e-Veritas Archive | April, 2015

New Initiatives Build a Better, More LGBTQ-Friendly U

By Meredith Camel
UM News

IBIS Network Ally logo ideas r1CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 30, 2015)—Being a college student can be stressful—even more so for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) students, particularly those who struggle with self-acceptance and who might not have support from family or friends. That’s why the University is introducing several new programs to ensure LGBTQ students thrive on a safe, inclusive campus that nurtures their academic and personal goals.

“When I first came to campus, I realized there weren’t any resources for LGBTQ faculty and staff. Then on a broader scale, I realized the resources for LGBTQ students were confined to one organization that could not provide for the needs of the entire community,” says Andrew Wiemer, advisor for the undergraduate LGBTQ student group UPride, co-founder of the UM LGBTQ Faculty-Staff Network, and director of the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development.

Prior to the 1991 launch of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community (GLBC) student group, there were no official campus resources for non-heteronormative students. Today there are undergraduate and graduate student organizations, but to feel truly supported, students need advocates among faculty, staff, and administrators. For the past two years, Wiemer and Gail Cole-Avent, executive director for student life and assessment initiatives, have led a task force created by Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia A. Whitely to identify students’ most pressing needs.

Advocacy is the mission of the new IBIS (I Believe In Solidarity) Ally Network. The first IBIS Ally Network training session, held in April, enlightened 17 UM employees about issues LGBTQ students face and how to be a source of trust, encouragement, and guidance. The next session is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, with additional sessions taking place throughout the summer. Participants can sign up at [email protected], and upon completion will receive a certificate that affirms their support of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. The Miller School of Medicine has a similar program called SafeSpace.

Making campus life better for LGBTQ students aligns perfectly with the University’s Culture Transformation initiative, which unites all employees under the common purpose of transforming lives. Protecting and celebrating the diversity of UM students, including diversity of gender and sexuality, is a key directive of the Building a Better U campaign.

“I was an undergraduate student in 1999, a time when I was exploring my own sexuality. I thought that coming to UM would be an open world, but that wasn’t the case then,” says alumnus Steve Priepke, assistant dean of students and director of Greek life. “I was so blessed to have good relationships with faculty masters who could connect me with role models and mentors.”

Recognizing the value in mentorship, the UM LGBTQ Faculty-Staff Network launched a program this year that pairs its members with LGBTQ students. Mentors offer insight on being out and proud at work and navigating the realm of being an LGBTQ adult. Another positive addition is this year’s inaugural Lavender Celebration, which takes place on Wednesday, May 6 and celebrates the accomplishments of our LGBTQ graduates.

The LGBTQ task force and a team of students, faculty, and staff meet several times each semester to continue driving progress. They have released a set of guidelines for LGBTQ inclusion in the University’s digital, print, and verbal communications and are developing a website with information about student resources and opportunities, including scholarships. They are also investigating ways to designate gender-neutral bathrooms and housing on campus. The UM Alumni Association has created an affinity group to engage LGBTQ alumni and allies. For more information on LGBTQ initiatives, email [email protected].

But these are not the only ways ’Canes can help LGBTQ students feel welcomed and respected.

“When we as faculty and staff attend student events, such as Coming Out Week, students really notice our presence and feel they’re part of a much bigger world,” Priepke says.

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Preliminary Applications for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships Due May 15

Juniors and seniors who wish to apply for the Rhodes and/or Marshall scholarships for graduate programs in the United Kingdom that begin in fall 2016 must submit a brief, preliminary application for UM endorsement by Friday, May 15. All Rhodes and Marshal scholarship applicants must be endorsed by their home university.

The Marshall Scholarships commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan and express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts. Up to 40 Marshall Scholars are selected each year to study at the graduate level at a U.K. university in any field of study

The Rhodes Scholarship was initiated in 1902 to bring outstanding students from around the world to the University of Oxford to pursue graduate studies. Candidates must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 and hold a bachelor’s degree by October 2016.           

For full details on the application process for UM students, visit miami.edu/awards (see “application instructions” sections of the alphabetical listings or Rhodes and Marshall scholarships) or contact Kefryn Reese in the Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships at [email protected] or 305-284-5384.


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Margaritaville Comes to Commencement

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 4, 2015) – More than 3,500 newly minted graduate and undergraduate students will celebrate at the BankUnited Center this week during six commencement ceremonies that, over three days, May 7-9, will feature words of wisdom from two accomplished alumni, two departing University leaders, and one of America’s most beloved troubadours—who may or may not sing his advice.

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett, who has been delighting sold-out audiences with his joy-inspiring tunes about sailors and the sea, island antics, fickle waves of love and life, and, of course, “Margaritaville,” for four decades will deliver the commencement address at the 1 p.m. undergraduate ceremony on Friday, May 8, when 815 students from the schools of architecture, communication, education and human development, marine and atmospheric science, music, and nursing and health studies will cross the stage.

For the first time in her 14 years at the U and as one of her last official acts, UM President Donna E. Shalala will be a commencement speaker at not one but two ceremonies—the week’s final rites on Saturday, May 9, when the School of Law and the Miller School of Medicine hold their exercises, graduating 393 would-be lawyers at 10 a.m. and 181 new medical doctors at 5 p.m.

As she’s always done, Shalala, who is officially stepping down as president on May 31, will preside over all the ceremonies, shaking more than 3,500 hands and welcoming more then 20,000 guests over the three days. But in another first for spring commencement, all baccalaureate candidates will wear gowns made from 100 percent recycled materials.

M. Brian Blake

M. Brian Blake

Kicking off the three-day celebration, M. Brian Blake, UM’s outgoing vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School, will deliver the week’s first commencement address at the Graduate Degree ceremony on Thursday, May 7, when 875 students—the largest number to date—are slated to walk the stage for their hard-earned doctorate or master’s degrees. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m.

A computer scientist, software engineer, and researcher, Blake is nationally recognized as much for his efforts to diversify the computing profession and graduate education as he is for his extensive research and accomplishments in the areas of adaptive workflow and software-as-a-service on the Web. This summer, he will assume the position of provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University.

Ana Mari Cauce

Ana Mari Cauce

Before and after Buffett’s Friday appearance, which will be open to ticketed guests only, two distinguished alumni will share their advice at the other two undergraduate ceremonies on May 8. Ana Mari Cauce, the interim president of the University of Washington, will be the featured speaker at the 8:30 a.m. exercise, when, in the largest undergraduate ceremony, 815 students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Continuing and International Education are slated to cross the stage.

A clinical psychologist whose research focuses on adolescent development, the Cuban-born Cauce grew up in Miami and earned her A.B. in 1977 from UM, where she majored in English and psychology. In recognition of her long record of academic leadership and commitment to expanding educational opportunities and social justice for all, particularly at-risk youths, she will also receive an honorary degree, a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Another distinguished alumnus, UM Trustee Carlos de la Cruz, Sr., a business icon, community leader, and philanthropist, will share his advice at the final undergraduate ceremony, at 5 p.m., when 637 students from the School of Business Administration and College of Engineering celebrate their graduation.

Carlos de la Cruz, Sr.

Carlos de la Cruz, Sr.

A 1979 graduate of the School of Law, de la Cruz has spent most of his illustrious career perfecting the art of the deal, and collecting works of art from around the globe, and sharing them with the world. He is chairman of the board for CC1 Companies, Inc., a $1 billion-a-year business that includes Coca-Cola Puerto Rico Bottlers, CC1 Beer Distributors, Inc., Coca-Cola Bottlers Trinidad & Tobago, and Florida Caribbean Distillers, LLC, and, with his wife, the driving force behind the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space in Miami’s Design District. Home to their personal collection, the gallery offers lectures, workshops, and scholarships, and is open to thousands of visitors, including more than 11,000 public school students annually.





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‘The Little Think Tank That Could’ Celebrates 10th Latin America Conference

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Susan Kaufman Purcell, center, moderates the panel on U.S.-Cuba relations. From left are José Azel, Carlos Saladrigas, Purcell, Roger Noriega, and Daniel Restrepo.

Susan Kaufman Purcell, center, moderates the panel on U.S.-Cuba relations. From left are José Azel, Carlos Saladrigas, Purcell, Roger Noriega, and Daniel Restrepo.

MIAMI, Fla. (April 28, 2015) – With President Barack Obama’s new U.S. policy toward Cuba the focus of intense media coverage, the University of Miami’s Center for Hemispheric Policy addressed the issue head-on last Tuesday during its tenth annual Latin America Conference, with experts on both sides of the aisle voicing their opinions on the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.

“Normalizing relations with Cuba can be done with a stroke of a pen, but normalizing relations with the Cuban people will take more work,” said Roger Noriega, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., referring to the historic thaw in U.S.-Cuba ties announced by Obama on December 17, 2014. Read the full story

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Welcome to the New miami.edu

UM News

4-27-15_homepage-snapCORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 27, 2015) — Today when you visit miami.edu, you’ll find our new redesigned top-tier website that represents a huge upgrade, not just in design, but navigation, display, content, and back-end technology. The pages of the new University website “respond” to whatever device you view it on, whether a cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Content has been arranged to help you find what you are looking for more quickly, and the display features larger graphics and images.

Nearly two years in the making, the new site was developed by Web and Digital Communications and Marketing, working in conjunction with Information Technology and outside consultants. The site is hosted in the cloud and utilizes a new content management system (CMS) that UM has implemented. Many more sites throughout the University will migrate to this new system later this year, including those of administrative units and schools and colleges.

During the past two years, Web and Digital Communications has conducted extensive surveys and testing, interviewed nearly a dozen content management companies, and conducted monthly meetings with web administrators throughout the three campuses to discuss the process; review design, hosting, and CMS solutions; and elicit critical feedback to ensure the new site strengthens the University’s overall web presence. As part of the process, a comprehensive assessment of the top-tier website was conducted among key constituencies—prospective and current students, faculty and staff, alumni—which served as a baseline for the current redesign. Meetings, focus groups, and surveys were conducted with these groups to assess navigation, functionality, integration with the University’s marketing/messaging, and relevance of content.

Among the key features:

– Utilizes responsive design.

– Streamlined navigation and “hover” menus help users find information more quickly.

– Content showcases key initiatives and audiences, including research, community service, students and prospective students, and alumni.

– Features social media interactions on the home page.

– A UM News channel that showcases stories on what is happening at the U from all schools and colleges and across all disciplines. News stories can be searched by category or school or college.

During the next several months, you will continue to see tweaks and changes as we fine tune our processes and make improvements to miami.edu. If you have questions or want to make a suggestion, you can provide feedback to [email protected].

​Along with the University’s top-tier website redesign, the Web and Digital Communications and Marketing team is currently inventorying University websites at http://my.web.miami.edu. If you manage or contribute to a UM Website, use your Cane ID to log in to the My Web service and share it with us. Individuals who share their site information will be kept in the loop on new Web services available and will also be given an opportunity to migrate to the new CMS service as soon as possible.

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