Nov. 3, 2011
Administrative Restructuring: A Letter from President Armstrong
Dear Campus Community:
Just under two years ago, President Emeritus Warren Baker established the Office of Inclusive Excellence under Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Director of Ombuds Services David Conn. David had previously served for eleven years as Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Undergraduate Education and had, with others, championed Cal Poly’s adoption of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ "Making Excellence Inclusive" initiative.
Working with the Inclusive Excellence Council, David built an important bridge across the campus in an effort to ensure not only that all faculty, staff, and students feel welcome here and have the opportunity to succeed, but also that all students are well prepared to live and work in an increasingly diverse world. Among the initiatives pursued under his leadership were the training of a cadre of faculty and staff who now offer Inclusive Excellence "enhancement" presentations and workshops throughout the university and the implementation, on a pilot basis, of the Intergroup Dialogues program which helps students to better understand and communicate across differences in social identity. Working with Associate Ombuds Patricia Ponce, David also established Student Ombuds Services as a place where students can go to receive confidential, informal, independent, and impartial help in resolving university-related issues and concerns.
When it was first established, there was some uncertainty as to whether having a separate Office of Inclusive Excellence offered the best way to achieve the university’s diversity-related goals. At the time, an informal understanding was reached that there would be a two-year trial period. Although there has been demonstrable progress during this period, after consulting with David and other senior administrators, I have decided to pursue a different model which more clearly emphasizes that it is everyone’s responsibility to address diversity issues and campus climate issues in order to continually make the university a better place to learn and work.
Effective January 1, 2012, David will become the Associate Vice President for Institutional Review. He will work with his colleagues from across the university on completing the WASC reaccreditation process, for which he has provided oversight as the Academic Liaison Officer since its inception in 2007. With the approval of Cal Poly’s strategic plan, we are moving forward on several innovative initiatives. David will also analyze the campus administrative policies and conduct an overdue review and update of the campus-wide structure of committees to better align with our strategic imperatives and serve our campus’ current and future needs. This important work will benefit the entire campus. In Winter 2013, David plans to return to teaching as a faculty member in the City and Regional Planning Department in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. I am grateful for his efforts, and I want to make sure not only that we maintain the focus that David has br
ought to his duties in Inclusive Excellence, but that we find ways to accelerate our progress.
To ensure that my office and all divisions and departments on campus remain committed to improving our commitment to Inclusive Excellence, I have asked Martha Cody, Director of Employment Equity, to add to her duties by also serving as Special Advisor to the President for Diversity. Her duties will be expanded to focus on campus climate issues and tracking and measuring the effectiveness of diversity and Inclusive Excellence initiatives that are developed and implemented throughout the university. Martha will continue to serve on the Inclusiveness Excellence Council, and her office will coordinate the Inclusive Excellence Council meetings and agendas.
In addition to her duties as Director of Employment Equity since 2008, Martha has also served the campus in a number of ways. As mentioned above, she is a member of the Inclusive Excellence Council. She is also a member of the Status of Women Committee, the Disability Access and Compliance Committee, the Substance Use and Abuse Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Committee on Workplace Violence Prevention. Martha previously held positions in the Santa Barbara County Office of County Counsel, primarily dedicated to employment law, and at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), as an academic personnel analyst. While at UCSB, Martha served as the local President, as Chief Steward, and on the system-wide executive board for her staff bargaining unit. Martha received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from UCSB and her Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University. She has been a member of the California Bar since 2005.
Under this reorganization, Patricia Ponce will become the Student Ombuds, and the Office of Student Ombuds Services will report to the Office of the President. Patricia has performed her role very effectively during the past two years, and I have every confidence in her ability to continue to serve the best interest of our students.
By making these changes, I hope to more clearly define the roles of the administrators, to streamline processes, and thereby to increase effectiveness in the areas of diversity and inclusive excellence. I am confident that David, Martha, and Patricia will continue to provide excellent guidance and advice to our campus leadership.
Please join me in supporting all of our colleagues as they undertake their new endeavors.
Jeffrey D. Armstrong