Tonight’s event started with President Sands’ opening remarks on Accountability, focusing on the unit-level and individuals, and Co-Investing in the initiatives that require financial assistance to be successful. Dean Depauw then invited and encouraged everyone to get involve with the review of progress of the initiatives. Links to this survey will be available at the InclusiveVT website on Friday, May 08 and open until Tuesday, Jun 02. Comments can be made on the initiatives as a whole, or specific initiatives. All comments are welcomed! The three questions at the forefront of this inquiry are:
- What is the significance of the initiatives?
- What are the gaps in the initiatives – what’s missing?
- What are the synergies between initiatives?
Following this, a few clips were shown from the Multiculturalism @ Virginia Tech YouTube video, which was an undergraduate student project from this semester. Following this, small groups discussed their initial thoughts, comments, and suggestions based on viewing this movie and from their experiences with the InclusiveVT initiatives to date.
Here are some notes from the open forum:
- Provide a book that not only highlights one minority group’s struggles, but one that examines various groups’ struggles, to get a more “holistic” view of diversity.
- Encourage professors to “bring the Principles of Community” to life beyond simply stating them on a syllabus.
- There was some concern about the balance between administrative/student involvement in these initiatives. Related to this, it was suggested that a scholarship/grant/course credit be offered to students who want to be extensively involved with planning, organizing, and assessing the success of, these initiatives.
- One comment reiterated the (student) perception that as a community, though we’re working on doing great things, have yet to see results. A related comment noted that it takes time to make an impact. A well-stated remark, “we haven’t found it, but we have to find something that works”.
- Regarding the Gateway program (which invites undecided minorities to visit campus for a night), it was suggested that statistics not only focus on enrollment, but also retention, of Gateway students.
- One comment about the global perspective on diversity – students who study abroad often bring an American point of view to countries that may have different views.
- Another suggestion that followed in the vein of previous discussions: connecting and strengthening interactions between domestic and international students on campus.
- A faculty member suggested increasing curricular changes, noting that some of Virginia Tech’s peer institutions require students to take courses on diversity. Increasing support to individual programs that may not necessarily have departmental status could strengthen the initiatives that individual faculty are currently implementing.
Some poignant quotes:
- “Dad, someone that looks like me didn’t say ‘Hi’ to me.”
- “We are not a diverse institution.”
- “We’re all here to make Virginia Tech better.”
Class of 2019 Statistics (provided by the Admissions Office):
- African American Student Enrollment Increased 33%
- Hispanic/Latino/a Student Enrollment Increased 37%
- American Indian and Native American Enrollment Remained the Same
- Students listed as two or more Races Increased 25%