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Ongoing Initiatives

Diversity Committees

Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Srividya Ramasubramanian, srivi@tamu.edu

Within the College of Liberal Arts there are two types of diversity committees. The first is at the Dean’s level and the second is at the department level. The Dean’s diversity committee is made up of representatives from the departmental diversity committees. These committees exist to stimulate programs, share successful strategies, and brainstorm new initiatives. Some of the issues that the committee focuses on include:

  • What makes students uncomfortable in the classroom?
  • How can the committee help faculty?
  • How do students react when something happens in the classroom?

IIDEA – Innovations in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability Grant

Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, and students
Frequency
Annually
Contact
Srividya Ramasubramanian, srivi@tamu.edu

The College of Liberal Arts values greater inclusion, diversity, equity and accountability within the campus community. The objective of this grant is to invigorate our college life with sustainable ideas that will further the goals outlined in our college strategic plan and commitments as well as the university’s strategic initiatives (see https://liberalartscommunity.tamu.edu/html/strategic-plan.html for more information).

Bright Horizons (formally SitterCity)

Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Srividya Ramasubramanian, srivi@tamu.edu

Bright Horizons offers the most comprehensive online care base with proprietary matching technology for child and pet care. Whether you’re experiencing a breakdown in your normal child care, looking for an after-school sitter, have adult/elder care needs, or need someone to walk the dog — Bright Horizons Care Advantage™ is here for you.

Common Ground Reading

Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Steve Oberhelman, s-oberhelman@tamu.edu

This initiative seeks to have first year students in the College of Liberal Arts to all read a common book, and then use that book for learning experiences throughout their first year of college. This is a diversity initiative since the book always has a diversity theme woven into the story that allows the student to consider how difference is perceived, and how they personally work with some of these issues of difference.

Regents’ Scholars Initiative (RSI)

Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Steve Oberhelman, s-oberhelman@tamu.edu

This is a learning community for the students who are selected as Regent’s Scholars in the College of Liberal Arts. Typically this includes about 20 students, many of whom are racially underrepresented at Texas A&M. The learning experience for students focuses on success in college and developing leadership skills. There is a weekly class associated with this learning community, which is one hour each week. This experience also includes an abroad experience during spring break, so that students will learn about the value of international experiences (since many of them have not had this opportunity).

Departmental Indicators of Success

Frequency
Ongoing

As an indicator of success, diversity has been factored into merit allocation pools and reviews of department heads since 2003. The indicators of success on diversity document the departments’ permanent contributions in diversity (e.g. curricular offerings, permanent recruitment programs, climate and inclusion, etc). Each of the twelve departments under CLA have come up with different kinds of initiatives to address the indicator of diversity, including recruiting and mentoring students from under-represented groups, increasing the percentage of minority and women faculty, and having speakers from underrepresented groups for their conferences, etc.

Certification of Applicant Pool

Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Patricia Hurley, pat-hurley@tamu.edu

The purpose of the program is to increase representation of minority and women scholars in the faculty pool by proactively and aggressively recruiting minority and women faculty. Department Search Committee contacts scholars (minority and women) to solicit nominations or applications. Applicant pools are required to have representation across variables including race and gender before an offer can be extended.

Collaborations with Community Colleges

Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Srividya Ramasubramanian, srivi@tamu.edu

The College has developed relationships with community college systems in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth. College recruiters make visits to each system and work with college advisers with the goal of enrolling more underrepresented students into Liberal Arts as a college of first choice.

Collaborative MOU with Prairie View A&M University

Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Srividya Ramasubramanian, srivi@tamu.edu

The TAMU College of Liberal Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences at PVAMU have entered into a formal collaboration, approved by the upper administrations of both universities, that includes having TAMU doctoral students teach classes and act as good-will ambassadors at PVAMU, which funds the teaching costs. The grad students are also expected to encourage PVAMU high-achieving undergrads to consider going to graduate school.

Vision 2020 Fellowships

Frequency
Annual
Contact
Patricia Hurley, pat-hurley@tamu.edu

The College created these graduate fellowships to augment Diversity (and Merit) fellowships.

Aggie Agora (Democracy in Action)

Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, and Students
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Jennifer Mercieca, mercieca@tamu.edu

The Aggie Agora’s mission will be to provide an intellectual and organizational hub through which scholars, students, and the community will engage in discussion and debate on public questions and controversial issues. The Agora will be a center for facilitating public discourse and political engagement on campus and in the community. The Agora will regularly host visiting speakers and public debates addressing important issues or local, national, or international concern. The Agora will serve as a facilitation training center and host Difficult Dialogues and other events directed at promoting civil discourse, diversity, and inclusion. The Agora will organize Debatewatch and other events designed to bring students into the political process. The Agora will support Texas A&M’s Forensics (Parliamentary Debate and Individual Events), Mock Trial, and Moot Court learns. The Agora will coordinate community outreach through Urban Debate programs, Community Difficult Dialogue events, and Prison Education programs.

White Violence, Black Resistance project

Target Audience
Undergraduate Students
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Amy Earhart, aearhart@tamu.edu

White Violence, Black Resistance (WV, BP) seeks to digitize a broad set of primary documents related to interactions of race and power. A collaborative project between Prairie View Texas A&M University and College of Liberal Arts, White Violence and Black Resistance teaches students research, recovery and digitization skills while collecting materials related to race in Texas. The project is connected to interventions into current structures of production through the digitization and dissemination of materials about white violence and black resistance found buried in difficult to access rare book rooms, crumbling newspapers, analog and/or transcribed oral histories, and unknown journals. The ongoing projects present an activist model grounded in the classroom where undergraduate students are participants in canon expansion while learning valuable research and digital literacy skills.

Brazos Valley Reads

Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, Students, Community
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Susan Egenolf, s-egenolf@tamu.edu

Brazos Valley Reads, now in its eleventh year, is a community effort organized by Texas A&M University’s Department of English with extensive support from various groups in the University and the community. Each year the BVR committee selects a featured work and author; the author visits the Brazos Valley in the spring, meets with students at TAMU who have read the author’s work, creative writing faculty and students, and local high school students. The author also gives a public reading, accompanied by discussion and a book signing. BVR has invited internationally recognized authors including Ernest Gaines, Sandra Cisneros, Tim O’Brien, Sherman Alexie, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Julia Alvarez to College Station/Bryan. The BVR 2015 author is Geraldine Brooks for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel _March_. Our readers range from teenagers to retirees with book clubs at the public libraries and independent book clubs as avid participants in the program. Tayari Jones’s visit for her novel _Leaving Atlanta_, about the Atlanta child murders of 1979-81, included an additional reading at the Brazos Valley African American Museum and a visit with the Boys and Girls Club BookUp Texas kids program. The featured BVR works offer a diverse range of characters in complex life situations with the philosophy that works in which there are not easy or obvious positions to take, can be productive, an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our neighbors.

Diversity Science Cluster

Target Audience
Faculty
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Jyotsna Vaid, Department of Psychology, jvaid@tamu.edu

Consisting of a cluster of 9 faculty and several graduate students from different subfields of psychology with interests in pursuing research on diversity as it relates to a range of dimensions (ethnicity, race, age, language, gender). This initiative led to the department doing a search for an assistant professor in Fall 2014 and the search resulted in the hiring of Dr. Vani Mathur, whose research is on the social cultural neuroscience of pain. She will be joining the department in Fall 2015.

Code of Civility

Target Audience
Faculty
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Joe Feagin, Department of Sociology, feagin@tamu.edu

The Department of Sociology at Texas A&M University recognizes the following general principles about civility, ethics, and conduct as central to our mission as an academic and professional community. Our goal is to promote a positive, collegial atmosphere among all members of our departmental community, including faculty, staff, and students. To this end, it will be departmental policy and expected that everyone will be treated with mutual respect.

Difficult Dialogues

Target Audience
Undergraduate Students
Frequency
Ongoing (goal of 1 dialogue/semester)
Contact
Tasha Dubriwny, Department of Communication, tdubriwny@tamu.edu

In this initiative, undergraduate students (open to all majors) are invited to take part in a structured dialogue about a difficult issue pertaining to diversity, climate, and inclusion. Students are given information (gathered by the Diversity Committee) about the issue and the engage in a debate. Emphasis is placed on the value of civil dialogue as a means to approach controversial issues.

Communicating Diversity Conference

Target Audience
Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Frequency
Annual
Contact
Tasha Dubriwny, Department of Communication, tdubriwny@tamu.edu

Our annual student conference provides a forum for undergraduate and graduate students to showcase, share, and engage in discussions about scholarship on communication and diversity. The conference has been held annually since 2012, and is now open to students from institutions of higher education across Texas.

Diversity and Pedagogy Orientation

Target Audience
Graduate Students
Frequency
Annual
Contact
Tasha Dubriwny, Department of Communication, tdubriwny@tamu.edu

Held at the beginning of the school year during the Department of Communication’s graduate student orientation week, this hour-long session covers issues related to diversity and inclusion in the classroom. Among other things, the session offers “best practices” to graduate students for handling difficult discussions in the classroom and ideas for incorporating material related to diversity into course syllabi.

Africana Studies – Faculty Curriculum Workshop

Target Audience
Faculty
Frequency
Annual
Contact
Violet Johnson, vmjohnson@tamu.edu

This initiative is an opportunity for faculty members across campus, but in particular those in Africana Studies, to review their syllabi and discuss trends in the discipline and avenues for integration of diversity and emerging pedagogy into teaching and learning opportunities.

Africana Studies – Lecture Series

Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, Students
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Violet Johnson, vmjohnson@tamu.edu

There are a series of scholarly lectures that occur throughout the year which seek to bring light to issues regarding Africa and its Diaspora.

Hispanic Studies – Lecture and Programs

Target Audience
Faculty, Staff, Students
Frequency
Ongoing
Contact
Irene Moyna, moyna@tamu.edu

There are a series of scholarly lectures that occur throughout the year which seek to bring light to issues that are important to the Hispanic community, both locally and internationally. Not only are these an opportunity for scholarship and information dissemination, but these sessions seek to motivate and inspire students and faculty at TAMU.