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Undergraduates kick off a new academic year on the first day of class in a Nutritional Sciences 132: Nutrition Today course taught by senior lecturer Peter Anderson in Agricultural Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 2, 2011. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

The following message was sent to CALS faculty, staff and students on Sept. 8:

Greetings-

As this first week of the fall semester wraps up, we’d like to take a moment to wish a warm welcome to our CALS community—including our new faculty, staff and student members—and share a few thoughts about how we can work together to make our community the best it can be.

At CALS, we all have something in common. We all want to be part of a great learning community, a vibrant institution where we can learn about and make valuable contributions to the agricultural and life sciences. To meet this goal, CALS strives to have a welcoming and supportive environment, where each person’s unique attributes and contributions are appreciated and fostered.

To that end, the CALS leadership team fully supports the UW-Madison’s institutional statement on diversity. We believe diversity is a source of strength, creativity and innovation for campus, and we value and respect what each person brings to the table, including our faculty, staff and students from historically underrepresented groups such as students of color, DACA students and first-generation college students.

We all share the responsibility of making this a welcoming and inclusive environment, and we encourage each and every one of you to make an extra effort to do so. We urge you to try to think beyond the immediate tasks required for your schoolwork or your job—the studying, the grant writing, the teaching prep—and consider how you can help support this vision.

Here’s a proposal: Let’s all commit to taking at least one action this year to help increase our knowledge and competency in this area. There’s always room to grow. Please challenge yourself to better understand the issues and get engaged. Over the course of the year, please also look for opportunities to reach out to and support community members who may be struggling. Sometimes a simple “Hi, how are you doing?”—with a genuine interest in the answer—can mean a lot.

There are numerous resources and upcoming events to tap into, such as:

  • UW-Madison’s Creating Community website: This site has news, events, resources and other information to support diversity on campus.
  • The CALS Equity and Diversity Committee (EDC): This committee will host a Lunch & Learn series during the academic year. Individual events will be posted in eCALS.
  • Go Big Read: People who participate in various Go Big Read book discussions, whether formal or casual, can hear new perspectives and engage with the broader campus community.

Thank you for your efforts to help make our CALS community as strong as possible. Please share any comments or questions you have via edc@cals.wisc.edu.

Sincerely,

Kate VandenBosch, Dean
Tom Browne, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and CALS EDC co-chair

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