SUNY Recognizes Diversity Efforts by Campuses, Students, Faculty

September 25, 2014

Albany – State University of New York Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, and Carlos N. Medina, the system’s chief diversity officer and senior associate vice chancellor, today recognized campuses, faculty, and students from across SUNY who received awards this year for distinguished efforts to enhance the system’s diversity.

Today’s recognition follows an announcement last week of several 2014 awards received throughout SUNY from INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine, the largest and oldest diversity publication in higher education nationally.

Chairman McCall said, “SUNY is consistently recognized as a national leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the campus programs, students, and faculty we honor today are the best of the best. Today’s honorees have truly gone above and beyond to help SUNY uphold its promise of diversity, and I thank them for their outstanding leadership.”

“As New York’s public higher education system, it is imperative that SUNY’s student, faculty, and administrative bodies –as well as our academic courses and programs – reflect the diversity of the population we serve,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Enhancing SUNY’s diversity is a cornerstone of our strategic plan and a consideration in all that we do. Congratulations to all of the campuses, students, and faculty recognized today as well as those who contribute to SUNY’s diversity goals year-round.”

“SUNY institutions provide exemplary diversity initiatives and programs that impact the totality of campus life for students, faculty, and the curriculum, while serving strategic diversity goals that stimulate growth in all areas of University life,” said Medina. “Congratulations to all of those honored.”

The following campuses, students, and faculty efforts that are enhancing diversity within SUNY recently received awards from SUNY’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Campus Awards

The SUNY Explorations in Diversity and Academic Excellence Initiative, now in its sixth year, supports innovative approaches that illuminate and strengthen the intersections between diversity and academic excellence at SUNY’s state-operated campuses. The following eight projects were selected:

  • University at Albany,“Exploring Diversity in New Student Seminars” – This project will bring together faculty from different departments to create and teach new seminars to freshman and transfer students on a variety of topics related to broad themes of diversity. The goal is to introduce new UAlbany students to diversity from a variety of perspectives, disciplines, and backgrounds, thereby cultivating a strong appreciation for the diversity on campus and better preparing them for success as they face the academic challenges of a university setting. It will also forge bonds between faculty and departments that will deepen the campus’s commitment to diversity and permeate future teaching, research, and service activities.
  • Binghamton University,“Udiversity: A Professional Development Curriculum for Diversity and Inclusion for the 21st Century” – The purpose of this project is to create a professional development curriculum for BU’s faculty and staff, which will include 4-day training on campus in the summer of 2014. Several models for inclusion work will be utilized in addition to the campus’s own curriculum course materials and instructor training provided by the National Intergroup Dialogue Institute in June 2014. The train-the-trainer session will certify diversity trainers to follow a curriculum established by BU’s newly created Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • SUNY Brockport, “LAUNCH II Program” – The purpose of this program is to continue a mentoring initiative that replicates the academic engagement practices of the Educational Opportunity Program, Delta College, CSTEP/McNair and the Honors programs at the College with a new group of underrepresented first-year students.
  • SUNY Buffalo State, “NCBI Exposure Workshop: Bringing Diversity Missions to Life” – This project will provide a one-day workshop that exposes key campus stakeholders from a number of SUNY campuses to National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI). Interwoven with these experiences will be presentations by the Buffalo State NCBI Team highlighting the successes and challenges it has had with its various initiatives. The workshop will highlight knowledge and skills that enable productive thinking about the complexities of “diversity” and effectives processes for bringing a campus diversity mission to life.  
  • Farmingdale State College, “The W.E.B. DuBois Faculty Student Research Experience” – This project aims to recruit diverse students to research programs, such as students from lower socio-economic positions, and underrepresented groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, women, and people with disabilities. Faculty participating in this project will be paired with a student from the TRiO-Academic Student Achievement Program.  
  • SUNY Old Westbury, “Crossing Borders, Erasing Borders: New Immigrants and Racial and Gender Inequalities in the 21st Century” – This project will bring together faculty from multiple departments and Old Westbury’s Women’s Center and First-Year Experience Program to utilize multiple engagements such as author visits and student symposia on the topics of immigration and gender, exploring the difficulties faced by immigrant women as well as persistent inequalities that shape the lives of students today.
  • SUNY Oneonta, “Understanding Cultures through Comedy with Keith Wann” – The purpose of this project is to provide American Sign Language students from SUNY Oneonta the opportunity to learn about the differences between hearing and deaf cultures from members of the deaf community, and to host a local event featuring a performance by the deaf community. 
  • Upstate Medical University, “Try on a White Coat” – This one-week program is designed for SUNY students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine who are currently enrolled in pre-health curricula. It will introduce students to careers in nursing, research, medicine, and allied and public health professions through lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and simulations. Students will be fitted with white coats and have the opportunity to spend a week “trying on” different careers. 

Student Awards

The SUNY Doctoral Diversity Fellowships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are awarded to academically exceptional students who have been admitted to SUNY’s doctoral granting institutions and will commence their graduate studies in STEM. Students honored with this award, beginning in fall 2014, are:

  • Santiago Cassalett, Stony Brook University. Santiago will pursue his doctoral degree in Anthropological Sciences, and receive his master’s in Anthropology in spring 2014 at SBU.
  • Nadia Schuman, Binghamton University. Nadia will pursue her doctoral degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Binghamton University. She will receive her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in spring 2014 from Rutgers University.

Faculty Awards

The SUNY Faculty Diversity Program is highly competitive, with campuses nominating only the most outstanding scholars who have attained a record of distinction early in their academic careers, exhibit promise for scholarly productivity of the highest quality, and have demonstrated an ability to work in diverse learning environments. The following five assistant professors earned this award:

  • Dr. Alex Kumi-Yeboah, University at Albany
  • Dr. Marvin Diaz, Binghamton University
  • Dr. Christine Wania, SUNY Brockport
  • Aaron Moss, SUNY Buffalo State
  • Dr. Adam Gonzalez, Stony Brook University

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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