Gift from SU Trustee Christine Larsen kick's off Maxwell DEI training
generous gift from SU Trustee Christine Larsen and Vincent Dopulos will support
diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training for graduate students at the Maxwell
School of Citizenship and Public Affairs over the next five years—a key initial
step toward realizing the school’s renewed vision for developing leaders and
educators who are committed to improving outcomes for all peoples.
The training framework comes from a
collaborative initiative by Syracuse University’s Office of Diversity and
Inclusion and InterFaith Works’ El-Hindi Center for Dialogue in the City of
Syracuse. Through the lens of lived experiences of people from different racial
and ethnic backgrounds, these dialogue circles teach participants methods of
constructive engagement across their differences thereby fostering greater
inclusivity. The gift-funded training will allow Maxwell to pilot three race
and ethnicity intergroup dialogue circles of 12-14 students each this spring, and
train 70 graduate students per year over the next five years. Student participants
will prepare to lead future dialogue circles with their peers, thus
accelerating the impact of the program. Participants will be empowered to use
these tools in personal, academic and professional spaces, strengthening
cross-cultural understanding and reducing racial, ethnic and cultural bias
within the Maxwell School and into their careers.
“We are grateful for this gift as it enables us to begin making
good on our commitment to creating a more diverse school, and to developing
more inclusive leaders,” said Gladys McCormick, associate professor of history and
Maxwell’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “We hope
this gift and others will galvanize the Maxwell community to engage with us in
this important work, which is central to our mission as an educational institution grounded
in the social sciences and committed to improving the public good.”
June 2020, McCormick, who holds the Jay and Debe Moskowitz Endowed Chair in
Mexico-U.S. Relations, was appointed to lead efforts around the creation of a
school-wide plan for catalyzing awareness and institutional change around
biases and structures affecting under-represented peoples within Maxwell and
beyond. In the fall of 2020, a draft of the preamble, vision and pillars of a
strategic plan was published articulating key elements in development.
Stakeholder input and community feedback—including from new affinity groups of
graduate students of color and international students, as well as the existing
faculty of color affinity group co-directed by McCormick—are ongoing.
In the first three years of the plan’s implementation, Maxwell
will focus its DEI initiatives on faculty, staff and graduate students. The focus
on faculty, teaching and curricula will have a trickle-down effect throughout
the School; and undergraduates currently benefit from campus-wide DEI
initiatives and programming offered through the College of Arts and Sciences,
Student Services, and the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Training
for graduate students is intended to fill an important gap while not
duplicating other efforts.
Larsen’s gift demonstrates her longstanding commitment to
promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at the Maxwell School. She has
generously supported similar Maxwell programs, including a pilot study to
assess community needs and assets among immigrants and refugees in the Syracuse
area. Larsen is a 1984 graduate of
Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool), with a master’s
degree in library and information science. She is a member of the University’s
Board of Trustees, and chair of its Academic Affairs Committee; and serves on
the iSchool’s Board of Advisors.
Registration for the first group of Race and Ethnicity Dialogue
Circles with Maxwell graduate students begins on February 15. Interested
graduate students should watch for more information forthcoming via email or
contact Kyaira Coffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view a draft of the Maxwell School’s DEI plan in development, and news about the School’s investments and milestones related to diversity issues, please visit the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Maxwell webpage.
To learn how you can get involved in Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University, which endeavors to raise $1.5 billion in philanthropic support to enhance academic excellence and the student experience for all, please visit syracuse.edu/foreverorange.