Dear URI Community:
On behalf of the University of Rhode Island and the staff of the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity, I am delighted to welcome you to the University.
We in the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity (CED) aim to serve as a catalyst for institutional transformation. By facilitating education, programming, and community engagement, we seek to build the knowledge, skills, and competencies that ignite social change on campus, in our community, and our nation.
URI has persistently demonstrated a commitment to diversifying our faculty and student composition. In fall of 2016, the University enrolled our most diverse student body, accounting for approximately 23% of the undergraduate population. Simultaneously, the University’s commitment to increasing faculty diversity, effectively resulted in the hiring of 26 diverse tenure-track faculty members since May 2015.
Increasing diverse representation is a start. Nevertheless, there is much more work to be done…
We hope that all community members will become active in fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment, where everyone is encouraged to learn, work, and grow despite our differences. We believe that students, faculty, and staff who feel valued in a safe and nurturing environment are often more productive and motivated to achieve excellence. Collaborating with the CED units that include the Bystander Intervention Program; Women’s Center; Gender and Sexuality Center; the Multicultural Student Services Center; and the Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, we in CED are working to nurture a campus culture where all individuals can thrive.
We encourage you to be intentional about inclusion! Begin this process with a smile, a hello, and kind word, treating all people with respect and decency. As you enter academic and social spaces, challenge yourself to engage in productive dialogue across cultural differences. Commit to challenging discriminatory and harassing behaviors, addressing behaviors that disrupt the moral fabric of our community and compassionately educating the next generation of transformative thinkers with the cultural competencies required to promote a healthy, equitable, inclusive, and diverse society.
Naomi R. Thompson, J.D.
Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer