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  • Inclusive Excellence Mini-Grant Projects

In December 2012, approximately $20,000 in Inclusive Excellence Mini-Grant funds was awarded to nine projects:

  • Director of Housing Tony Montefusco, Women’s Basketball Coach Kelly Thompson and student Dan Felleman will organize an RWU Pride Week photo/video presentation and speaking engagement titled “Fearless,” featuring high school and collegiate athletes who openly self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender but continued to play on their predominantly “straight” sports teams.
  • In an initiative titled Roger Williams University Brotherhood, law student Tunde Adepegba will connect African-American and Latino males from RWU and RWU Law to create a support network for these culturally under-represented groups.
  • The RWU National Coalition Building Institute Chapter will offer a workshop to increase the number of faculty and staff members on campus who are trained to facilitate student workshops on prejudice reduction and community building.
  • Student Charly Snellings, president of SAFE (Sexual Equality for Everyone), will lead an effort to design and purchase tablecloths for diversity groups on campus – SAFE, The Women’s Center and The Locker Room, among others – to use in marketing themselves at university and community events.
  • Law student Asia-Sierra Millette, chair of the Black Law Students Association, and RWU Director of Diversity and Outreach Deborah Johnson will implement Project HOME (Helping Our Minorities Excel), an academic support session and alternative study space for students of color at the undergraduate and law school levels.
  • The Rev. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, the University’s multifaith chaplain, will develop an Interfaith Alternative Break Trip to Haiti, to be held in January 2014; the seven-day trip will be guided by Suzanne Swanson, who chairs the Haiti Mission for the United Church of Christ.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Robert Jacobson and Candice de los Reyes of the Intercultural Center will create a Safe Zone program at Roger Williams to address the training and development of faculty and staff related to the LGBTQ community.
  • Alejandro Leguizamo, assistant professor and co-chair of the LGBTQ sub-committee of the Faculty Senate Diversity Committee, will organize a student design competition titled “We Stand United” to create a design that symbolizes acceptance of others.
  • Adjunct Professor Stephan Brigidi will lead a student group in creating a display of photographs of the existing diverse community of Roger Williams; the set of portraits featuring faculty, staff and students will be titled “The Many Faces of RWU Community.”

In January 2012, approximately $10,000 in Inclusive Excellence Mini-Grant funds was awarded to five projects via the fourth grant funding cycle:

  • Faculty members Jeremy Campbell, Autumn Quezada-Grant and Jordan Smith convened three faculty and student roundtables utilizing tools of critical and cultural theory to create open dialogues on issues of power and marginalization in local and global contexts. Topics included rethinking gender, questioning majority/minority discourse in New England, and the role of language in the creation of global culture.
  • Working through the Asian Students Association, student Jing Ai led a number of initiatives aimed at promoting awareness of Asian culture as well as collaboration among faculty, staff and students of Asian backgrounds and interested in Asian topics.
  • Dean Stephen White established a Women’s Leadership Network among SAAHP students, faculty, teaching firms in residence, alumni and others to create a visible network of mentoring from high school through the professions, based at RWU, that encourages women to achieve leadership potential.
  • The Rev. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, the University’s multifaith chaplain, created a five-part speaker series – Spirit Acting: Multifaith Views on Change and Social Action – to open discourse on the role of religion in the public square and feature individuals “of the spirit” who are leading social change in Rhode Island.
  • Dean Lonnie Guralnick and EPSCoR Marine Center Coordinator James Lemire piloted a series of campus experiences for under-represented high school students from the Providence area. The students participated in hands-on science investigations designed to expose them to the STEM disciplines and take part in a broader introduction to the university.

In May 2011, a total of $12,100 in Inclusive Excellence Mini-Grant funds was awarded to six projects via the third grant funding cycle. These projects were undertaken during summer and fall 2011:

  • Education faculty members Kerri Ullucci and Kelly Donnell created a seminar speaker series to address specific areas of inclusivity through group seminars in which RWU student teachers learn from and interact with public school teachers.
  • Faculty members Paul Bender, James Beitler and Becky Spritz and Dean of the Library Peter Deekle joined RWU honors students with local high school students for two RWU cultural events in a program titled “Identity and the Arts: Promoting Identification through Cultural Appreciation.”
  • Six students – Emily Misiewicz, William Foley, Chatel Cunha, Nicholas Gonnelli, Jacob Holmes and Yuk Tang Wong – and advisor Allison Chase Padula received funds to facilitate the training of Sustained Dialogue moderators in an effort to create campus dialogue around cross-cultural issues at RWU.
  • Don Mays, associate director of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment, expanded upon the Summer Pipeline Program to bring low-income, diverse high school students to campus for a seven-day residential program during the summer. The expanded program brought students from up to six schools to participate in as many as four programmatic tracks.
  • Professors Jacquline Cottle and Bonita Cade received continued funding to bring MRULE (Multi-Racial Living Unity Experience), a community-building project instituted with success at Michigan State University, to the Roger Williams campus.
  • Faculty members Autumn Quezada-Grant, Laura D’Amore and Jason Jacobs invited Carlota Duarte to campus to give a presentation on her service-learning in Chiapas, Mexico, and to offer a cultural workshop and photo presentation on the Tzotzil Maya who work within her organization.

For the Fall 2010 Mini-Grants cycle, $11,000 in funds was awarded to four projects:

  • DeanKathleen McMahon, associate dean Ande Diaz, Carol Sacchetti, director of student programs and leadership, hosted a weekend leadership development workshop titled “Leadership Institute for Inclusive Discourse” in collaboration with the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, a national organization that encourages student dialogue.
  • Professor Brett McKenzie and head women’s basketball coach Kelly Thompson teamed with Girls Inc. to bring underserved, middle school girls from New Bedford to the Roger Williams campus to participate in a basketball clinic and a computer animation clinic, designed to allow them to explore college and computing careers.
  • Professors Jacquline CottleBonita Cade and student Melisa Carrasquillo received continued funding to bring MRULE (Multi-Racial Living Unity Experience), a community-building project instituted with success at Michigan State University, to the Roger Williams campus.
  • The RWU National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) Chapter, in conjunction with the Faculty Diversity Committee, offered a National Coalition Building Institute development workshop to provide faculty members the opportunity to receive diversity training.

Over the course of the inaugural Mini-Grants cycle during Spring 2010, more than 30 individuals across campus collaborated on proposals. In May 2010, a total of $14,000 in funds was awarded to six projects:

  • The GIMP project led by Professor Gary Shore brought artistic director Heidi Latsky and her company, Gimp, to campus to explore body image and disability in relation to the nature of dance and performance.
  • Jen Stanley, director of residence life, established a Gender Resource Center to provide a physical space for SAFE, the Women’s Center and The Locker Room and to offer gender identity resources, support and programming to the campus community.
  • Professors Jacquline Cottle, Bonita Cade and student Melissa Carrasquillo brought MRULE (Multi-Racial Living Unity Experience), a community-building project instituted with success at Michigan State University, to the Roger Williams campus.
  • Professors Michael Swanson, Susan Bosco and June Speakman led a student/faculty collaboration to investigate and implement a Kiva lending team at RWU. Kiva is a nonprofit that links microlenders in the developed world with microborrowers in developing nations.
  • Lydia Handhardt, director of diversity programs at the law school, developed and hosted a one-week summer pipeline program on marine law for high school students from the New York Harbor School, a public school serving low-incoming minority students.
  • Student Flavia-Bianca Cristian teamed with Donna Darmody, director of health education, to investigate the establishment of a program to implement health education programs that will specifically serve the needs of international students on the RWU campus.