Campus Climate Report Message

Campus Climate Action Plan - Sept. 22, 2021

Dear Stetson University Community,

We are proud of the work the Stetson community has undertaken over many years to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We have confirmed what we as a community do well, and through the input and independent work of working groups, departments, committees, and organizations across the university, we identified useful steps for the next stage of DEI work at Stetson.

As a university, we recognize that additional work is needed to systemize equity and justice work into our curriculum and in our policies and practices. We also recognize that people across the university are working tirelessly in various capacities to meaningfully instill inclusive values at Stetson. We remain thankful for everything the Stetson community does for each other and for the university.

This cover memo summarizes the process undergone through our most recent studies and provides a preview of four phases recommended for advancing university-wide efforts. We propose a two-year plan designed to reaffirm the values and recommendations learned from the campus climate process. The plan is divided into four stages: 1) Building a Culture of Respect; 2) Cultivating Strong and Collaborative Relationships; 3) Fostering Opportunity and Sustainability; 4) Planning for our Future. Stetson University will maximize the opportunities presented in this Action Plan to refine its diversity and inclusion goals for the overall Stetson University strategic plan.

A. Summary of the Process

The Stetson Culture Working Group determined that the group would follow a three-step process that would incorporate feedback and edits from everyone in the group. The three-step process was as follows: Step 1.) Identify some of the key concerns about the Current Normative Behaviors within Stetson’s culture based on the 2020 and 2016 Climate Surveys and each working group member’s experiences and insights; Step 2.) Analyze the Values Gap between Stetson’s overall values and the norms identified in Step 1 and determine as a group four primary areas of concern (“gaps”) to focus the working group’s recommendations; and Step 3.) Provide short- and long-term recommendations on ways to help diminish the gap between the norms and values identified in Steps 2 and 3, wherever they may be.

The Inclusion and Transparent Communication Working Group gathered data and discussed solutions through the following methods: Meetings and discussions with individuals and groups, including with colleagues, our individual offices and departments, and groups such as the Faculty Senate; A review of both the 2016 Rankin & Associates Consulting Campus Climate Assessment Project and the 2020 Pryor Educational Consultants Stetson DeLand Campus Climate Survey, identifying areas of concern related directly to communication; A form soliciting feedback from the community; Discussions among working groups and in four subgroups, which were focused on coordination of communication, crisis response, team and colleague communication, social media, and transparency.

The Stetson Relationship with DeLand Working Group engaged in more data gathering from the DeLand and Stetson communities through focus grouping and surveying, and reviewing existing resources, such as the City of DeLand 2050 Report.

B. Description of the Two-Year Plan

Following this extensive process after the 2020 Climate Report, the major principle emanating from the working groups and community work is the need for Stetson University to embark on a process and a campaign that will instill an inclusive culture and presumption of respect in all aspects of the university.

See below for a condensed timeline proposed for the Stetson Campus Climate Action Plan. The full two-year plan is also attached as an exhibit and includes more detail with references to the three working groups’ full reports, which are also attached as exhibits.

Within the Action Plan, there are multiple opportunities for the community provide feedback and ask questions through the channels outlined below. These opportunities include a University-wide webinar, an online form, and office hours with Stetson’s new Executive Officer for Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion, Carmen Johnson, who is overseeing the strategic implementation of the action plan.

Campus Climate Status Report - Jan. 12, 2021

From President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD, and Lua Hancock, EdD, vice president of Campus Life and Student Success, and Michèle Alexandre, dean, JD, College of Law, co-chairs of the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team. Posted Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021

Dear Stetson University Community,

As part of our yearlong climate study process, we are providing a status report of our work to date. We continue to support and organize university resources to move forward toward equity and justice, as we promised when we launched the climate survey last year. Our university is a community of lifelong learners and diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to the achievement of our mission as well as integral to the teaching and learning experience.

This year’s climate work is community driven, involving all constituencies, with active participation from university leadership and concrete commitments from the President’s Cabinet. Together, we will move forward on specific actions to build a healthier, inclusive and vibrant community with each of us committed to our community’s growth, education and optimization. Listed below are the various components of our inclusion work for the remainder of the academic year.

WORKING GROUPS

The working groups discussed in the open forums in the fall have been organized and named, and initial meetings either took place prior to the December break or are set for January. We are grateful to the faculty, staff and students who requested to serve on these groups and those who volunteered to co-chair the groups. Each group is co-chaired by a combination of a staff/administrator and a faculty member. 

The three working groups—Stetson Culture, Inclusive and Transparent Communication, and The Relationship Between Stetson and DeLand—along with their charges, membership and cabinet liaisons are available here.

CABINET COMMITMENTS AND ACTIONS

At the request of the president each university cabinet member, representing all academic and administrative areas in DeLand and at the College of Law, was asked to work with their areas to suggest immediate and near-future actions they might take to help further diversity and equity efforts at Stetson University. A draft of cabinet commitments is available here. Many of them represent concrete actions and activities, some already in progress.

RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY STATEMENTS

As you know, 2020 was a pivotal year for increased awareness and accountability on the issue of race in the United States. The reaction at Stetson mirrored the nation’s overwhelming grassroots support toward addressing issues of racial inequity and injustice. To help our community understand the breadth of commitments made at Stetson, we have captured them here.

2021 AND THE ROAD AHEAD

The beginning of the new year is a time of great hope and anticipation. We look forward to supporting the efforts of the working groups and all involved in inclusion work. To that end, the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team (working with the university cabinet) has created a timeline for actions and activities. We also invite all members of the community to participate in a virtual event celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

We have seen many positive steps within our community during this past year, and will soon announce a President’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. We look forward to your return to campus and our continued work together on these important initiatives. 

In community, 

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Message to the Stetson Community

Posted Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

These are transformative times for our university and the world. In the midst of it, we have been inspired by the myriad ofexamples of open, engaged, collaborative and inclusive discussions, work and decisions taking place on our campuses among students, faculty and staff. That type of climate is critical to Stetson’s commitment to deep learning and to the stellar education it is known for, and ultimately, for the long-term success of our students and the institution. 

These values are so vital that they have been incorporated into the university’s strategic plans going back a decade and most recently in our Roll Ahead Strategic Map. Nonetheless, any plan is only as good as its sustained action, and we cannot change what we do not measure, so in 2016 the university launched its first Campus Climate Survey. Years of hard work followed, work that cannot be underestimated. Our thanks to the members of the Equity and Inclusion Group in DeLand, the Diversity and Inclusion Group at the College of Law, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as well as student groups like the Multicultural Student Council and the organizations within it, and the Student Government Association. Additionally, many offices, academic departments and individuals have worked to strive towards more equity in their areas of influence. Your work has kept this effort alive, and you are right to hold us accountable for results.

The results of the 2020 Campus Climate Survey are here. They are a snapshot in time of how our community is experiencing their education and social life, their teaching and research, and their jobs and careers at Stetson. The university has made some positive improvements since the 2016 survey, but there are areas that we must address. We are not immune to the issues of sexism, elitism, racism, ableism and divisive communication that plague our country.

 As a community, we are committed to overcoming these systemic issues and to reflecting the best “us.” We are all too aware of the tragic events in Wisconsin, Minnesota and elsewhere, and the racial injustice in our communities that has sparked unprecedented protests across the nation, and actually, across the globe. Many of us are angry, hurt and confused, but many of us also are motivated to foster real change in ourselves, our communities and our nation-and at Stetson.

Together, through our climate work, we have an opportunity to do just that.

Included below our signatures is a timeline for how we foresee informing the community of the results and offering open forums with the primary researcher, and moving forward.

We won’t summarize the report, nor guide your reading of it. We want you to discover the information it contains, come to your own conclusions and join one of our open forums. This is how we can learn together.

In the coming weeks, we will seek your impressions, input and feedback. We will ask for your guidance, counsel and suggestions on plans to move forward, and we will request your participation and support. Simultaneously, Stetson’s leadership will continue to discuss findings of the report. President Roellke and Cabinet will collaborate to charge relevant members on aspects of these issues.

This is how we can change together. You can see that we have created a timeline that lasts much of the Academic year. That is for two reasons: during the time of COVID many of our community members are especially taxed and need time to do this crucial work well and, both communication and transparency are mentioned in the survey as an area for improvement, so the shared process that we use to come to measurable outcomes is key.

We will host two open webinars with John Pryor, Pryor Education Insights, the research agency that oversaw the survey Thursday, Sept. 17, 4-5:30, for the DeLand community, and Tuesday, Sept. 22, 5-6:30, for the College of Law community. These sessions will also be recorded for those who cannot attend.

You will receive an email invitation to these events next week.

In community,

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