April Newsletter: Provost Update – SJSU Celebrates Diversity and Promotes Inclusion

University settings bring together people from many different backgrounds in a collaborative environment. This is especially true at SJSU, where we have one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. This month’s newsletter highlights the many ways our life experiences influence our interactions, creating a rich climate for innovation and learning for all members of the SJSU community.

For the past two years, I have been privileged to serve as co-chair of the President’s Commission on Diversity. We have made strides in fostering a dialogue around diversity and inclusion, most recently in April when we held a discussion on the 2015 Campus Climate Survey. Students, staff and faculty members were invited to a presentation on the survey results and then provided with an opportunity to share their feedback in focus groups, while also expressing thoughts on moving toward a more inclusive community. This month also marks the appointment of the first-ever SJSU chief diversity officer, Dr. Kathleen Wong(Lau). She will lead the Office of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. I invite you to join us in finding ways to advance our efforts together.

As provost, I am especially proud of the African American and Chican@/Latin@ Student Success task forces, which have been working hard for more than two years to build a sense of community for underrepresented minority students. The task force members have hosted a multitude of activities, such as the Adelante study breaks and the Essence of Blackness cultural celebration. These task forces began as part of Academic Affairs, but are now moving to Student Affairs where they will be managed by the new AVP for Retention and Transition Services. I remain committed to these efforts and this realignment will allow us to more effectively support student success priorities across divisions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and faculty members who have served on the task forces, and encourage all of you to join this collaborative effort to connect students to the campus in meaningful ways.

In Academic Affairs, we have also been building more opportunities for students to engage in international experiences through faculty-led programs, online exchanges in on-campus classes and research projects with overseas partners. We recognize the growing relevance of global citizenship in educating college students. Global citizenship encompasses an ability to work with people from around the world, but it also creates empathy between people with different backgrounds, experiences and histories. I encourage you to learn more about how we can provide students with these opportunities by connecting with colleagues in the College of International and Extended Studies.

Andy Feinstein
Provost and VP for Academic Affairs

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