Author Archives: Paula Brown

President’s Response: Moving Forward Embedding Diversity Policy

DATE:        May 23, 2016
FROM:       Eric J. Barron
TO:             James A. Strauss

Thank you for the opportunity to review the Advisory and Consultative reports (Diversity Best Practices and Moving Forward Embedding Diversity Policy), which were prepared by the Joint Diversity Awareness Task Force (JDATF) and passed by the University Faculty Senate on April 19, 2016.

I appreciate the Task Force’s hard work and effort that was dedicated to the preparation of each report.  I would like to retain both reports as informative references as we look to implement the University’s Strategic Plan and more specifically our section on Fostering and Embarking a Diversity World.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to review these items.

Cc: Blannie E. Bowen
Daniel R. Hagen
Nicholas P. Jones
Marcus A. Whitehurst

President’s Response: Diversity Best Practices

DATE:        May 23, 2016
FROM:        Eric J. Barron
TO:              James A. Strauss

Thank you for the opportunity to review the Advisory and Consultative reports (Diversity Best Practices and Moving Forward Embedding Diversity Policy), which were prepared by the Joint Diversity Awareness Task Force (JDATF) and passed by the University Faculty Senate on April 19, 2016.

I appreciate the Task Force’s hard work and effort that was dedicated to the preparation of each report.  I would like to retain both reports as informative references as we look to implement the University’s Strategic Plan and more specifically our section on Fostering and Embarking a Diversity World.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to review these items.

Cc: Blannie E. Bowen
Daniel R. Hagen
Nicholas P. Jones
Marcus A. Whitehurst

Revision of AD84 Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy

DATE:          April 18, 2017

FROM:         Eric J. Barron

TO:              James A. Strauss

I have reviewed the Advisory and Consultative report, Revision of AD84 Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy, which was passed by the University Faculty Senate on March 21, and concur with the report.  By copy of this memo, I am asking Thomas Poole, Vice President for Administration, and Susan Basso, Vice President for Human Resources, to implement the recommendations.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this item.

cc:  Susan McGarry Basso
Blannie E. Bowen
Daniel R. Hagen
Nicholas P. Jones
Thomas G. Poole
Marcus A. Whitehurst

 

President’s Response: The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits, the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, and the Health Care Advisory Committee: Coordination of Duties,

DATE:           March 31, 2017

FROM:           Eric J. Barron

TO:                 James A. Strauss

Thank you for the Advisory and Consultative report, The Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits, the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, and the Health Care Advisory Committee:  Coordination of Duties, which was passed by the University Faculty Senate on January 24, 2017.   I have reviewed the document, and discussed its recommendations with David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, and Susan Basso, Vice President of Human Resources. I will address each of the recommendations below.

  1. I have asked David Gray, who also is Chair of the Health Care Advisory Committee, to ensure that the Chairs of both the University Faculty Benefits and the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits continue to have permanent membership and serve on the Health Care Advisory Committee.
  2. I have asked Susan Basso to assign member(s) of the Human Resources Compensation and Benefits Center of Expertise to collaborate with the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits each year and to produce an annual report which will be sponsored by the University Faculty Benefits committee. This report will provide a summary of benefit changes, changes under consideration, costs to the University and employees, and other issues discussed during the previous calendar year.
  3. I have asked M Basso to ensure the ad hoc committees that are formed that involve the review of the University’s benefits program include representation from the Joint Committee on Insurance and Benefits, the University Faculty Benefits Committee and the Health Care Advisory Committee.

I applaud and support the Senate’s desire to create an inclusive and collaborative approach in providing guidance to senior administration in making decisions regarding health care benefits for all employees of the University.

cc:   Susan M. Basso
Blannie E. Bowen
Daniel R. Hagen
Nicholas P. Jones

 

President’s Response: Addressing Issues of Classroom Climate and Bias in the Classroom

DATE:      April 4, 2017

FROM:       Eric J. Barron

TO:            James A. Strauss

I have reviewed the Advisory and Consultative report, Addressing Issues of Classroom Climate and Bias in the Classroom, which was passed by the University Faculty Senate on January 24, 20 17. I concur with the report, but hope that the one recommendation is just the beginning of Senate discussion and recommendations.

All faculty, students, and staff have the opportunity to help create an ‘inclusive climate at Penn State, especially for those who may be perceived as different.  We can all work to become more familiar with the impacts of stereotype threat and implicit bias on our students and their learning, as well as on our faculty.  I encourage all academic units to explore the opportunities noted in the report and identify additional ways to address inclusiveness and diversity within the context of the unit’s goals.

The report makes a number of important points including that while many instances of bias may be unintentional, they can still have a negative impact on the recipient.  A wide variety of individuals experience bias and/or exclusion based on visible or invisible characteristics and by assumptions made about their identities. While bias based on race, color, ethnicity/culture, gender, sexual identity, national origin/ancestry, and religious/spiritual beliefs is generally well-known, other biases are given less attention (ability, age, veteran status, and physical appearance) but are equally important.

The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has already implemented the report recommendation by making available on line resources to help faculty address issues of classroom climate and implicit bias.  The resources are available through the Schreyer Institute’s Tools & Resources repository (schreyerinstitute.psu.edu/tools) by entering the terms “inclusive teaching” in the search box.

While the worksheet included as Append ix A in the report may be used individually, it is important that users not treat it or any other resource as a “checklist” or a prescription.  No faculty member is likely to use every strategy, nor would using all of them guarantee an inclusive learning environment. Creating an inclusive environment requires effort, attention, and intention. The worksheet from which the activity is drawn, Teaching Inclusive Courses, provides context for use and activities to generate interest in the research that prompted development of the strategies.  It also provides a forum for faculty to give voice to their own questions and concerns.

cc: Nicholas P. Jones
Angela Linse
Marcus Whitehurst