Campus News

Summit to address issues of diversity, inclusion and social justice at UB

Concept of diversity and inclusion.


Published March 17, 2021

headshot of Amy Reynolds.
“Until we work together toward these key goals, our efforts will continue to be incremental and fall short of what UB is truly capable of accomplishing. ”
Amy Reynolds, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology, and chair
Inclusive Excellence Summit planning committee

As institutions across the U.S. address longstanding problems concerning diversity and race, numerous conferences, talks and workshops have been organized to help people learn and take action.

Deciding which events to attend can often be difficult.

But here’s one that members of the UB community won’t want to miss: On April 8, the Office of Inclusive Excellence will host the Inclusive Excellence Summit, with a daylong virtual agenda that centers on advancing diversity and inclusion at UB.

One session will share hiring practices that can reduce barriers to racial inequality and create a fair and equitable search. Another will discuss best practices for improving the campus climate for underrepresented graduate students.

Others will cover the importance of lived experiences; the concept of democratizing knowledge in community-university collaborations; UB’s plans for increasing inclusion for students, faculty and staff with mental health challenges; the future of inclusive restrooms at UB; universal design on campuses; and many additional topics.

In all, the conference features 25 sessions and workshops that highlight practices, research and initiatives across the university that support diversity and inclusion.

Waverly Duck, a 2020-21 UB Center for Diversity Innovation Distinguished Visiting Scholar, will deliver the keynote address, “A Nation Divided — The High Cost of Tacit Racism in Everyday Life.” Duck is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and author of books including, “No Way Out: Precarious Living in the Shadow of Poverty and Drug Dealing,” and “Tacit Racism,” co-authored with Anne Rawls. His research involves several projects focusing on gentrification, displacement and food apartheid.

To view the full event program and register, visit the Inclusive Excellence Summit website. The conference is open to UB faculty, staff and students. Attendees should register by April 2.

“The summit represents a forum both to learn how to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion at UB, and to build the community needed for deep and lasting institutional change,” says Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence and professor of architecture. “Across the broad spectrum of work showcased, we seek to provide — even in a virtual space — opportunities to connect with others so that our efforts become increasingly collaborative and informed by the excellent work being undertaken by our colleagues.”

“The purpose of the Inclusive Excellence Summit is to highlight the good and important work that is being done across our three campuses to dismantle anti-Black racism, address institutionalized white supremacy culture, and further our efforts toward creating an equitable, diverse, just and inclusive university,” says Amy Reynolds, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology, and chair of the summit planning committee.

“Until we work together toward these key goals, our efforts will continue to be incremental and fall short of what UB is truly capable of accomplishing. I hope that all of the participants take away awareness, knowledge and a renewed commitment to doing this important work.”

In addition to Reynolds, members of the summit planning committee include:

  • Kevin Ahuna, director, Intercultural and Diversity Center.
  • Miranda Bosse, graduate student and public health ambassador, School of Public Health and Health Professions.
  • Chris Bragdon, assistant director for residential life, Campus Living.
  • Jessica Byerly Coram, assistant director, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Mary Clare Fahey, assistant director for residential inclusion initiatives, Campus Living.
  • Rave Glynn, graduate student, School of Social Work.
  • Kelli Hennessy, director, Organizational Development and Effectiveness.
  • Vivian Jimenez, director of tutoring and academic support services, Office of Student Success and Academic Support.
  • Danielle Johnson, senior adviser/coordinator, Daniel Acker Scholars Program.
  • Terrence McCormack, interim associate university librarian for digital strategies and associate librarian, Lockwood Library.
  • Sharon Sanford, associate athletic director for recreation and sport management, Division of Athletics.
  • Noelle M. St. Vil, assistant professor, School of Social Work.
  • Jodi Valenti-Protas, staff assistant, Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence.
  • Connor Walters, vice president, Graduate Student Association.
  • Christopher Wilson, change management specialist, Organizational Development and Effectiveness.