New York Tech has long recognized the strength that stems from a diversity of perspectives, values, ideas, backgrounds, and beliefs. Now, with the establishment of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B), the institution also has a dedicated team working to ensure that all members of the New York Tech community feel recognized, welcomed, and valued.
Expanding upon New York Tech’s existing DEI&B policies and procedures, the office, which launched in spring 2022, will spearhead multiple initiatives to deliver on a key objective of New York Tech’s Strategic Action Plan: Strengthen New York Tech’s Commitment to Equity and Inclusion.
“While New York Tech is often recognized for having one of the most diverse student bodies in the region, with that comes a responsibility to create and sustain an inclusive campus culture that ensures access to meaningful teaching, learning, and working environments,” said Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Medical Officer Brian Harper, M.D., M.P.H. “Having this dedicated office will allow students, faculty, and staff to fully embrace what it means to be a diverse campus community—an environment where all members can reach their full potential.”
The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2022 ranked New York Tech no. 2 in New York State and no. 8 in the United States for Environment, a pillar that measures inclusion, diversity, and international student representation.
In addition to Harper, the Office of DEI&B’s professionals include Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Evette Allen Moore, Ph.D., Equity Officer and Title IX Coordinator Melissa D. Pond, Esq., and Project Coordinator Xenia Torres. The team will serve all of New York Tech’s campuses, with Allen Moore based at NYITCOM-Arkansas and Harper, Pond, and Torres based at the Long Island campus. The DEI Advisory Board, which includes members of the former DEI Task Force (disbanded as of August 31, 2022), will also work closely with the team.
To meet the objective set by the Strategic Action Plan, the Office has set five key pillars/goals:
- Community partnerships: Extending New York Tech’s reach among underrepresented and minoritized groups will require the institution to establish trust within these communities. Given this, the team will seek to build and strengthen relationships with external partners, including local faith-based organizations, K-12 schools, and philanthropic entities, among others. Outreach efforts will include community events and designating members of the New York Tech community to serve as community liaisons.
- Pre-college outreach and access: A college degree is critical in achieving upward mobility. To encourage and prepare students from underrepresented and minoritized backgrounds to pursue a college education, the team will establish and maintain relationships with local high schools, with a focus on those serving underrepresented communities. These relationships may also help to ensure that New York Tech maintains its diverse student body in the future.
- Retention and student success: In order to ensure that all New York Tech students, regardless of background, have equitable access to learning opportunities, the team will regularly assess student retention, degree completion, and career success (in coordination with the Retention Committee), identify primary student success and retention barriers, and develop action plans to address these challenges.
- Inform: The team will recurrently meet with student groups and administrators from New York Tech’s six schools and colleges and hold campus-wide town hall discussions regarding the Office’s ongoing efforts to address the Strategic Action Plan’s DEI&B objectives. In addition, the team will regularly educate the community regarding other vital information, including how to report incidents of harassment and discrimination, and New York Tech’s DEI&B-related policies, such as the university’s preferred pronoun policy.
- Culture and climate: Striving to promote and nurture New York Tech’s inclusive campus culture, the team will inform the community about existing safe spaces, such as interfaith rooms and areas, lactation rooms, gender-neutral restrooms, and other designated spaces (both physical and virtual). The team will also perform regular employee DEI&B training and hold ongoing dialogues with community members to identify existing gaps for identity- and affinity-based groups.
Previously, New York Tech undertook its first climate survey in October 2021. The findings have allowed the Office of DEI&B to acquire a baseline for DEI perceptions and a benchmark against which the institution can measure future progress. Learn more about the survey.