Eye on Education: SBU strives for gender equality with new diversity plan

Eye on Education: SBU strives for gender equality with new diversity plan

Dr. Samuel L. Stanley

By Dr. Samuel L. Stanley

Implementation of Stony Brook University’s new Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity is off to a great start, with several initiatives underway to take us to the next level in enhancing student, faculty and staff diversity and building an inclusive community.

Gender equality is one of the focal points of our plan. As one of 10 University IMPACT Champions worldwide for UN Women’s HeForShe movement, Stony Brook is committed to being a national leader in gender equality and serving as a model for other colleges and universities.

HeForShe encourages men and boys to become agents of change in achieving global gender equality by building on the work of the women’s movement as equal partners, crafting and implementing a shared vision of gender equality that will benefit all of humanity. For Stony Brook, HeForShe provides a visionary and sound foundation from which we can work to improve diversity and the human condition on our campus and beyond.

To highlight our commitment to achieving gender equality, Stony Brook University co-hosted the HeForShe second anniversary event, welcoming world leaders, activists, change-makers and celebrities to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan on Sept. 20. At the event, we celebrated the launch of the first HeForShe IMPACT 10×10×10 University Parity report, which charts Stony Brook’s progress toward gender equality along with nine other leading universities from around the world.

Some of our progress includes building gender sensitization programming and gender equality themes into our mandatory freshman seminar class; forming a HeForShe Steering Committee of students, faculty and staff to oversee the implementation of our commitments; and hosting the first SUNY-wide HeForShe conference last March to work with all 64 SUNY campuses in developing programs to increase gender equality, giving us the potential to impact the experiences of more than 459,000 students and almost 90,000 faculty and staff.

Stony Brook is also now a leader in the field, offering the first-ever master’s degree program in masculinities studies within the university’s Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities led by Distinguished Professor of Sociology Michael Kimmel.

On Sept. 12, Stony Brook welcomed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women and under-secretary-general of the United Nations, who delivered a timely and provocative lecture to our students, faculty and staff. To quote Mlambo-Ngcuka: “There aren’t enough universities in the world that have put this issue at the center of our work. It is in universities where we produce thought leaders and people who can truly change the world.”

Stony Brook is proud to be a pioneering university in our progress toward gender equality. Visit stonybrook.edu/diversityplan and stonybrook.edu/heforshe for more information.

Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. is the president of Stony Brook University.