DIVERSITY TASK FORCE CHARGE
AND MEMBERS PURPOSE
The University of Connecticut is a collegial and vibrant environment grounded in diverse people and perspectives and enabled through differences in culture, experience, and values. An academic institution’s excellence and success depend fundamentally on diversity of thought, experience and values. Thus, UConn aims to become a much stronger, more inclusive community that explicitly promotes respect and understanding, broadens participation among under-represented groups, advances cultural competence, celebrates intellectual openness and multiculturalism, and welcomes varied perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. These values must infuse all of our programs, operations, and activities in instruction, research, and outreach.
The Diversity Task Force is charged to review, assess, and recommend strategies to improve diversity at the University of Connecticut. The Task Force will closely examine the meaning of diversity, and then will challenge the University with new perspectives and ideas, and develop creative approaches for broadening and strengthening diversity. This initiative offers an important opportunity to step back and think carefully about what we as an institution and a community value and why, and to recommend measures that will operationalize these values in the fabric of our institution’s strategic choices, activities, policies, programs, and organizational structures.
ORGANIZATION OF WORK
The Task Force is asked to consider a set of complex concepts and challenging questions. To approach this systematically, the work will proceed in three phases:
First, the Task Force will focus on foundational questions about what the University aspires to achieve with respect to diversity. It will carefully consider and define what diversity means, and specify the attributes of an institution where diversity is created, understood, celebrated, and integrated throughout its activities. It will also articulate the outcomes the University expects to attain as a result of emphasizing diversity.
Next, the Task Force will understand current practices and approaches to diversity at UConn and evaluate their effectiveness. It will examine the dynamics of interacting forces that contribute the University’s current diversity environment, determine the gap between current and desired diversity outcomes, and identify existing enablers of and barriers to diversity. To accomplish this, it will engage the community through focus groups and individual meetings to seek perspective on the University’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to diversity. The Task Force will also gather data about effective practices and diversity outcomes at peer and aspirant institutions.
Finally, the Task Force will consider what broad strategies we should pursue institutionally to fulfill these aspirations across a range of core domains and functions (for example, hiring, research, instruction, engagement, outreach, and others). It will identify policies, processes, practices, and plans that can be developed or strengthened to enrich the University’s environment, Increase consciousness about privilege and bias, foster inclusion and mutual respect, and elevate diversity as a priority. Furthermore, in light of these aspirations and strategies, the Task Force will examine what organizational and functional arrangements can best support our diversity goals.
Dan Weiner, Co-Chair
Vice Provost for Global Affairs
Dana Wilder, Co-Chair
Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Diversity
William Jelani Cobb
Associate Professor of History and Director Africana Studies Institute
Associate Vice President and Title IX Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
Board of Trustees
Environmental Health & Safety Manager
Davita Silfen Glasberg
Associate Dean for Social Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Professor of Sociology
Assistant Vice Provost, Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation
Associate Professor in Community Organization and Associate Director, Human Rights Institute
Assistant Vice Provost for Career Development
Professor of Educational Psychology and Director, Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability
Erin K. Melton
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Associate Dean, School of Business
Associate Professor of Political Science
Associate Professor of History and Director, El Instituto
Director, Asian American Cultural Center
Executive Director, Office of Residential Life
Program Specialist, Graduate School