Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
IN-50: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Nathan King
Sustainability Manager
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Engagement: Unfinished Conversations on Race

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

On June 5, 2020 the Office for Inclusion and Diversity hosted a program called "Unfinished Conversations on Race" in response to national news over the tragic death of a black man at the hands of police sparking protests across the US. The discussion involved President Tim Sands, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke (VP for Strategic Affairs and Diversity), and Dr. Michelle Deramo (Assistant Provost for Diversity Education). Its purpose was to launch campus-wide discussions about how the university, in its capacity as a university, should respond. The video of this discussion can be found here: https://youtu.be/puVHSv0d-rs The online audience could submit questions throughout the discussion and over 300 questions were recorded. Those questions were an excellent starting point to spark future conversations and inform outreach/education opportunities.

This event coincided with the dissemination of educational and training materials on anti-racism, advancing campus diversity, justice, and several other pertinent topics. A guide was also created for faculty, staff, and students to assist them in facilitating meaningful conversations around diversity and racial equality. For example, a guide covered "Juneteeth" as a topic for discussion 2 weeks after the event. Virginia Tech observed Juneteeth as an official holiday for the first time on June 19, 2020 while Virginia Governor Ralph Northam pledged to support legislation to make Juneteenth a permanent official state holiday in the future. The guide gave a history of Juneteenth, training to lead discussions, helpful questions to provoke thought, and links to additional resources. Departments were encouraged to take a look at their policies and structures to ensure that they are supportive of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The "InclusiveVT" program is the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (that I may serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. The program is administered by the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, and an expectation that each organizational unit will fully take responsibility for these issues. InclusiveVT has four major goals: Institutionalizing structures to promote sustainable transformation; Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity; Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate; and Advancing the academic mission through inclusion and diversity.

The Unfinished Conversations series has continued throughout the Fall 2020 semester and included conversations with Virginia Tech's first African American Student (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpgkknUMOgo), Virginia Tech's Athletics Director (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RP_bTvdZQU), White Men as Allies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez7xBSXMOuo), the authors of The Little Book of Racial Healing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdZ0VTQBLAg&t=1573s), and White Women as Allies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOLCnnR_Y9g).

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Diversity & Affordability

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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