FAQ

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1. How will A Strategic Plan for Inclusion, Respect and Equity (ASPIRE) reach a broader audience such as Fresno State’s community?

The PCHRE has worked to develop a series of pieces for different constituent groups such as students, faculty, staff, administrators and the local and regional communities to communicate the plan. They also developed a comprehensive framework that includes details about the goals, strategies, actions and indicators. These may be used by members of the university community who are seeking in-depth knowledge of the four themes covered in the plan.

The PCHRE also expects to communicate ASPIRE directly to communities in the region to create/strengthen relationships across the area and better ensure sustained communication between the larger community and the University around these issues. This will be especially true for units within the campus community, such as the University Advisory Board, as well as those that exist within and reach beyond our region including Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, and counselor associations where we will likely find a diverse faculty pool and student population.

2. What benchmarks and indicators will measure whether students, faculty, staff and administrators are achieving success in implementing the plan?

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is working closely with the PCHRE to use data that have already been collected and can be reanalyzed or repurposed to shed light on the campus climate, hiring practices, equity in student learning outcomes, and levels of student, faculty and staff engagement with diversity and inclusion.

Initially, ASPIRE will include a small number of indicators in its initial communications pieces (mentioned in item #1 above). Measurements and metrics related to ASPIRE have been drafted for the goals for each of the ASPIRE’s four themes. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) will assist with the development of new questions for our ongoing climate survey which will be used to establish a baseline of our current work, against which future surveys will be compared to chart progress. OIE has also been working with our ACE Fellow, our consultant, and the PCHRE to modify and finalize appropriate indicators of success for the plan’s strategies.

3. How will the plan be integrated in education and training programs, and into the work environment?

Fresno State has a wide variety of education and training programs for students, faculty, staff and administrators. The various entities responsible for these areas of work will be encouraged and provided guidance and support to determine how to integrate Fresno State's goals for diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural competence into their endeavors. At a minimum, those who are developing educational programming in all areas should begin by considering and documenting the answer to two questions:

How do we address (in our orientation, socialization and education programming) the broader and growing diversity of learners in our community and the impact that the decisions we make today will have on every member achieving the high quality learning and talent development outcomes we expect?

What are we doing today to make sure that our learning and work environments are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and culturally competent in ways that contribute to developing the full talents of each member of our community?

4. What resources are available to support the integration of a campus diversity plan?

Members of the PCHRE and our ACE Fellow have identified the highest priority strategies and actions within the plan. These will be pursued in priority order based on the human and financial resources available.

The University should first look at the effectiveness and efficiencies of its current efforts from a cost-benefit perspective and determine when resources should be redeployed and what new resources are needed to focus in areas that demonstrate or show promise of effectiveness. The PCHRE wants the campus community to think outside the box and consider new formulas for garnering the resources needed to achieve our goals.

5. What can I do to participate in the implementation of the diversity plan?

The PCHRE has connected with a variety of constituent groups to obtain feedback. Our goal is to foster dialogue, hold the community accountable for engagement, and provide guidance when it is needed. Some potential sources of guidance to participate are indicated below for students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Students

Student leaders should work with the appropriate student affairs educators and seek guidance about how best to help their peers engage in this work. Students also have leverage in raising these issues with their faculty, their faculty advisors, and the campus community by asking the following questions:

Where in the curriculum (which courses and co-curricular activities) can they gain knowledge and skill in interacting with other cultures? How will the University ensure that they are prepared for the diverse workforce of the present and future? How can they ensure they emerge as culturally competent citizens in a domestic and global interdependent society?

Faculty

Faculty members have many places where they can address these issues but the place closest to home is in the department. Department chairs and program coordinators should be prepared to and held accountable to respond to the questions:

What are we doing to ensure that we are being equitable and inclusive in efforts to mentor our faculty colleagues appropriately for success? How are we supporting them in their teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and service endeavors equitably?

Faculty Curriculum Committees should be prepared to and held accountable to respond to the question:

How specifically does the curriculum address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion such that we can ensure that our graduates are knowledgeable about cultures other than their own and prepared to study, live and work in a broadly diverse and increasingly complex global society—in the same way we seek to ensure that they possess good written and verbal communication skills?

Staff

Employees should clearly understand their role in the learning environment, especially those who are in direct contact with students, but also those who are more removed from interaction with students and faculty. Staff can create a supportive environment or they can make it more challenging if they are not intentional about their cross-cultural interactions. As we have heard, one administrator calls it, Service with Enthusiasm as a means of creating a culture of inclusion. But this doesn't mean that staff bears the full weight of this phrase; rather it is shared among all members of the workforce.

Administrator

Supervisors and managers should be aware that their actions and decisions around cultural differences influence the campus environment and they should be held accountable for their awareness and knowledge.

Administrators have a special responsibility to model the behavior expected of those in their units and know what culturally competent behavior looks like in practice for the various roles within the unit.

Ask yourself:

Do I possess a level of cultural competence to be a model for my team? If I’m not as competent as I want to be, do I know what to do to develop these skills and how to guide my team members to do similarly? How do I know that my team members are being mentored for career progression equitably? Are the supervisors and team leaders in my unit inclusive in soliciting feedback from all team members and responding honestly and constructively to employees’ ideas and suggestions?

This may require programs to develop a greater understanding of various cultures and cultural competence. Regardless of the job one holds, supervisors should work to stimulate a sense of great pride in the work of supporting the educational mission of the University.

6. How does the University recruit, hire and retain a broadly diverse staff and faculty?

In order to obtain stronger support for efforts to create a diverse university workforce, members across the campus will work collaboratively to make this process as transparent and as accessible.

Because there are a wide variety of constituent groups who need to understand the importance, value, benefit and need for a diverse workforce, hiring and retention processes will be made readily available to all audiences. Search committees should also be attentive to these issues and intentional in their efforts to make the communications about these processes accessible to this broad audience.

7. Do other campuses have diversity plans?

Scores of campuses have undertaken the work of creating diversity and inclusion plans.

Many of these were reviewed in the development of A Strategic Plan for Inclusion, Respect and Equity (ASPIRE) with a focus on Chico State, UCLA, University of Michigan, and Penn State.

8. What is cultural competency and is it different for students, faculty, staff and administrators?

We have encountered many definitions of cultural competency during our work. The PCHRE worked diligently as a subcommittee and as a full body to identify and accept the following comprehensive definition:

Cultural Competence: The state of having and applying knowledge and skill in four areas: awareness of one's own cultural worldview; recognition of one's attitudes toward cultural differences; realization of different cultural practices and worldviews; and thoughtfulness in cross-cultural interaction. Over an extended period of time, individuals and organizations develop the wisdom and capability to: 1) examine critically how cultural worldviews influence perceptions of power, dominance and inequality; and 2) behave honorably within the complex dynamics of differences and commonalities among humans, groups and systems.

Please also see the PCHRE’s working definitions for diversity, inclusion and equity.

While we recognize that these working definitions were unanimously accepted by the full body of PCHRE, we ask the community to consider with us if and how these definitions might be elaborated. For those interested, the list below provides a sample of the most relevant websites the PCHRE consulted to develop its definition for Fresno State.

http://nccc.georgetown.edu/foundations/frameworks.html; http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=11; http://cecp.air.org/cultural/Q_integrated.htm#def (all of these above adopted the Cross’s definition too);

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1497553/pdf/12815076.pdf

9. How will exemplary efforts be rewarded and/or recognized for individuals that are assisting in the advancement of a cultural competent campus community?

PCHRE has considered several means of rewarding exemplary practice including reconfiguring existing award programs in ways that align with their existing goals and expanding them to incorporate inclusion, diversity and equity.

The PCHRE will explore these and other options with the campus community to identify creative, innovative and productive ways to reward exemplary work and stimulate expansion of efforts that are shown to be effective.

10. How will each division/department be held accountable for the implementation of the diversity plan?

Several of the previous questions address accountability. A strong message from university leaders and clear guidance about how campus constituents should be held accountable, and for what, will continue to be clarified and communicated. For example, leaders and search committees will be held accountable for understanding and implementing existing policies, procedures and practices regarding their hiring, retention and advancement processes.

Another example is communicating the expectation that diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. For all members of the campus community, student success is a shared responsibility. Each student, faculty, staff and administrator has a role in ensuring this success. Again, PCHRE welcomes input from the community.

11. What models were used as exemplars in drafting Fresno State’s diversity plan?

A combination of models was used to create ASPIRE. All of the previous campus plans were reviewed and the history of this work at Fresno State was considered as part of developing the current plan. The framework offered in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) publication

Making a Real Difference with Diversity: A Guide for Institutional Change was used as our framework. That framework’s lead author, Dr. Alma Clayton-Pederson, has consulted with the PCHRE during the development of the plan.

12. What can I do now to be involved in implementing this plan?

Every community member plays a role in implementing the plan. The first step is to be open to earnest dialogue about why this work is needed and important, or not.

Fresno State is an institution where exploring the diversity of thought and opinion is valued as a means of enriching knowledge and thinking critically while discouraging marginalization during the process.

To become involved, you can