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Announcing the Living, Well-being, and Belonging Initiative

Gallaudet University | Office of the President
Dear Campus Community,

In October 2017, I announced my decision to hold off on restructuring Gallaudet, including the vice president of student affairs and community engagement position. This was done to allow us time to discuss the many important issues that affect our everyday lives here on campus, as students, faculty, and staff.  
For the past month-and-a-half, we have been engaged in ongoing dialogues with many of you about the multiple systemic issues that are impacting the student experience. Thank you for your participation and for your willingness to be brave in those discussions. 
The meetings we held were with both governance and leadership groups and departments and units that would have been impacted by the proposed restructuring announced earlier in the semester.
Through it all, we were struck by the wide berth of ideas and the wisdom coming from the community. I plan to personally share my thoughts, observations, and experiences in more depth with you on what we all experienced together.

The change you have desired means that we will share with you today multiple decisions that we must work towards that will continue to evolve over the next few years.
First, we will focus on improving the quality of the student experience. This includes undergraduate and graduate students, students at Clerc Center, and students with families and young children. We will do this by creating diverse, integrated teams and engaging people from across the campus, including students, that will focus on the student experience, their basic necessities, and what is necessary to help us all thrive.
This is Called the Living, Well-being, and Belonging Initiative.
This initiative will address key issues within three foundational aspects of the student experience: physiological, safety, and belonging.
The teams will be required to incorporate principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in their work.

To support this initative, the Executive Team has already made some critical decisions to invest towards these key areas:
  • We have allocated $1 million for capital improvements for dorms in Fiscal Year 2018. Additional money and planning efforts will support future renovations over the next few years.
  • We have begun a process that will update and modernize our PNG procedures. While that work is happening, we will establish a panel of at least two people, the vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Ndura or her designee, and Ted Baran, director of DPS. This panel will review all DPS-related PNG cases. More information on the panel system’s implementation will be shared within the next two months.
Now, about the vice president position. The vice president position will not be set up for now. Instead, the work of the Living, Well-being, and Belonging Initiative will guide us to structure ourselves in ways that will lead to supporting excellence in the student experience here at Gallaudet. Dwight Benedict will remain dean of Student Affairs and report directly to me. Dean Benedict will continue to work with all of us as we engage in an expanded approach towards strengthening the student experience with a strong emphasis on multicultural values. This direct reporting structure allows us to respond to students' needs more rapidly and effectively.
The other units mentioned during the original restructuring announcement will remain in their current structures for now.

More information on this integrated team approach of responding to the student experience will be forthcoming in January as the new semester commences.  
If you are interested or have ideas, you can send an email in ASL or English to:

We recognize that you are a part of this ongoing advancement and want to continue engaging your valuable insight and wisdom. Thank you to everyone who participated in the meetings for sharing your honesty, wisdom, and compassion throughout this community experience. This could not have been possible without bravery.
This is the work of a community that is strong and resilient. Thank you for your commitment to Gallaudet. 


Roberta J. Cordano

College Hall | 800 Florida Avenue, NE | Washington, DC 20002-3695 
202-651-5505 | |
Posted by B Mutisya Nzyuko | Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:46 AM


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002