Wednesday, Sep 14, 2022
Division seeks to fully integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of University
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
Rider recently created the Division of Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (JDEI). The new division includes the Department of Public Safety, Student Accessibility and Support Services, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and Title IX compliance. Barbara J. Lawrence, Rider’s first-ever vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, leads the division.
The goal of JDEI is to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are fully integrated into all aspects of the University.
“The new division furthers the goals of Rider’s Inclusive Excellence Plan,” says Lawrence. “All of the departments and services in the division impact students’ daily lives and are directly involved in enhancing and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus. Together, we strive to create an environment where students, staff and faculty can thrive and reach their full potential.”
Throughout the academic year, the division will conduct a number of workshops and programs focused on cultural capacity building, community and intergroup dialogues, and intercultural engagement and empowerment. It will host a diversity, equity and inclusion speaker series and provide support for research and scholarship related to justice, diversity, equity and inclusion. The new division also offers a number of ways for students, faculty and staff to get involved.
Together, we strive to create an environment where students, staff and faculty can thrive and reach their full potential.”
The Faculty Affiliate program provides support and visibility for Rider faculty who are engaged in work that aligns with the division's mission. The program also provides opportunities for faculty to contribute substantially to institutional policies and practices to advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusion-related aims on campus. Faculty Affiliates include Dr. Maria Villalobos-Buehner, professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Dr. Aubrey Daniels, assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership and Counseling; Dr. Bonnie Lehet, assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership and Counseling; Dr. Cynthia Martínez, assistant professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Charles Ray, lecturer in the Department of Sport Management and Legal Studies; Dr. Erica Ryan, associate professor in the Department of History and Philosophy and director of gender and sexuality studies program; and Dr. Sarah Trocchio, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology.
Rider’s Employee Affinity Groups help faculty and staff with shared interests or identities come together for open and respectful dialogue. The groups encourage colleagues to engage with one another to develop a sense of empowerment and support in the workplace while building a stronger community of allies. Current affinity groups include African American men, Asian American Alliance, Black and Latin Alliance, multicultural, women, LGBTQ+, Hispanic/LatinX, working parents, employees with disabilities and first-generation college graduates.
The division’s student focus groups help advance the University’s work to build and maintain an inclusive and equitable community by aligning students with the Division of Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Launched in 2019, Rider’s Inclusive Excellence Plan sets forth explicit goals regarding institutional inclusion, and aligns with and advances the University's strategic plan. Rider has been continually recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The University has been recognized as a First-gen Forward Institution and received four out of five stars on the Campus Pride Index — a national listing of LGBTQ+ friendly colleges and universities.