified and diverse group of students." By focusing on diversity and inclusion, the UAlbany plan reinforces the State University of New York's (SUNY) system-wide Diversity Vision and Mission Statement.
In efforts to fulfill the promise of its plan, the university has established a Diversity Transformation Fund, which funds faculty and staff in the development of initiatives that model campus tolerance and inclusivity. UAlbany also funds an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which is charged with advancing the university's promise of creating a welcoming and accepting campus environment.
"The University at Albany has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, so it should be no surprise that our achievements in this area are identified as national models by the U.S. Department of Education,” said UAlbany Interim President James R. Stellar. “This work is far from done, but our extraordinary programs and best practices give us a strong foundation to create an even more inclusive campus environment in the future.”
"The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has long worked with our campus partners to ensure that UAlbany is a place where all students, faculty, and staff can succeed," said, UAlbany's Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Tamra Minor. "And we are excited that our work is considered a national model. While that points to the work all of us have done, it’s more critical that we continue to work to show that a diverse and inclusive campus environment helps to prepare our students to leave here ready for the world’s changing demographics and interconnectedness. Our inclusive excellence initiative is called UACCESS – The University at Albany Collaboratively Creating Excellence, Scholarship and Success. Our belief has always been that advancing diversity and inclusion requires that all of us come to the table ready to share, willing to listen, and prepared to work collaboratively so all of us can succeed."
In addition to UACCESS, the university is cited for its Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, which oversees activities and events that "increase the cultural competency of students, faculty, and staff," and its support systems such as the Multicultural Resource Center, which focusses on the university’s commitment to diversity and social justice by supporting multicultural students and those not part of a cultural or ethnic majority.
SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall said, “The University at Albany is a leader in every sense as SUNY aims to be the most inclusive system of higher education in the country. From providing one of SUNY’s most successful Educational Opportunity Programs for students to supporting faculty innovations that promote inclusion through the Diversity Transformation Fund, and much more, the campus has successfully created a culture where black, Hispanic and white students are graduating at similar rates. Today’s honor is much deserved, as the campus continues to ensure that every New Yorker has access to the top quality education University at Albany provides as well as the support they need to complete a degree and embark on a successful career after graduation."
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “As the country’s largest, most comprehensive system of public higher education, The State University of New York strives to be a leader in increasing college access, affordability, and completion. The common thread in all that we work toward is our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion - to ensuring that every program, initiative, and service we provide takes into consideration the unique needs of students from all ethnic backgrounds as well as first-generation students and veterans. The University at Albany embodies SUNY’s ambition to be the most inclusive system in the nation. Thank you Interim President Stellar and all of those on campus whose work has led to this highly commendable White House recognition."