The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collaborative is a collective of over 18 voluntary task and action groups. Under the leadership of and with support from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Student Transitions, each group is led by a faculty member, a staff member, and a student, who work in tandem with their respective volunteer members to effectively implement their intended initiatives on campus.
Although the action groups cover a variety of areas, from campus beautification to intra-cultural competency training, the DEI Collaborative is engaged in ongoing work that increases the awareness and appreciation of diversity on campus and in society at large. Through the implementation of programs, activities, and events, the Collaborative endeavors to build a sense of unity within and across cultures.
Originally called the Multicultural Program Committee, the group was formed in 1990 on the heels of the University’s first Unity March in 1989. The Unity March was an expression of racial unity and positive, proactive action by Utica University students at a time when racial tensions were particularly explosive throughout the nation and on many college campuses. A full history of the March can be found on our Unity March webpage.
The mission of the DEI Collaborative has expanded over the years to include issues of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, etc.
Want to get involved? Contact Project Manager Meghan Jordan at email@example.com to learn about joining the Collaborative.
The DEI Collaborative was established as the “Multicultural Program Committee” in 1990. After a series of incidents at Utica University, other local colleges, and in the Utica community drew attention to the divisions that still existed between members of our community based on race and ethnicity, Utica University spearheaded the first Unity March in 1989.
One of the activities most associated with the Multicultural/Diversity Committee/DEI Collaborative is the Unity March. Some information about Utica University Unity Marches follows:
- First Unity March occurred in 1989. This event was a response to incidents that had occurred on several campuses in the area, and was both a protest that such situations continued to occur and an expression of the belief in our ability to live together in harmony.
- Unity Marches initially were called “Candlelight Unity March for Racial Harmony”, and participants marched in the evening from Oneida Square to City Hall.
- In 1991, Unity March was advertised as the “Unity March: A Celebration of Diversity”, but primarily addressed racial and ethnic diversity. By 1992, the focus of the march had broadened, and co-sponsors included not only student organizations such as the Black Student Union and the Latin American Student Union but newly formed groups such as the Womyn’s Resource Center and the Gay and Lesbian Student Alliance.
- Every Unity March included members of local colleges and the community; some came because they were explicitly invited, while others would see the March was occurring and simply join us.
- Other activities that took place at some of the marches included banner contests, marching with candles (or lighting candles at end of march), and guest speakers or presentations before or after the march.
- Eventually the format for Unity Marches evolved into a pre-march rally with speakers, then the march from Oneida Square, a gathering and speak-out after the march and, occasionally, post-march activities (such as a play, panel discussions, etc.). The route for marchers took students, faculty/staff and community members from Oneida Square through the surrounding community and back to Plymouth Bethesda Church for the post-march speak out. The final Unity March in 2003 ended at Pratt Institute as part of a collaborative effort between Pratt and Utica University students.
- Unity Marches became a powerful expression of the belief in the gifts diversity brings to our campus and our communities, but also affirmed the need to talk with each other and understand each other in order to better support each other. You can see those concepts expressed in the eventual banner design that was used for several years, in which the words “Community” and “Unity Through Diversity” encircle the words “Peace and Justice” Include design here
- The Unity March began to lose its relevance as a student-initiated event, and eventually became less representative of a strategy for the campus community to express our belief in the value of cultural diversity. As a result, the Diversity Committee suggested that the campus move towards a Multicultural Retreat in the spring of 2005 in order to bring members of the Utica College community back together to take a look at the ways in which Utica University is diverse, what the climate at Utica University is like in terms of being inclusive and welcoming, and raise issues that still need to be addressed.
The DEI Collaborative has been involved in a number of other activities in response to needs of the Utica University campus. Such activities include:
- Peer leadership program (1992) – was intended to develop, implement, and assist in programming related to issues of diversity and multiculturalism on the Utica University Campus. The intention was for this group to serve as a liaison, when their assistance was requested, between students, faculty, and the administration at times of racial or cultural crisis or tension. This program does not currently exist at Utica College.
- Train-the-trainer programming with Hamilton College and Colgate University (1995)
- Funding creative programming focused on cultural diversity (2002-2003)
- Other programs, such as a flag presentation day and a multicultural fair, were initiated by the Diversity Committee and incorporated into regular programming planning by offices such as the International Programs office and Student Activities.
The DEI Collaborative welcomes the participation of any member of the Utica University community - students, staff, or faculty!
To become a member, contact Mark Kovacs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Andrea Casuras||Assistant Director, Center for Student Success|
|Anthony Baird||VP & Chief Diversity Officer, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Student Transitions|
|Ashlea Schad||Director of Development, Advancement|
|Brian Gleitsmann||Senior Assistant Director, Admissions|
|Christine Leogrande||Director of Media Relations, Marketing & Communications|
|Ciara Parrish||Assistant Director - Alumni & Student Engagement, Advancement|
|Cicily Talerico||Professor of Practice, Occupational Therapy|
|Civita Allard||Associate Professor of Nursing|
|Corinne Tagliarina||Adjunct Instructor of Government|
|Crystal Santiago Cora||Student|
|Deborah Wilson-Allam||Executive Director, International Education|
|Dorothy Obernesser||Assistant Professor of English|
|Dymond Howell||Counselor/Tutorial Coordinator, Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)|
|Elizabeth Nassar||Director, Academic Business Development|
|Ellen Smith||Associate Professor of Nursing|
|Jasper Wojtach||Retention/Tutoring Coordinator, TRiO Student Support Services (SSS)|
|Jessica Amerosa||Assistant Director, Office of Learning Services|
|Jillian Szeliga||Benefits Coordinator, Human Resources|
|John Ossowski||Clinical Counselor|
|Kathleen Cullen||Associate Professor of Education|
|Kelly Minerva||Assistant Professor of English|
|Kira Maddox||Communications, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Student Transitions|
|Laurah Klepinger||Assistant Professor of Anthropology|
|Lisa Green||VP, Human Resources-Personnel Development|
|Lynne Ferrara||Adjunct Lecturer of Music|
|Mark Kovacs||Executive Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Student Transitions|
|Mathew Vincent||Assistant Director, TRiO Student Support Services|
|Margaret Hemstrought||Assistant Professor of Wellness & Adventure Education|
|Meghan Jordan||Program Manager, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Student Transitions|
|Nina Nguyen||Project Manager & Senior Administrative Assistant, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Student Transitions|
|Patrice Hallock||Professor of Education|
|Rayna Orsino||Assistant Director, Admissions|
|Sam Berry-Sullivan||Reference Librarian|
|Samantha Marocco||Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy|
|Shakha John||Network Administrator, IITS|
|Stacy Phelps||Coordinator, International Education|
The Utica University DEI Collaborative is soliciting nominations for the "Excellence in Fostering a Diverse Campus Community" Award. This award will recognize the dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to promote diversity at Utica University by fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus community through their actions, collaboration, and influence.
The Utica University DEI Collaborative has established three awards:
- One award will be given to a Utica University employee (faculty, staff, or contract employee).
- One award will be given to a Utica University student (undergraduate, graduate, on-campus, or distance).
- One award will be given to a Utica University student club or organization.
Members of the Utica University community are encouraged to submit nominations for employees, students, and student clubs or organizations online at http://tinyurl.com/UCDiversity. Previous award recipients are eligible to receive another award after a three year time period (see recipient chart below).
Nominations must be completed no later than [DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED]. The awards for the Utica University student and club or organization will be presented during the Student Affairs Student Recognition Brunch in April. The award for the Utica University employee will be presented during the Employee Recognition Ceremony in May.
If you have any questions, please contact Kateri Henkel, Chairperson of the Diversity Award Sub-Committee (792-3032), or the Diversity Committee at email@example.com.
Previous Award Recipients:
Year of award
Name of recipient
|2019||Omega Phi Beta||Organization|
|2018||Theta Phi Alpha||Organization|
|2016||Balck Student Union||Organization|
|2015||Africa in Motion||Organization|
|2014||Omega Phi Beta||Organization|
|2014||Damian Paco Santiago||Employee|
|2012||Anthony De La Rosa||Student|
|2009||Todd Hutton||Employee (President)|
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Utica University
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