Welcome Week 2021

student at inclusivity fair
Welcome Week Inclusivity Fair

The CVMBS held its first annual Welcome Week from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 with daily diversity and inclusion-themed events and activities.

Welcome Week began on Monday, Aug. 30, with an Inclusivity Fair in the VBEC courtyard. Twenty-eight groups and departments from the CVMBS and Texas A&M hosted booths to educate students, faculty, and staff about the many opportunities and resources available to them.

On Tuesday, Aug. 31, a panel of CVMBS faculty, staff, and students spoke about the biases they experience daily and ways we can be more inclusive in our interactions at the college during “The Power of the Words We Use.” Panelists included Ashlea Tenorio, Agostino Buono, Tracy Vemulapalli, Jason Maki, Heather Quiram, and Dusty Nagy.

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, a large collection of diversity, inclusion, equity, and accountability resources were sent to members of the CVMBS via email.

Thursday, Sept. 2, featured a fun game of Bingo! in the VBEC third floor commons for members of the CVMBS community to get to know each other and celebrate their unique experiences and diverse identities.

Finally, Welcome Week concluded on Friday with the college’s fourth CIVITAS Storytelling event. Members of the CVMBS community shared their real-life experiences related to the “Silver Linings” theme during the event.

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in Welcome Week 2021!

Moving Forward

Dear Colleagues,

Recent events have served to remind us that we are all responsible for, and play an important role in, fostering an inclusive culture at our college. Promoting this culture is integral to our well-being, our academic success, and our future contributions to veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences. 

As active members of this community, we want to share with you some thoughts regarding how we can move forward with compassion and professionalism.

First, we believe that our Aggie Core Values and the CVMBS Code of Professional Conduct provide us with a framework to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion; these are critically important components to our college culture. We acknowledge that it is imperative that we not just talk about our values but strive to model and live them daily.

We also believe that diversity, in all of its dimensions, and the celebration and respect of our differences give our college strength. We recognize and welcome the reality that not all members of our college can share the same beliefs and perspectives.

We believe that the Aggie Core Value of RESPECT is key to allowing all of us to work, learn, and grow together. Because no one is exclusively defined by only race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief, or any other single attribute, expressing differing opinions allows us to flourish as individuals and as a community, as long as those expressions are shared respectfully; we must always be mindful of how we communicate our differences and the impact that our words and actions can have on others. 

Finally, we believe that everyone in our community is deserving of dignity and respect.

We hope that you will join us in working to cultivate a sense of belonging and equality for every member of our community, as our collective strength comes from the celebration, not suppression, of our differences.

How we accept, embrace, and welcome others allows us to be the best versions of ourselves. The respect and kindness we show one another will move us forward and will have the greatest impact on our college.

Respectfully,

Dr. Karen Cornell
Dr. Mike Criscitiello
Dr. Stacy Eckman
Jennifer Gauntt
Belinda Hale
Dr. Jon Levine
Dr. Kenita Rogers
Dr. Larry Suva
Dr. Ramesh Vemulapalli
Dr. Emma Warry

Pride 2021

While LGBTQ+ Pride 2021 is coming to a close, it’s important to remember this commemorative month is an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community and allies to come together and recognize the progress that has been made.

Reaffirming our core values, treating everyone fairly, and showing respect are cornerstones of the CVMBS. Between the CVMBS LGBTQIA+ and Allies fundraiser, the C-IDEA “spread the love” event, and the online fundraiser page, over $15,000 has been raised for the Trevor Project.

Why Microaggressions Matter

Microaggressions are behaviors or statements that, while not necessarily intended to be offensive, can nonetheless hurt someone and can reveal a far deeper problem in the way we interact and see each other, especially with those who have lived experiences different than our own.

To raise awareness of the impact microaggressions can have, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVMBS) Office for Diversity & Inclusion developed a video that shares testimonies on common microaggressions and their effects.  

The five-minute video, spearheaded by CVMBS executive associate dean & director for Diversity & Inclusion Dr. Kenita Rogers, features recent veterinary graduates Andres Castro, Emily Tran, and Serene Yu; fourth-year veterinary student Noor Faisal; and third-year veterinary students Ashlea Tenorio, Oghomwen Osadiaye, and Christopher Given.

The seven students also discussed how these microaggressions made them feel and what, in their opinion, makes an environment inclusive. 

Texas A&M’s faculty, administrators, staff, and students, all play a role in keeping Aggies accountable, providing the necessary tools to be successful in the workspace environment, and fostering a more inclusive environment.

How to Manage Anxiety About Returning to the Office

With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available and mask mandates lifting, a new source of anxiety has emerged for some—returning to the office after more than a year of working from home.

“It’s a lot like kids returning to school after summer break, but it’s intensified because many people have been at home for almost a year and a half,” said Kelly Sopchak, a psychologist with the Texas A&M Health Telebehavioral Care Program.

As employees transition back to working in offices and students return to schools, stress and anxiety levels will be elevated. Sopchak said there are way to navigate the change in stride.

Read Full Article

The Social Justice Syllabus Design Tool: A First Step in Doing Social Justice Pedagogy

Despite increased attention on social justice in higher education, underrepresented students often experience the classroom as unwelcoming and even hostile. Although theoretical and pedagogical research exists, what appears to be lacking are examples of concrete social justice pedagogy strategies that can be implemented in the classroom setting. This article describes the Social Justice Syllabus Design Tool (SJSDT) created to facilitate a greater emphasis on social justice in courses.

National French-American Heritage Month

July is designated National French-American Heritage Month in the United States to recognize the important contributions made to the U.S. by Americans of French descent. Approximately 11.8 million U.S. residents are of French or French Canadian descent, and about 2 million speak French at home. An additional 750,000 U.S. residents speak a French-based creole language, according to the 2011 census.