A message from Chevon Thorpe & Alan Grant
Re: CALS: A Call to Action
June 2, 2020
Dear CALS Community,
This past week has been plagued with nationwide protests and unrest after the tragic and senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. For many people, including members of our community, the level of pain, trauma, and hopelessness have become overwhelming. Today and every day we stand together with our Black students, faculty, staff, partners, collaborators, stakeholders, and the entire Black community.
As a global community committed to inclusion and diversity, we reaffirm our conviction that racism has no place in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – or anywhere.
Being the cornerstone of Virginia Tech’s land-grant mission, we are in a unique position to change the world and make it better for the next generation. The CALS Diversity Statement articulates our commitment to ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible climate for all students and employees. We recognize that awareness and the willingness to act with moral courage is essential. However, we must acknowledge that this is not enough. This is the time for action. In the words of President Sands and Vice-President Pratt-Clarke “we cannot continue to expect incremental change and the goodwill of the majority to solve a multigenerational problem.”
We empower every member of our college community to take individual responsibility and (re)commit yourselves to the VT Principles of Community. Let’s pledge to an intentional and unwavering effort to see one another as human beings and create learning and work spaces that reflect our fundamental and core values of community, diversity, and excellence. To succeed, all students, staff, and faculty must feel accepted, included, and respected.
Over the next few months, Chevon will be leading the development of a Diversity Implementation Plan in which we will identify specific action steps to address systemic injustice in programs across our missions. We are excited to continue our work as a college community, fully cognizant of individual differences. We are committed to empowering each individual to fulfill his or her potential for academic and professional excellence. Each plays an important role in planning, implementing, and realizing our goals. We can do no less if we hope to strengthen the fabric of our college for a dynamic future.
Alan Grant, Dean
Chevon Thorpe, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
Diversity in the college
In a global environment, multicultural awareness and the willingness to act with moral courage are essential. As a college, we are in a unique position to help shape our world.
We will continue to create learning and work spaces that instill the fundamental value of respect for diversity. To succeed, all students, staff, and faculty must feel accepted, included, and respected.
We are excited to continue our work as a college community, fully cognizant of individual differences. We are committed to empowering each individual to fulfill his or her potential for academic and professional excellence. Each plays an important role in planning, implementing, and realizing our goals. We can do no less if we hope to strengthen the fabric of our college for a dynamic future.
InclusiveVT College Diversity Initiatives
Initiative No. 1
Leadership training and communications (DOCX | 35KB)
Initiative No. 2
Civil Rights Training and Compliance (DOCX | 29KB)
Initiative No. 3
Inclusive Teaching Practices (DOCX | 29KB)
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is committed to ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible climate for all of its students and employees. We believe that the university's Principles of Community is both an institutional and an individual aspiration.
InclusiveVT is the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. The InclusiveVT structure supports a distributed model for inclusion and diversity. The structure is supported by InclusiveVT representatives in each of CALS's departments and Virginia Cooperative Extension and is anchored by the InclusiveVT mission and its diversity strategic plan:
- Institutionalizing structures that promote sustainable transformation.
- Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity.
- Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate.
- Preparing students for service (consistent with Ut Prosim) through an understanding of issues of identity, the human condition, and life chances.
What is the role of an Inclusive VT Representative?
Inclusive VT representatives provide leadership for community building and promoting a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible climate in their departments or colleges/administrative units. This role includes the following responsibilities:
- Working closely with the dean, department chair, or unit leadership to address issues of concern specific to their unit.
- Serving as a liaison with the Office for Inclusion and Diversity.
- Engaging with the college and unit's Diversity Committee or Council.
- Connecting with other InclusiveVT representatives for ideas and support.
- Connecting colleagues in each unit to caucuses, diversity training, programming, and opportunities.
- Mentoring/developing new diversity leadership in each unit.
CALS InclusiveVT Representatives
CALS has identified the following individuals as the InclusiveVT representatives for its units:
Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education
Agricultural and Applied Economics
Animal and Poultry Sciences
Food Science and Technology
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
If you have questions or concerns about your experience in your unit or want to build your understanding and participation in diversity programming, please contact your InclusiveVT representative(s).
College Diversity Enhancement Award
The Diversity Enhancement Award, established in 2006 by the Diversity Council of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recognizes outstanding diversity accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students in the college. Recipients will have demonstrated a commitment to diversity through teaching, research, Extension, or international programs.
- Dr. Randy Grayson, George Washington Carver Program for Graduate Students
- John Galbraith, associate professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
- Brielle Wright, graduate student, Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education
- Dixie Watts Dalton, adjunct faculty, Agricultural and Applied Economics
- David Winston, Extension specialist, dairy science
- Alinda Uzel, retired Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences; and
- Bobbie Potter, recruitment and community college liaison
- Susan Rosebrough, staff member, Biological Systems Engineering
College Diversity Incentive Fund
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences encourages faculty, staff and students to create new opportunities that increase the understanding of, appreciation for, and advocacy of diversity issues. The CALS Diversity Incentive Fund is specifically designed to provide support for new, innovative and creative approaches to raise awareness, engage learners, and change behaviors about diversity and inclusion within the academic community as well as the broader communities that the College serves. Examples of programs that may be supported include lectures, symposia, workshops, conferences, performances, assessment activities, and other innovative approaches for addressing diversity as conceived in the University‘s Principles of Community.
- 2015: Eric Kaufman, associate professor, Agricultural Leadership, and Community Education
Black History Month
Feb. 1 – 28
Consciousness: Caribbean Feminisms and the Politics of Knowledge
Dr. Tonya Haynes
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Friday, Feb. 22
Lavery Hall 350
Transformative Perspectives in Agriculture: A Personal Narrative
Monday, Feb. 25
6:30 p.m., followed by reception
Holtzman Alumni Center Auditorium
Transformation Perspectives in Agriculture: A Discussion with Nate Looney
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Join via Zoom or via Skype for Business
The Other Nègre: The Treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Uganda and South Africa
Tuesday, Feb. 26
LGBTQ+ Q*mmunity Support Group
Mondays, 5:30-7 p.m.
Squires 227, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center
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