News and Related Links
WCU Celebrates Diversity
The WCU Celebrates Diversity fall and spring calendars are offered to the increasingly complex and diverse West Chester University community to heighten our ability to understand and appreciate our differences and to create an inclusive and respectful environment. This calendar is compiled by the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion though the collaborative efforts of the campus community.
West Chester University Fall 2020 students, faculty, and staff Title IX Open Forum (OCTOBER 28, 2020)
In May 2020, the US Department of Education released the Final Title IX Rule; federal regulations that (effective August 14, 2020) dictate how the University addresses, investigates, and adjudicates sexual and interpersonal violence and harassment. This open forum highlighted the changes as it relates to students who report misconduct and students who are accused of misconduct, as well as share added Title IX resources. View the recorded open forum.
WCU Receives the Higher Education Excellence In Diversity Award from INSIGHT INTO DIVERSITY Magazine
On September 1, 2020, West Chester University (WCU) received the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — West Chester University will be featured, along with 89 other recipients, in the November 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “Receiving the HEED award for the first time in West Chester University’s history is a clear indication that we are on the right track as we strengthen and enhance our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in intentional ways,” said West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino. “This University is committed to creating an environment that celebrates and demonstrates our core values in real ways that live in our daily actions and interactions with one another. As we work to expand our cultural competencies, I am quite proud of the path that WCU has chosen to take for the benefit and enrichment of all in our community. It is indeed the right thing to do.” To read the full news release visit WCU News. Please reference the following link to secure the names of all HEED Award recipients for 2020: https://www.insightintodiversity.com/about-the-heed-award/2020-recipients/
President Fiorentino's Statement regarding Combating Racism and Recent Tragic events (5/29/2020)
Dear West Chester University Community,
At this truly unprecedented time in our history when lives have been altered significantly across the globe, we cannot help but halt and reflect upon the recent news of the tragic events in Minnesota, New York, and Georgia. Our thoughts today are with the victims and families of all those affected by such horrific acts of hate, racism, and intolerance. The pain brought on from all that has been lost amid such injustice and despair prompts us to pause in the midst of our own realities. We, as a community of educators, must take this moment to underscore our dedication to all of our diverse communities, which include our students, faculty, alumni, staff, and many friends. As we strive to prepare our students to be lifelong learners committed to the common good, it is important to call attention to what we inspire all of our graduates to embrace as productive activity in our society: (Read the full statement here )
Accessibility is essential to any inclusive environment. Just as in physical classroom settings, West Chester University is legally required to ensure that our virtual/online learning environments are accessible for individuals with disabilities. Creating accessible physical spaces, electronic content and learning environments requires additional thought and planning at the beginning stages. It is much easier to plan for accessibility initially, than to attempt to retrofit inaccessible course content. In addition, inaccessible content creates unnecessary barriers for students and negatively impacts student learning.
As faculty at West Chester employ other teaching modalities to provide remote instruction in response to the impact of COVID-19, we strongly encouraged you to ensure “Accessible Design” and when possible, to consider employing Universal Design. While Accessible Design aims to meet the minimum requirements to achieve usability, Universal Design improves access and outcomes for everyone in a variety of situations. It considers the wide spectrum of human abilities and exceeds minimum standards to meet the needs of the greatest number of people. Examples of Universal design include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Use of captions or transcripts, as all students reap benefits from their use, including the benefits of language reinforcement, concept review and improved understanding when watching videos in a wide range of settings.
- Using or selecting websites that are designed with headings, well-organized content and keyboard navigation will benefit individuals using screen readers and those with learning disabilities. It will also be easier to follow and more visually-appealing for everyone.
A very helpful reading for faculty to review is 20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course
Information Services and Technology (IS&T), in partnership with the Office for Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) provides resources to assist faculty in creating accessible online course content independently or with support. Given the increased need, the following additional personnel through the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are available to consult with faculty as it relates to best practices in creating accessible content and resources for ADA related accommodations through online course content:
- Meg Hazel, Esq., M.A.- Assistant Director, Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; firstname.lastname@example.org; 610.436.2838
- Dr. Tracey Robinson, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, email@example.com or 610.436.2433
Racial Climate Survey Open Forums
While racism is among America's greatest social problems, issues of race remain an uncomfortable topic for most people to discuss. News outlets reporting on racial incidents on college campuses across the United States have continued to grow over the last decade. During the Spring 2019 semester, all undergraduate students at West Chester University were invited to participate in a national racial climate survey. Student voices were heard! As West Chester works to be a national leader of Inclusive Excellence, join for a discussion of what we learned from WCU’s participation in The National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates and share your voice in defining next steps. All students, faculty & staff and invited to join the discussion.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020: 3 PM-4:30 PM, Sykes Theatre
Thursday, February 13, 2020: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Sykes Theatre
Sponsored by: The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, WCU Student Government Association, and Faculty Senate
For a quick overview about the Racial Climate Survey and its findings, view the Racial Climate Survey Results Quick Intro video.
2019 Preferred Name Policy
In August 2019, the University rolled out its new Preferred Name Policy and Process to enable students, faculty and staff to denote a preferred first name as an alternative to their legal name to appear to select University systems and communication. The process is a few quick steps in the MyWCU portal, which can be accessed from the University homepage. Complete details about the Preferred Name Policy and Frequently Asked Questions are online. For a quick overview, view this video.
National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
In November 2018, through a partnership between Academic Affairs and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, West Chester University became an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. The NCFDD is a highly regarded center with a national reputation and success record for supporting faculty members throughout their careers and towards accomplishing developmental career milestones. West Chester’s diverse cadre of faculty and graduate students have access to resources and support in the form of webinars, forums, mentoring and other materials that assist with navigating academia. All Faculty and Graduate Students are encouraged to activate their accounts for this membership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). Click here to activate your membership today!
2017-2019 Sexual Misconduct & Violence Prevention Task Force Report
West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCUPA) is committed to creating and maintaining a campus environment where safety, health and well-being are priorities for all. Sexual misconduct includes a variety of acts that are perpetrated against another without consent. Accordingly, the University actively works to prevent and address any form of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. In Fall 2016, the Office of the President requested that a Task Force be assembled to create and present a three-year sexual misconduct and violence prevention strategic plan addressing the components of policy, protocol, procedures and prevention.
The final taskforce report shares eighteen recommendations of the 2017-2019 Sexual Misconduct and Violence Prevention Task Force and CDIO under four headings: Policy, Protocol, Procedure and Prevention. Each recommendation includes the semester of implementation as goals beginning Summer 2019 through Fall 2022, with ongoing review.
West Chester University's 2020-2021 Military Friendly Designation
In February 2020, West Chester University received the Military Friendly Designation from Viqtory, Inc., a media, advertising and marketing company that publishes G.I. Jobs and Military Spouse magazines. West Chester advanced from Bronze to Silver recognition. Silver designation is awarded to schools who meet the requirements and score with 20% of the 10th ranking school in their category. Only a select group of institutions achieve this honor. West Chester is proud to have maintained military friendly distinction since 2014. To learn more about West Chester’s Military Friendly status, click here. Throughout the year, the Greg and Sandra Weisenstein Veterans Center serves as the central hub to assist military veterans and their families with coordinating use of their Veterans Education benefits, connecting with scholarship opportunities, receiving priority registration, creating a sense of community on campus through the Student Veterans Group (SVG), and engaging in programming that contributes to the success of our student veterans and their families.
Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - E-Newsletter
February 5, 2020 Edition included: Racial Climate Survey Open Forums, Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion Grants Opportunity, 2019 Sexual Misconduct and Violence Prevention Task Force Report, and NCFDD Membership Update
February 24, 2020 Edition included: 2020-21 Military Friendly School Status with Silver designation, Upcoming Green Dot Bystander Intervention Trainings, Racial Climate Survey Executive Summary, March Training and Education Opportunities
July 30, 2020 Edition included: Change Begins Here: Dismantling Systemic and Everyday Racism website announcement; Courageous Conversations about Race Save the Date, New Institute for Cultural Competence and Inclusive Excellence
August 24, 2020 Edition included: National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) Fall 2020 Announcement
August 27, 2020 Edition included: Courageous Conversations on Race, The Institute for Cultural Competence and Inclusive Excellence, Change Begins Here-Anti-racism upcoming events, WCU Celebrates Diversity for All Fall 2020 Calendar of Events
October 20, 2020 Edition included: Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (HEED), iCAMP- Inspiring Programs in STEM Award, Upcoming Title IX Town Hall Meeting, Meet Dr. Kirstie Grant- Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar
October 30, 2020 Edition included: Multicultural Faculty Commission Announcements- National Science Foundation Breaking Barriers, Call for Nominations
November 11, 2020 Edition included: Veterans Day, Native American Heritage Month, Dr. Tony Delgado HACU Leadership Fellow, Courageous Conversations- Policing, Better Together Days/Interfaith Engagement- November 16-20