New Officer to Lead SUNY Delhi's Diversity Efforts

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Michele DeFreece, SUNY Delhi's new Chief Diversity Officer

DELHI, NY (05/13/2016)(readMedia)-- Michele DeFreece has been named SUNY Delhi's new Chief Diversity Officer, assuming her duties at the end of the Spring 2016 semester. This step is part of SUNY's new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy to include a chief diversity officer on every SUNY campus while increasing diversity among students, faculty and staff.

SUNY reports that it has grown the percentage of under-represented minority enrollment from 14.7 to 23.8 over a ten-year period. SUNY's new diversity policy recognizes more needs to be done to help students succeed in a 21st century global society, said DeFreece. "It's proven that diversity promotes institutional excellence, which is why we are strengthening services at Delhi to better serve all students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college."

DeFreece is a senior member of the administration who has served 31 years at SUNY Delhi. She will head the Academic Exploration Program, Access and Equity Office and Equal Opportunity Program while working with all campus offices to elevate inclusiveness across student recruitment, retention, and completion strategies. She will collaborate with other SUNY Chief Diversity Officers to inform, support and implement broad initiatives.

"This is a great opportunity for me to serve SUNY Delhi in addressing an issue that I am passionate about. My recent research had made it clear that diverse learning environments lead to improved working environments," she said. DeFreece will also implement diversity best practices in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.

SUNY's new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy, defines diversity to include race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, socioeconomic status, status as a veteran, status as a student with a disability, first-generation students, and international students or students transferring between colleges. The policy aims to improve services and support for these students, ensure that SUNY's student, faculty and staff populations mirror that of New York State, and that SUNY's commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive to all populations is clear.

"That's exactly what we want to promote at SUNY Delhi, a place where all students, faculty and staff feel valued, welcomed and supported and can thrive," DeFreece added.