The semi-annual All-College Faculty-Staff Meeting took place on January 31, 2018. Faculty and staff gathered to discuss the theme of equity and inclusion in our diverse community.
President Evenbeck opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and providing updates on College initiatives and projects, including major milestones such as the implementation of a new Governance Plan, the upcoming first meeting of the Academic Senate, and Guttman’s fifth anniversary celebration.
Elisa Hertz, Matthew Au and Joseph Contreras of the Center for College Effectiveness then reviewed the most up-to-date statistics pertaining to the student body during the “Have a Nice Data” presentation. The latest data again proves Guttman’s innovative model works for retaining and graduating students. Most Guttman graduates go on to attend CUNY schools, with Lehman College being the top choice. The data also shows that the small percentage of students who do leave the College before graduating or transferring to another school are mostly male. The majority of those who leave do so after their first semester of attendance and do no enroll elsewhere.
Dean of Student Engagement Charles Pryor continued the meeting with a presentation of a draft of Guttman’s official Equity Statement composed by the Equity Task Force, whose goal is to change the norms of student outcomes by making faculty and staff consider their work through an equity lens to ultimately promote student success at Guttman and beyond. The draft of the Equity Statement has is open for review and feedback by the community.
The theme of equity and inclusion continued with the keynote workshop led by Dr. Silvia L. Mazzula, Associate Professor of Psychology at John Jay College. The three-hour “Culture of Excellence in Higher Education: From Systems to Individuals” workshop facilitated a discussion about establishing equity in a diverse environment by ensuring stakeholders exhibit cultural competency —the idea of recognizing one’s own values and world views in order to acknowledge and accept that others may experience the world differently. The engaging discussion introduced the community to the concept of cultural self-awareness and helped attendees discover their own cultural blind spots that often contribute to inequity and micro-aggressions during interactions with students and colleagues.
Dr. Mazzula also praised Guttman for having such a diverse faculty, staff and student body, and expressed the importance and rarity of holding an All-College meeting. She noted it is crucial for all administrators to be present and involved in a successful equity process.
Provost Howard Wach continued the equity discussion by speaking from the academic structure perspective. He said faculty and staff need to hold students to the support model offered by Guttman and give them road maps and opportunities to secure their success.
Library faculty and staff then introduced the Open Educational Resources (OER) during the “Free the Books! Supporting Student Success Through OER” presentation. OER are free or low-cost course materials, including textbooks, that have a tremendous impact on equal access for students. OER have become a social justice issue by making information available to everyone, not just those who can afford the high cost of textbooks. Amy Beth, Alexandra Hamlett, Megan Lacy, Karla Fuller and Serge Rodriguez explained how OER save students money and helps them engage in courses more actively, with most of the content being digital and more interactive. They also guided faculty through the steps of creating OER courses and materials.
The day ended with the presentation of the second annual Faculty and Staff Awards and traditional faculty-staff group photos.