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Chancellor's Council on Inclusion

Chancellor’s Council on Inclusion
Meeting Minutes
July 28, 2005
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Council Members Present:

Amy Batiste
Rita Cheng
Larry Martin
Guillermo Cuautle
Diane Amour
Kim Beck
Angela Ewing
Enrique Figueroa
Nancy Frank
Anthony Hightower
Jim Hill
Gregory Jay
Ester Johnson
Sandra Jones
Sally Lundeen
Mary McCoy
Ruth Russell
Erika Sander
Cathy Seasholes
William Velez
Dev Venugopalan
Gary Williams
Neil Young

I. Welcome and Introductions (Co-chairs)

Dr. Rita Cheng is this month’s facilitator.

Campus Updates:

  • Council chairs met in July and worked through today’s agenda items
  • Work in progress for multicultural student support office; schedule to open Fall 2005
  • Working with AOC staff in regards to student services on campus
  • Streamlining Admission and Enrollment initiatives
  • Working on the Access to Success initiative
  • Dept Chairs Retreat; per Dev Venugopalan, individuals responsible Dev and Scott Edmans; scheduled for August 30th at UWM - CE campus downtown; discuss campus unit training.
II. Ombuds working team –(Larry Martin)

Larry Martin framed the discussion. Dev Venugopalan facilitated.

Three questions were posed to stimulate/focus discussion. Responses are from Council members.

  • Should we have one?
  • Model options (Faculty and Staff)
  • Dean of students ombuds role (enhanced connections)

The facilitator began the discussion by stating;

  • the idea came from the taskforce on climate for women
  • people do not know where to go to voice their concerns/issues
  • person walks away feeling their concern was not addressed
  • how to address the “defensive routine” before situation spirals out of control; the accused feels violated and goes into the defensive routine
  • if a third person (ombudsperson) was there to listen and provide directional resources

Comment: The University Committee should be viewed as the campus ombuds for issues involving faculty. Other approaches are a “band aid”.

  • the person cannot go to the immediate supervisor
  • the University Committee serves as the consultant/facilitator for issues involving faculty.
  • some Deans have ombudspersons in place (associate deans)


  • Many felt that the University committee is not viewed as such. Where would a student go with a concern? Perceptions have a lot to do with it, and most would not think of going to the U committee in an ombuds role if they are not faculty. Some chairs see the U committee as mediators – some don’t. It would be very daunting and uneasy for students to approach this committee as advocates.

Question: What should an ombuds program look like and what do they do?


  • Provide both functionality and advocacy
  • Function should include level of counselor, skilled, knows and understands the “ins and outs” of the system
  • Advocacy should include assessment – making sure the institutional process is being followed
  • Must exceed expectations
  • The ombudsperson should not be an investigator, but a listener
  • They should be referral, advocacy and a mediator
  • Should be looked at in terms of cost savings – How can this office support other campus offices and departments?
  • Point of entry/referral for conflict resolution – students need to know where to go
  • Do we need an ombuds? If it can’t resolve the concern, the answer is NO. If it can – the answer is YES.
  • Academic staff and governance are involved in mediation
  • Functionality clearly defines an ombudsperson as an advocate (there are different levels of expertise on campus. The ombuds office can give people a hand and help to bring closure)
  • Less confidence in the system and the ombuds is an alternative source. People are constantly rotating in and out of campus committees. Ombuds is a nice compliment. Must know the scope of issues or define the issues for the ombuds. Is it only diversity issues? Perceptions must be taken seriously.
  • Context is a big part
  • Ombuds must be unbiased.
  • Neutral/confidential. Reference was made to a good model on UW-Madison campus
  • Expertise and continuity over time is important
  • In terms of expertise – must look at professional history and specifically trained people
  • In terms of continuity – must maximize turn over ratio – not enough stability
  • What type of structure are we trying to create? (should the office be independent? Will it have the power to do something? Perceptions/misunderstandings are real between people, but there are real problems – real discrimination issues)
  • Alleged discrimination should go to our Legal office and Equity Diversity – that is not the ombuds role
  • What about redundancy? Situations/behavior in which it is repeated over and over again. The same problem keeps coming up. People never learn from their errors. “Double loop” learning problem. Ombuds model should be an action learning program.
  • Reluctant to go to immediate supervisor
  • “Chilling” effect for students to go to faculty ombuds/committee
  • Perception of independence is important
  • Need a team of people
    • intercultural communications skills
    • understand policies
    • capacity to relate to all people (faculty, staff, students)
    • advocate for fairness
    • not an investigative person
    • a listener
    • knowledge to refer to appropriate places
    • mediation role/counseling
    • honest mistakes can be aired and solved rather than ratcheting up to the level of complaint
  • Ombuds office should have the power to solve problems
  • clearly communicate what ombuds can do to have credibility
  • look at potential for cost savings
    • reduced load of cases/complaints
    • related cost savings $, emotional costs
  • relation to existing processes through governance structure
    • Ombuds can help people into referrals
  • University Committee, ASC have mediation role for the entire campus but they can be daunting for community & students
  • Governance bodies are not consistent with mediation (rotation) – ombuds services are needed
  • Need to define scope
  • What are other campuses doing?

Working team volunteers:
Enrique Figueroa, Mary McCoy, Erika Sanders, Anthony Hightower/staff, Ruth Russell, Cathy Seasholes, Diane Amour, Antonio Ramiez

ACTION: The working team will bring an initial report back at the next meeting, and continue to report at upcoming meetings.

III. Report from Diversity Training Team (Dev Venugopalan)

Diversity Training should be a comprehensive program involving faculty/staff/students

1. Climate/Civility

a. lack of respect of people

2. Communicate intercultural issues

a. How do we communicate

3. Effective supervisory skills that relate to behavioral issues
4. Classroom Climate issue

a. conduct in a classroom in a diverse climate
b. different teaching styles for diverse cultures

5. What skills students need to have to function in a multicultural/diverse settings

a. Does our current curriculum address this?

6. Employment

a. Look at how to conduct searches to enhance faculty/staff diversity

7. Compliance Issues

a. do’s & don’ts
b. different levels of sophistication. Some people are further along in understanding multiculturalism
c. modular approach

8. There should be a case study base approach
9. Training module set up for units, depts.


  • There should be flexibility. People should be open to training, as long as it is not obligatory
  • There is an advisors network. They will have the same training for consistency
  • There seems to be a disconnect between faculty and students – there needs to be accountability
  • Governance needs to be engaged
  • Deans/chairs are not being accountable
  • Should there be a reward/penalty system to help people become more accountable?
  • Look at long term vs short term goals
  • Diversity training “tag” should be professional development to ensure inclusion vs exclusion
  • Cultures and Communities was created to help bring diversity to campus.
  • Diversity is a tricky word.
  • We should be asking the hard questions.
  • Our campus conversation has to change.
  • We should look at the demographics. Where do the students come from?
  • It should be priority to have faculty look at the demographics and understand diversity in the classroom
  • Perhaps some of the GER requirements/classes can address demographics
  • Individual is in most control. During the hiring process ask the question…what type of cross-cultural experience the job candidates have?

ACTION: Group will continue to meet and report out. The comments will be incorporated into their working group discussions.

IV. Campus updates (Rita Cheng)

Rita provided summary and updates on the following items:

  • Access for Success continues to move forward
  • Assessment measures in place
  • Action plan for 2005-2008 is being formulated
  • More work to do in terms of measures and collection of data – specifically breakdowns and details by colleges/programs/schools, etc…
  • Need to know if we are making an impact

    Employment update in terms of diversity

    • Thirty-two (32) Faculty members hired for Fall, 2005
    • 16/16 male to female
    • Twenty-three (23) Academic staff

Next meeting date:

August 25, 2005
Union E280
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM