College Launches New Institute, Announces Second Grand Challenge
SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley officially announced in the fall the establishment of the SUNY Oswego Institute for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Transformative Practice on the heels of the campus selecting its next Grand Challenges theme: Race, Racism and Social Justice.
The equity, diversity, inclusion and transformative practices of the institute are centrally connected to and motivated by SUNY Oswego’s strategic plan (Tomorrow Plan). As such, the institute will be a resource for the entire campus community to engage in activities that will increase student success, partnerships and academic and creative excellence as we continue to build an inclusive community and sustainable institution.
At the core of the institute is its mission to foster critical self-awareness, understanding of the identities and experiences of all community members, investigation of structural inequality and advocacy for transformative change. Activities of the institute will include training and programming sessions on topics including, but not limited to, social justice, equality and equity, cultural competence, civil discourse, cultural humility, implicit bias, micro/macroaggressions, conflict de-escalation, intergroup dialogue facilitation, inclusive pedagogy, inclusive curricula, nonviolent communication and restorative justice.
The institute will work collaboratively with:
- Students to create and offer resources, programs, events, training sessions and leadership opportunities;
- Administrators, faculty, staff, employees, institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committees, and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching to expand resources, programs, events, training sessions, best practices colloquia and other professional development opportunities on topics related to equity, diversity, inclusion and transformative practices; and
- Institutional partners and stakeholders in Oswego, Syracuse and surrounding communities to expand resources, training and programs on topics related to equity, diversity, inclusion and transformative practices in the community.
According to Dr. Mary Toale, the newly appointed officer-in-charge and the college’s former affirmative action officer, the institute will be a vital resource for our community partners to improve our collective communities through transformative practices, and to expand the vital shared work within and across our communities.
The institute will also be a place where the SUNY Oswego community can engage in addressing the Grand Challenges of Race, Racism and Social Justice and propel the community forward. Beginning this fall and for the next three consecutive academic years, the Grand Challenges effort will give SUNY Oswego students, faculty and staff—across all disciplines, departments and divisions—a unique opportunity to deeply engage with multi-dimensional issues of the social construction of racial identities, complex systems of oppression and privilege, and societal transformation.
Grounded in shared goals, integrative skills and technologies, and an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, the Grand Challenges Project reinforces the fact that today’s solutions need to include many stakeholders across a spectrum of scholarship, creative activity and opinion. This is the second Grand Challenges topic that has been selected by the SUNY Oswego campus. The first, Fresh Water for All, was the topic of study and discussion from fall 2018 through spring 2021.
Over the course of the spring 2021 term, the Grand Challenges Oversight Committee in conjunction with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion engaged stakeholders across the campus community to develop multidisciplinary and multimodal initiatives related to race, racism and social justice. The committee invited all campus members to apply for micro-grants to add content to their existing syllabi or learning outcomes to courses, or to support collaborative, interdisciplinary or civic engagement projects involving the topic.
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