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Rise to Excellence

A Special Edition from the Office of the President

The President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity (PCHRE)

Fall 2012 Issue - Respect for Difference

AcademicsCampus LifeCampus Events

Fresno State is a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), reflecting the rich diversity of Central California.



Click here to view upcoming cultural or diversity-related campus events.

What is the PCHRE?

The President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity (PCHRE) was launched in August 2011 and led by Dr. Ellen Junn.  In January 2012, Cynthia Teniente-Matson was appointed as the commission chair.

The PCHRE was created to address two critical areas:

  1. Affirming the President’s Diversity Statement by creating a Diversity Plan that aligns with the University Strategic Plan; and
  2. Leading the creation of a diversity plan that shall be dynamic and reflect the rich human diversity of experiences, values, world views and cultures that make up the fabric of the Central Valley. The plan shall include specific goals, strategies and indicators.

How to Get Involved:

An Update from the PCHRE Chair Cynthia Teniente-Matson

The President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity (PCHRE) has been diligent in its effort to complete a comprehensive three-to-five year diversity plan that facilitates the implementation of Fresno State’s Strategic Plan.  At the end of the 2011-12 academic year, the commission circulated a high-level overview of the draft Diversity Plan and its four-related themes.

Theme One:  Supporting Student Access and Educational  Success

Theme Two:  Recruiting, Developing and  Supporting Employees

Theme Three:  Promoting and Supporting Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship

Theme Four:  Affirming a University Culture of Inclusion, Respect and Equity

Each theme is supported by the Association on American Colleges and University’s (AAC&U) 2007 monograph entitled Making a Real Difference with Diversity: A Guide to Institutional Change, which is based on research obtained from the Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI), funded by the Irvine Foundation, which aims to strategically improve campus diversity at 28 colleges and universities in California. This comprehensive study provides the diversity framework that has been adopted by the PCHRE in its efforts to create a plan that integrates the four dimensions of diversity: 1) institutional viability and vitality, 2) access and success, 3) education and scholarship and 4) climate and intergroup relations.

During spring 2012, members of the commission served as ambassadors of the diversity initiative by attending approximately 26 meetings and speaking with over 500 participants. At each meeting, interactive feedback was received and documented to ensure that the final plan reflects both campus and community input. Across our university, there is much work related to diversity, equity and inclusion that is going well and we applaud and commend this. However there is still more we could be doing. Ideally our plan will articulate how the university community might work towards being more personally knowledgeable and institutionally capable of reaching our goals with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The overarching goal of the series of campus wide meetings to share the draft Diversity Plan was to:
Raise Awareness, Increase Knowledge and Build Capacity to Achieve Excellence through Diversity.

Throughout summer 2012, Cynthia Teniente-Matson and Nina Palomino organized the comments to ensure that the PCHRE could review and address the campus feedback.  There were several important suggestions that were made such as:

  1. Ensure that the plan has clarity for the various audiences (students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, campus volunteers, visitors, etc.)
  2. Provide sufficient detail for accountability and action; and
  3. Create appropriate working definitions for diversity, inclusion, equity and cultural competence. 

The commission is currently reviewing and revising the plan with the intent of circulating an updated version that incorporates feedback and addresses campus and community input.

What are the Next Steps for the PCHRE?

The PCHRE intends to electronically circulate the revised version of the plan through the original 26 groups, the Committee for Faculty Equity and Diversity (CFED) and the Academic Senate by mid-November.  An online mechanism will exist for feedback, along with a couple of campus wide open forums for in-person dialogue.  A recommendation with the final plan will be submitted to President Welty by December 15, 2012.

Working Definitions for Diversity (As Proposed)

Diversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, language, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social  differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual identity, country of origin, and ability status as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) that can be engaged in the service of learning.

Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase one's awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within [and change] systems and institutions.

Equity (student focus): The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.

Source:  Association of American Colleges & Universities Website, 2011

Equity (employee focus): The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations of employees (faculty and staff) to have equal access to professional growth opportunities and resource networks that are capable of closing the demographic disparities in leadership roles in all spheres of institutional functioning.

Source: Clayton-Pedersen, 2011; Adapted from the University of  Southern California's Center for Urban Education's Equity Scorecard™

Cultural Competence: The state of having and applying knowledge and skill in four areas: awareness of one's own cultural worldview; recognition of one's attitudes toward cultural differences; realization of different cultural practices and worldviews; and thoughtfulness in cross-cultural interaction. Over an extended period of time, individuals and organizations develop the wisdom and capability to: 1) examine critically how cultural worldviews influence perceptions of power, dominance and inequality; and 2) behave honorably within the complex dynamics of differences and commonalities among humans, groups and systems.

Inside this Issue:

Strategic Plan for Excellence IV CORE VALUES:

Student success that leads to lifelong learning and rewarding careers.

Respect for difference.

Solutions-oriented engagement with Central California challenges.

Ethical citizenship and stewardship.

Responsible and open inquiry, dialogue, and expression.

Integrity-based leadership.