Two recent national awards are a product of Adelphi's determination to set the standard when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
Adelphi has won a pair of top honors for promoting diversity on campus and in the community.
The University’s Diversity Certificate Program has been named a finalist for an award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). And Adelphi has been chosen one of 13 campuses to be the site of a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center (TRHT) by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Helping Teachers Adapt to a Diverse World
The University’s Diversity Certificate Program teaches Adelphi faculty and staff, as well as local public school teachers, how to create a more positive and respectful environment for all members of their community. The Best Practices in Diversity Programming Award from CASE honors programs that contribute to the advancement of the teaching profession.
“This award validates the good work so many people at Adelphi are doing in the field of equity and inclusion,” said A. Brian Leander, PhD, manager of training and development in Adelphi’s Office of Human Resources.
The Diversity Certificate Program was launched in 2016 by Perry Green, PhD, Adelphi’s former vice president for diversity and inclusion, to help Adelphi faculty and staff be more sensitive to the needs of all members of the Adelphi community, regardless of race, religion, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or other area of human difference. The program consists of a series of five workshops addressing topics like cultural competency, racism, gender bias and the role implicit bias plays in one’s perceptions, plus an elective course that covers topics like white privilege and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a course that teaches how to be an agent of change and put these lessons into action.
“People who take the program have been surprised by what they don’t know,” Dr. Leander said. “They’re surprised at their own implicit biases and how the lived experiences of other people are different based on their race, gender and sexual orientation.”
The program, which takes a year to complete, was so well received that Dr. Leander began offering the program to public school teachers in districts near Adelphi, including the Sewanhaka Central High School District in 2017 and the Roosevelt Union Free School District in 2018. He felt the need in the wider world for the diversity training was as great as or greater than it was at Adelphi.
“Communities are becoming diverse at a greater rate than are faculty and staff at most schools,” Dr. Leander said. “The composition of the faculty and staff—ethnic, racial and age diversity—has lagged behind the community at large.”
He’s proud that Adelphi’s training program has made an impact in the larger world. “This says that higher education has an additional role to play in the community beyond educating our students.”
Bringing Change as Well as Knowledge
Adelphi will also be opening a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. The University was one of 13 institutions chosen as a TRHT host by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and it’s the only New York campus in the group.
The TRHT center will work with groups on campus and in the community to teach about racial hierarchies and systems of inequality that perpetuate the idea that some humans aren’t as valuable as others, said Marsha J. Darling, PhD, professor of history and interdisciplinary studies and director of African, Black and Caribbean Studies.
On campus, the center will work with student organizations, athletics, staff and administrators to promote racial healing and education. In the community, the center will partner with groups like the Sewanhaka Central High School District, the Interfaith Nutrition Network and the P.E.A.C.E. (Partnerships in Education to Avoid Criminal Justice System Entry) Afterschool Program.
As a show of its commitment to justice, Adelphi has renamed its Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the group that oversees the Diversity Certificate Program and the TRHT Campus Center. Its new name is the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Adding “equity” emphasizes the staff’s commitment to implementing fairness to all groups, not just awareness of differences.
Administrators plan to do that by changing minds and training a new generation to have empathy for people whose life experience is different from theirs. “The TRHT center will focus on enabling participating youth to become future leaders who will take the TRHT framework into their futures,” Dr. Darling said.
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