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ESF Enhances Institutionalization of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity

Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Malika Carter outlines partnerships, plans for campus

These are some of the members of the college community who have contributed to diversity initiatives. From left, President Quentin Wheeler, Dr. Malika Carter, Scott Blair, Amelia Hoffman

Under the direction of Dr. Malika Carter, the College's first chief diversity officer, ESF leaders are building internal and external partnerships and enhancing systems to improve the campus atmosphere in regard to inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Initiatives and projects include:

  • ESF is a participant in the Diversifying the Hill Initiative, which is designed to unite institutions and agencies in the University Hill neighborhood to increase workplace diversity among those organizations. It provides partner entities with a network of tools to work toward the goal of more diverse workplaces. "Creating a more diverse and culturally competent workforce necessitates engagement of various different levels of an agency or institution. Reaching outside to other organizations who are attempting to accomplish the same can only strengthen internal efforts." Carter said.
  • Carter worked with the ESF offices of undergraduate admissions, financial aid and scholarships, and other departments to develop ESF's statement addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). "I proposed we craft language that would support understanding of the respective department's roles, while reinforcing ESF's commitment to equal opportunity for current students and applicants under our current criteria, regardless of the designation," said Carter. That message was shared with campus via email with links to webpages for more information.
  • ESF is now a member institution of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. The association supports the efforts of higher education diversity officers as they work to promote diversity initiatives on campus.
  • A team of ESF professionals, including staff members from ESF's Student Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Office are working to create a Bias Reporting System to track and review bias-related incidents. The work includes writing an annual communication plan and supporting coordinating entities actively engaged in assisting constituencies in the continual design, implementation, and advancement of the instrument.
  • An Interfaith Calendar and guidance for campus planners is being created to assist with planning campus events to avoid conflicts with faith observances. Carter consulted with ESF academic and student affairs leadership, Hendricks Chapel and Syracuse city faith-based leaders to capture interfaith information for their respective audiences.

The implementation of initiatives and activities aim to continuously co-create a campus climate that is beneficial to all.

"Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with equity and diversity - in people, the curriculum, and co-curriculum communities. This engagement has the potential to increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions," said Carter.