A message to the faculty of Woodbury University

When presenting to students participating in our university orientation event, I always impress upon them the importance their future designs, research, and creative scholarship will have in changing themselves, the communities they come from, and the world. They will find their voice, craft how to use that voice and then create narratives that have not been heard or seen before, from perspectives that have not been given access to speak. They will create films that show lives rarely seen, plan buildings that house the aspirations of new communities and break down physical barriers of injustice, design graphic communication collateral that questions the status quo, and develop research projects that disprove unjust stereotypes and ways of being. They represent powerful voices of change. I impress upon them the talents and commitment our faculty possess to guide them in the creation of their research and expression. When we witness the killing of black lives, and the silencing of their voices, we need to focus all of our talents to bring to light this injustice and eliminating racism, and use our commitment to articulate that Black Lives Matter.

We are angered over the murder of George Floyd and we are witnessing and living the expression of this anger. We have seen how this anger can affect change. We, also, can use this anger to construct positive change in our University. This week, the academic leadership met to discuss how we deploy the power of education to extinguish the forces that want to eliminate those voices of difference. When one voice is eliminated it threatens all those that speak for change. The Deans, University Librarian and Academic Affairs leadership began an initial discussion with their faculty to see how each school, the college and the library can respond to President Steele’s call to action in order to focus on creating change through the development of academic initiatives.

In President Steele’s email he provided an email address where all of us can give suggestions on how to take action. If faculty have additional initiatives or projects they think will provide a vehicle for change please add to this list by reaching out to their Department Chairs, School Deans, or through sending a message to [email protected]. I have seen how the faculty, staff and students at Woodbury can implement powerful initiatives to make changes necessary to thrive.

Academic Programming
– Develop strategy for re‐launching the Master of Arts in Social JusticeAcademic Initiatives: These initiatives are controlled by faculty. Faculty can decide to take on the issue of racism and injustice. The academic leadership can help support these initiatives through funding and administrative care.

  • Faculty Leadership Positions – Develop an initiative that adds faculty positions focusing on bringing sustained diversity, equity and inclusion into the academic programs. These positions could take the form of visiting faculty, full‐time faculty, administrative assignments for full‐time faculty or participating adjunct
  • Course Content ‐ Focus course content in existing coursework on issues of race, systemic racism, and social justice in the following topics: criminal justice, education, economics, health, environment, politics, and management of conflict, workplace diversity, marketing to and for underserved communities. These are just some examples collected by
  • Faculty Grants – Provide grants to faculty developing coursework dealing with issues of diversity, equity and inclusion such as social justice, and
  • Student Awards – Provide student awards for excellence in projects dealing with issues of diversity, equity and inclusion such as social justice, and


  • Public Forum – Develop academic colloquia, lecture series and forums that invite and collaborate between outside community and professional leaders with academic course

Allied Academic Initiatives: These initiatives need involvement with other stakeholders. Academic leadership can work with other stakeholders on campus to support these proposals.

  • Alumni Outreach ‐ Strengthen connections with our alumni of color
  • Student Organizations ‐ Increase support for organizations of students of color
  • Admissions ‐ Develop initiatives that increase admission of students of color
  • Summer and Outreach Programming ‐ Strengthen and provide access to summer programs focusing on underserved

These initiatives are in different stages of realization. Some are already included in our Strategic Plan, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan and Strategic Enrollment Plan, and some are beginning ideas that need further development and resources to realize. However, all of them can be brought to the top of our list of priorities. Our mission has always been to serve underserved populations. We need to focus that mission on eliminating the injustices our constituents experience. Administer is commonly understood to mean to manage or control the operation of something. It also means to provide assistance and bring aid. As part of administration I need to focus on providing assistance, and aiding the success and sustained implementation of these important initiatives and others that will emerge. That is my call to action.


Randy Stauffer
Sr. VP Academic Affairs

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