Diversity" conference speakers encourage inclusiveness
Anne Bromley and Dan Heuchert
about affirmative action often escalate into extreme rhetoric,
pushing people into a corner they really don't want to occupy,
President John T.
Casteen III observed in his remarks opening the two-day "Charting
Diversity" conference at U.Va. Feb. 18. The University's
year-long study of diversity issues, which began with the conference,
should be a more analytic than emotional exercise, he said.
we're going to survive as a democracy, we're going to have
to find ways to understand each other better."
Sylvia Hurtado University of Michigan
this year of reflection, we seek to understand our community"
and the legal issues, Casteen said, with the goal of mapping a
plan of action aimed at inclusiveness.
Friday, eight diversity experts from other universities provided
a national context for considering the issues and discussed approaches
taken at their schools.
In his summation of the first day, Darden
School Dean Edward A. Snyder urged conference participants
to look for easily achieved steps to make an immediate impact,
in addition to longer-term plans.
He also suggested that they spend their time looking forward,
not backward. "I don't think we should spend a lot of energy
trying to decide how good we are, how mediocre we are or how bad
we are," he said. "The issue is progress."
Saturday, eight roundtable groups comprising U.Va. students, faculty
and administrators each discussed one of the following topics:
community; curriculum and pedagogy; faculty and staff recruitment,
hiring, retention and promotion; governance and leadership; physical
space and environmental assessment; policy and procedure; student
development; and student recruitment, enrollment, retention and
next step will be for the roundtable leaders to meet with the
conference organizers: Curry
School professor Linda K. Bunker, Glenna C. Chang, assistant
dean of students, and Karen Holt, director of Equal
Opportunity Programs. They'll compare notes and figure out
how they're going to tackle each of the issues, Holt said.
gotten really good feedback from some of those who attended Friday's
sessions," she said. Every speaker has been mentioned as
someone's favorite, which shows the importance of having many
viewpoints, Holt added.