By Christopher Suarez
As diversity increases on campus, The College at Brockport has been working to improve a long-overlooked problem with a strategic five-year plan. Along with this plan, Dr. Cephas Archie was hired in late August of 2017 and has made it his responsibility to change the dynamics of the campus and create a more diverse, inclusive community.
This plan was in response to the SUNY higher ups requiring all SUNY Universities to have a strategic plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The plan was mandated to be done by Nov. 1, 2016.
With this new plan, Brockport hopes to achieve achieve a balance of representation and staff by. The main goals of the program is improving accessibility and implementing mentoring. The college also hopes to achieve a balance of representation in student body by analyzing target high schools and a space/needs analysis. Although the timeframe outlined on the plan is five years, the college hopes to achieve all its objectives much sooner.
This strategy was well-needed on this campus. Before the 2011 fall semester, there was less than 800 undergraduate students that were non-white or Asian. The strategy included a URM vs. Non-URM student count between 2011 and 2015. URM stands for underrepresented minorities and that includes African Americans, Hispanics, and other races that are not white or Asian.
According to brockport.edu, in the fall semester of 2011, there were 887 URM undergraduate students enrolled in the college. As of 2015, the number of undergraduate URM’s increased by 110 students resulting in 1,269 URM students in the college.
Dr. Archie had recently been the diversity and inclusion program coordinator/specialist at Houston Community College. He said he has come a long way to change things here at the college and he feels like there is a great system set in place to do that.
“I see a commitment from institutional leadership, the community and the student body. Working collaboratively is the only way true change can be obtained” said Archie.
Dr. Archie said he was willing to work with anybody he could to achieve the goal of diversity.
“An intentional emphasis of my work will be to guide the institution,including administration, to embrace the viewpoints, perceptions and experiences of ‘others’ as equitable in value, honoring the contributions and merit of all persons whether represented or not represented here at the institution,” said Dr. Archie.
On February 8, Dr. Archie held a cultural address and spoke to all the minority students on campus. The event was held in the McCue Auditorium and the seats were full of minority students waiting to hear what Dr. Archie had to say. There were statistics brought up and the students listened as Dr. Archie broke down what he wants from them and what his steps are moving forward.
Events like the cultural address and the diversity conference are all moving this college the way it needs to go. Major steps have been made toward the improvement of equity, diversity, and inclusion with more work on the horizon. With the new strategic plan and a fresh face to coordinate it, the future is looking bright for diversity here on Brockport’s campus.