The March meeting took place from 9:00 – 10:30am on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Benson 401B/D.
Dr. Erica Still – Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion
Dr. José Villalba – Professor of Counseling and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer
Providing updates on the work of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity, and Community.
Where have we been?
Campus climate issues are a decade old, some may say 40, 30, 20 years old. The commission is a direct response to yearbook posts and social media incidents in the last year. (José has been at WFU since 2011, previously in Erica’s role). Discuss why we found ourselves where we did – successes/shortcomings.
- July 2019 announced/August members were announced – 35 on commission (student, staff, faculty, alum, Board of Trustees)
- Provide a set of recommendations that were actionable
- Do a best practices review of what other institutions were doing to address inclusivity.
- Collect new data/information.
- Other tabs on website are for other commissions.
- 6 different committees in commission
- Meets every month. Minutes are on the website for reference. Committees meet 1/ or 2/month.
- The president has only had two other commissions – FYE and LGBTQ.
Where are we now?
- Draft recommendations from all 6 separate committees. Roughly 24 recommendations. Report will be given to the president in April, then the Board of Trustees will look at recommendations, decide which to pursue/follow.
- Transparency – the report will be posted online within the next couple of months.
- Job of the commission is to provide recommendations, not determine the value/priority of these.
Significance of commission in the community
- There has been a sense of eagerness of community members to be part of the commission and a sense of seriousness about the work that the commission would do. This affirms that we name the places where we see inequity, where we see what they could be, and how we can make our community better.
- Complex issues – simple goals. There are no easy answers (if there were, we wouldn’t have a commission)… we are asking hard questions. What is motivating us? What are we trying to achieve? What we are aiming for is straightforward – making Wake Forest the kind of community where every member of the community can be their best self, put forth for the greater good. Individual and community effort is put together for the good of humanity everywhere. We are willing to do the work because we remember why we are doing it.
- We are impressed/encouraged by the willingness of the committee members to be uncomfortable. Outcome/goals of report… multiple people said they understand the work will be difficult to take on. We want to create a true sense of belonging. We are a community that has clear expectations, clear aspirations. We are willing to do the work to get there. This speaks to the community we are and where we want to be.
What happens next?
The next steps are beyond the Commission’s decision-making. Whatever plans are made, we will all participate. We will need people to do the work, put the recommendations into practice. We are hopeful for big and small opportunities for all of us to help make WF the place we want it to be. Keep looking for these opportunities.
How can this commission only last one year? (10 months…)
Previous commissions lived on in working groups/advisory councils. Which of the committees will live on? Which will be combined with others? Task is to fulfill the three charges – best practices/data/recommendations. There will continue to be opportunities to engage designed for members of the community to join. You may have additional opportunities to be involved as the Commission evolves into a task force, etc. Evaluation/Accountability – how do we suggest paths forward so there isn’t loss of momentum? The report will call for more in the future.
Institutional Equity Audit survey – Many survey takers found it confusing and wonder if it will be useful? Multiple folks started the survey and did not finish… general sense that participants didn’t know if it was capturing things that were important to us. It is useful in that it tells us what we don’t yet know. What institutional practices are we aware of across the university? If you don’t know, that tells us something useful. This shows we aren’t communicating as effectively as we could. Survey is part of a larger audit; it is not the only source of information. External audit from Equity Paradigm, very impressive proposal – equity survey, interviews across campus, artifact review. 4.02% response rate… why is it that we don’t know the University’s stance on Diversity & Inclusion? This external audit was a piece of the commission. Fortunately, there are at least two additional components to help us understand where we are, and where we need to be.
Eric Proctor (Director, Strategic Communications)
Kalin Griffin (Director, Inclusion & Strategic Initiatives)
Human Resources Office providing talent updates.
Our priority is the health and safety of the campus community. If you don’t feel well, don’t come into work. It is up to HR to be able to determine how you’ll best be covered. Focus on getting better and not getting everyone else sick!
Melissa Clodfelter is available to help departments determine essential functions. She is the central point of contact to ensure equity and consistency across departments.
Information on this page has been available before, now in one place. Wake Listens, Child Care surveys, Feedback. Review of policy content for equity. Changes to parental leave – both parents are eligible for paid leave (birthing – 8 weeks, non-birthing – 6 weeks).
Video link – We are far from finished…
What are our next steps?
Look at content of policies, how the policies are accessed (currently in pdf – how do we make these more widely available?)
Revamping the onboarding procedure. How do we communicate belonging from day 1?
Workday – equitable, performance-based salary changes.
Kalin Griffin – Joined WFU in May 2019, Recruitment and inclusion functions have been combined under Kalin’s leadership.
Inclusive search and selection toolkit is available to help the shared hiring across campus. This link shares best practices in higher ed as your department search progresses.
What does it mean to be an inclusive search? Am I required to hire a diverse candidate? How do you source the talent? How does the job description source your talent?
Recruitment team is automatically posting to inclusive sites such as DiversityJobs.
How do you make your committee aware of unconscious bias? Videos online. HR team is available to visit your group – you are an extension of our central HR team.
Bias interrupters checklist – campus life
CHRO office hours – specific sessions on PDC inviting campus members to chat directly with Carmen Canales.
BY-LAW MODIFICATION DISCUSSION
- By-Laws Change regarding the fringe benefits committee
- Buffi… align group a little differently – committee would stay on through October 31 (open enrollment for benefits)
- Once elections are complete, we will go ahead and set committees for next year right away (end of May if possible). Fringe benefits will have a “double” committee for June – October so there is overlap/background. This would be a commitment by new members to this specific committee, knowing they will extend their committee work through October 31, even if they roll off the committee or end their term in the Staff Advisory Council.
- Representing the change in the bylaws… in red…. Showing the exception of the Fringe Benefits committee.
*These changes to the by-laws were approved unanimously.*
PART-TIME EMPLOYEES DISCUSSION
- Are we thinking about part time employees’ benefits/experience?
- Could we designate someone on this council to organize meetings with part time employees?
- Are needs being met?
- Is anyone interested in serving as this advocate?
- Shakinah Simeona-Lee volunteered. Kathleen Hutton has part time employees at Graylyn who may be interested in the conversation.
- How many part time employees do we have? ~ 179… 60 temporaries, 109 PT without benefits, including Graylyn
- This falls into line with our diversity/equity conversation.
- Financial hardship based upon circumstances they cannot control. Encourage staff to reach out to the Chaplain’s Emergency Fund (requirement is that they have worked here for 90 days).
SAC will look into a payroll deduction option for the Chaplain’s Emergency Fund – we already have United Way and Arts Council.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORT-OUTS:
- Focusing on upcoming picnic. In the process of creating a promotional video of leaders on campus. This will be in mid-April. A letter coming from campus leaders encouraging staff attendance at the picnic.
- Payroll deductible meal plan survey … is there interest? Final stages of survey approval. Hopefully will be sent in the next month or so.
- Collaboration – final planning of food/activities.
Fringe Benefits – No updates
- Received 36 nominations for 32 staff, a few duplicates.
- 10 spots to fill with those rolling off; some are choosing to come back on.
- Emails sent to those nominated, requesting bio. 16 responses; 5 people have decided not to run – 11 have agreed.
- Ballots will be sent at the beginning of April.
- Committee assignments will occur much earlier this year, hope to complete in May so that we can have the fringe benefits committee set for summer.
- Next week is the meal at the Ronald McDonald House. If you wish to donate or volunteer for upcoming meals, please contact SACphc@nullgg.wfu.edu.
- Collecting donations through May, if not used for meals the donations will go directly for the house.
- Working with events for a “drive” during picnic.
- Deacs Do Good – Pro Humanitate Days, collecting books on campus or buying books for summer reading lists.
OUTSIDE COMMITTEE REPORT-OUTS:
Capital Planning Advisory – No updates
Parking & Transportation
Met on February 27 – reviewed 27 appeals.
For the March meeting we already have 40 appeals… we are working on streamlining the process, grouping together like appeals to save time.
Tree Advisory – No updates
Council on Inclusion and Diversity – No updates
Campus Rec Advisory Board – No updates
Professional Development Advisory Board – No updates
SAC member nominations are in! Elections are happening soon! Stay tuned to your email inbox, and be sure to vote!
April meeting: Guest speaker Bob Baker, from University Advancement, will join us to discuss the Wake Will Lead campaign and its impact on our campus.
Women’s Football Camp will be on July 21st, 6pm at Bridger.