Action Against Racism at Silver

As part of the Silver School’s efforts to address the challenges of racism and to build a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse School, the Dean and members representing the School’s Executive Committee, the Silver School Senior Leadership Team, the Social Justice Praxis Committee, and the Student Affinity Groups came together on February 28, 2019, to identify short-term action steps, timelines, and committees designated to oversee progress with each action step. The School recognizes that eradicating racism requires changes at multiple levels—personal, interpersonal, and structural—and that this initial list of actions represents only a small part of the work that is necessary for long-term sustainable change in creating a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.

In May 2019, the Faculty of the Silver School voted in favor of endorsing a resolution, Education Against Racism at NYU, passed by the NYU Tenured Faculty Senators Council (T-FSC), which calls for the University to provide anti-racism education for its faculty, students, staff, and administrators; designate support and resources across all schools and departments to empower students of color; and conduct yearly evaluations of its anti-racism practices.

The information below is updated as of November 2019, and will continue to be updated to reflect additional progress. Full committee listings are linked in each action below but may also be accessed at the committee contacts page. Any general questions or comments may be directed to silver.dean@nyu.edu.

MSW PROGRAM CURRICULUM

  • Goal: Review and revise MSW program curriculum with respect to social justice, critical theories such as critical race theory, and anti-oppressive practice.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: MSW Program Committee
  • Timeline: Ongoing and throughout the 2019-2020 academic year
  • Update and Next Steps: With the assistance of the lead instructors, 25 student volunteers, and five faculty volunteers, the Committee has begun reviewing the MSW curriculum. Lead instructors joined two committee meetings that were devoted to discussion of the most salient points of Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Standpoint Theory, and Anti-Oppressive Practice. The Chairs have started convening work groups for reviewing and revising courses within each curriculum area; each work group includes five student volunteers in addition to lead instructors and/or other faculty.
  • Contact: silveraction.curriculum@nyu.edu

PEDAGOGY SUPPORTS

  • Goal: Bolster the capacity of full- and part-time faculty to navigate and address discussions on racism and other forms of bias and exclusion, and to facilitate self-reflection with regard to these issues in the classroom.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Pedagogy Working Group
  • Timeline: Ongoing
  • Update and Next Steps: The Pedagogy Support Working Group was convened this fall and meets on a monthly basis. The Group began by creating a set of committee intentions aimed at disrupting traditional power dynamics that can serve to maintain the status quo. They identified two key priority areas for the year: (1) Developing a Peer Consultation Program (PCP) to share best practices for building faculty capacity in anti-oppression and inclusive pedagogy through formal and informal training opportunities, (2) Providing anti-racism training to faculty and staff to support self-awareness and a shared framework to anchor our pedagogy. They will launch the PCP this fall with an inaugural event, a Silver Pedagogy Talk, consisting of a faculty panel discussion and breakout sessions on strategies for cultivating inclusion and community in the classroom.   
  • Contact: silveraction.pedagogy@nyu.edu

ADMISSIONS APPLICATION

  • Goal: Revise the admissions application to further examine prospective students’ values with respect to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Ad hoc Admissions Subcommittee
  • Timeline: Changes implemented for the 2019-20 admissions cycle
  • Update and Next Steps: The revisions to the MSW Admissions application were successfully implemented, intended to better assess prospective students' values with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and their understanding of core social work principles. The application changes include updates to the essay questions and to the guidelines for reference writers, and they were completed in time for this year's current admissions cycle.
  • Contact: silveraction.admissions@nyu.edu

Anti-Racism Training

  • Goal: Develop and host new mandatory day-long anti-racism training during new student orientation in August 2019.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Office of Inclusive Engagement and Student Life, MSW Program Committee, and MSW Program Director
  • Timeline: Fall Orientation completed; planning for spring orientation is ongoing
  • Update and Next Steps: A committee of faculty, students, and staff organized and implemented a new Anti-Racism Training for all our incoming MSW students at Fall Orientation this past August. Featuring a lecture by Professor Linda Lausell-Bryant and adjunct and alum Amanda Mays and followed by affinity group caucuses, this new orientation training received positive evaluations from participating students, and the committee is now working on planning anti-racism training forspring orientation. The School’s BS, DSW, and PhD programs also each incorporated anti-racism training into their respective orientation programming this year. 
  • Contact: silveraction.studenttraining@nyu.edu

BIAS RESPONSE PROTOCOL

  • Goal: Implement bias response protocol for students experiencing racial bias and discrimination in class and in field placements.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Bias Response Working Group
  • Timeline: Ongoing, with proposal to Dean by December 2019
  • Update and Next Steps: The Bias Response Working Group continues to meet to develop and refine the protocol a student can take to address a bias incident/situation. The Group is close to finalizing a schematic of the protocol, and met with Colleen Maeder, the Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, to review NYU's procedures on Conflict Coaching and to gain more understanding of Restorative Justice frames. The Group is working to better articulate the process a student might take to address a bias incident that involves a faculty or staff member, and anticipates completing a proposal for the Dean by December.
  • Contact: silveraction.biasresponse@nyu.edu

SOCIOEMOTIONAL SUPPORT

  • Goal: Institutionalize ongoing socioemotional support for students of color.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Student Affairs/Socioemotional Support Working Group
  • Timeline: Ongoing
  • Update and Next Steps: The "Defining Socioemotional Support" survey that was distributed at the beginning of summer 2019 received 103 responses. In the survey, the committee asked participants to define socioemotional support and outline ways in which Silver could provide socioemotional support for students of color. The committee then sent out a second survey asking the community to prioritize broad categories of ways Silver can provide socioemotional support such as "people," "events," training," etc. The committee is in the process of identifying existing University and Silver-wide resources under each category to identify existing gaps.
  • Contact: silveraction.studentsupports@nyu.edu

DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

  • Goal: Hire an administrative leader on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the School.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Silver Dean, Chief of Staff, and Social Justice Praxis Committee Subcommittee
  • Timeline: Ongoing, with interviews continuing through the end of the fall 2019 semester 
  • Update and Next Steps: A total of 185 applications were received after the job was posted in July 2019, and the search committee identified 16 for the initial round of interviews. Upon completion of those interviews, six semi-final candidates were selected for group interviews with the Silver community, which will be completed by mid-November 2019. The finalist candidates will be invited to interview at Silver prior to the end of the fall semester.
  • Contact: silveraction.search@nyu.edu

ASSISTANT DEAN FOR DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

  • Goal: Hire a senior leader to provide ongoing attention and advance progress on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the School.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Faculty Search and New Appointments Committee and Silver Dean's Office
  • Timeline: Ongoing and continuing into 2019-20 academic year
  • Update and Next Steps: The Faculty Search and New Appointments Committee (FSNAC) and Silver Dean’s Office developed a position announcement in September 2019 and the job was posted shortly thereafter. FSNAC is reviewing applications and will begin interviewing candidates in early 2020.
  • Contact: silveraction.facultysearch@nyu.edu

SCHOOLWIDE SELF-ASSESSMENT

  • Goal: Identify ongoing additional areas for future improvement related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Silver School.
  • Point Person(s)/Committee: Silver Dean, Executive Committee of the Faculty, and Social Justice Praxis Committee
  • Timeline: Initiate work in Fall 2019 and continue throughout academic year 2019-2020
  • Update and Next Steps: The Schoolwide Self-Assessment, aimed at identifying areas for future improvement related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, officially kicked off in mid-October with meetings led by external consultant Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy and his team. More than 200 faculty, staff, and students have signed up for the sessions, which are scheduled to run through early December, with an anticipated initial report of findings in early 2020.
  • Contact: silveraction.climate@nyu.edu