EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY
OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents
Carole F. Huxley
OCE 2003 Report on Actions to Increase Staff and Programmatic Diversity
May 28, 2004
Better Reflection of, and Response to, New York’s Demographics
While it is a slow and difficult process to achieve a workforce that reflects New York’s remarkably rich diversity, we have been working in a number of other ways to respond to the needs of our many different populations. The attached report includes actions to that end initiated in the last year within the State Museum, the State Library and the State Archives, as well as in programs across the state supported through discretionary grants.
The document is somewhat lengthy, but I encourage you to browse it. It represents a USNY approach with many partners – from the military to social service organizations to higher education institutions – to ensure improved services to those who have been less well served in the past. Recognizing that there is a very long way to go to eliminate the gap in opportunity and resources for learning, staff has exhibited both initiative and creativity in finding ways to narrow it.
We would welcome your comments and suggestions on how to improve our work.
on Actions to Increase Staff and Program Diversity in the Office of Cultural
The Office of Cultural Education
remains committed to increasing diversity among its programs and staff. Because the hiring freeze decreases the
opportunities for making our staff more representative of New York’s population,
we have had little chance to hire people of color in the past year. However, we have been able to promote or
hire a limited number of support staff and two librarian trainees via the Civil
Service Workers with Disabilities Program.
We continue to recruit a diverse group of volunteers and interns to the
greatest extent possible.
Through a variety of programs and
activities, OCE program areas have continued to highlight the diverse
communities of New York State and to improve services to all New Yorkers. Below is a report on the major actions
taken in 2003 to improve services to the diverse communities in New
The State Museum has continued
its practice of recruiting retired individuals over the age of 55 and
individuals with physical and mental disabilities as volunteers to the
Museum. These volunteers assist in
all aspects of Museum operations, including research and collections, education,
visitor services, special events and administrative assistance.
In 2003, 48
individuals over the age of 55 volunteered their services to the Museum
providing 5,439 hours of service.
In addition, 45 individuals with disabilities volunteered approximately
450 hours, accomplishing tasks
that were significant to the operation of the Museum.
The New York State Museum
Volunteer Office continues to strengthen ties with the Retired Senior Volunteer
Program of the Capital District to offer their patrons additional volunteer
opportunities in the downtown area.
Over the past year, we have also continued strengthening our
relationships with the Albany and Schenectady ARCs (Albany Rehabilitation
Centers) and the Community Living
The State Museum has designed
and initiated a program to provide support to graduate students at the
University at Albany in the areas of Anthropology, Biology, Earth and
Atmospheric Sciences, and History.
Four fellows were funded in the 2003-04 academic year, three female and
one Hispanic male. One of the
fellow’s dissertation research focuses on the Rapp Road African-American
community in western Albany; a second focuses on osteological analysis of the
Albany Almshouse Cemetery, which contained the remains of individuals in poverty
from nineteenth and early 20th-century Albany.
Late in 2003, representatives
from the National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA) approached the
Museum. NMUSA is preparing to open
a major facility in Arlington Virginia, in 2009. In preparation for the opening, it
became clear that there was a significant lack of minority representation among
military museum professionals. They
initiated a program in cooperation with Historically Black Colleges and
Universities, Universities of Interest to Hispanic Students and Native American
Colleges to encourage their undergraduate students to consider careers in
museums. The intent is to introduce
students to careers in museums and to support their development in the
profession. The first group of
students is expected in summer 2004.
The Museum continues
documentation of its inventory of Native American human remains and funerary
objects as required by Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
(NAGPRA). The inventory includes
information on Native American human remains and funerary objects from
approximately 120 different localities in New York and other states. Notices have been published in the
Federal Register, and consultations have begun to allow the repatriation of
culturally affiliated human remains.
Research and Collections, in association with the Museum Education
program held its third Earth Science Teachers Institute in July 2003. The Institute is designed to offer
teachers an opportunity to learn more about the research conducted at the Museum
and how it can assist them in their classrooms. The Earth Sciences Institute reserved
five spaces out of twenty-five for teachers working in economically
disadvantaged schools and underserved communities, or in schools with
historically low test scores. The
Earth Sciences Institute will be repeated this summer. An additional Institute, focused on the
Iroquois of New York, was held during the fall of 2003. This Institute was organized around the
theme of the longhouse, affording 12 educators the opportunity to learn about
the history, structure, symbolism, and use of Iroquoian longhouses from
scientific and Iroquoian viewpoints
Colonial Albany Social History Project is a model community history program that
was formed in 1981 to understand pre-industrial community life by studying the
contributions of the diverse individuals who lived in the city of Albany during
its formative years. This
initiative is ongoing, and the goal is to develop a biography for each person
who lived in the pre-industrial city.
Special efforts are being undertaken to look for Afro Albanians in the
historical record, and new information on early Albany's African ancestry
community continues to evolve. More
information can be found by visiting the following link: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/albany/afroalbanians.html
The New York State Museum,
with the assistance of its Office for Community Relations, endeavors to
encourage under-represented populations to use the services and programs of the
New York State Museum. Some
programs continue to be part of the Museum’s standard offering in a calendar
year. Such programs include: the Governor’s annual Kick-Off
Celebration for African American History Month; the Capital Region Kwanzaa
Celebration; and, the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. As part of our annual Hispanic Heritage
program, a special display was set up to showcase the work of Peruvian
In collaboration with HBO and
the Library of Congress, the Museum hosted the regional premiere of the HBO
special, Unchained Memories: Readings From The Slave
Narratives. In February 2003, an exhibition on the
life of Paul Robeson brought a number of community groups into the Museum. The groups included the local graduate
chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity Incorporated. The men of America’s oldest Black male
fraternity presented a program on the life of Paul Robeson. The women of the Albany District Links
and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Incorporated served as docents for the
exhibition. Several church
organizations felt comfortable enough to ask to use the exhibition as a teaching
tool and backdrop for their own programs.
In the spring of 2003 the
Museum initiated an audit of the Museum’s accessibility level for persons with
disabilities and others. The audit
covered gallery and other public places.
In 2003, after several years
of discussion and negotiation the Museum began collecting material associated
with late 20th century African American culture in New York. The collection will be formally
presented to the Museum as part of an initiative between the New York State
Museum and the GirlFriend, Incorporated in late May 2004. The material includes donations from the
family of James Weldon and John Rosemond Johnson.
In the late fall of 2003, the
New York State Museum entered into an informal agreement with OASIS (Older Adult
Services and Information Systems) at SUNY Albany. The Museum will produce a series of
programs specifically designed for OASIS participants on a variety of areas of
cultural interest. The first
scheduled program is an early morning breakfast and tour of the Barbizon School
art exhibition from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Museum continues its
ongoing relationship with the Thomas O’Brien Academy for Science and Technology
(TOAST) Magnet School, providing educational support and programming when
needed, and with Albany High School providing space for a class in
communications and program production.
Albany High School students present a program at the end of the school
year for students in the surrounding public schools using Museum
The Museum’s award winning,
after-school program is now in its seventeenth year. The Museum Club provides a safe and
educational alternative for children in our local community during those
dangerous after-class hours of 3 and 5 p.m. Continued also is the Discovery Squad, a
work and study program for local teens.
in times when hiring is less restricted, the Archives has faced difficulties
diverse qualified candidates with a strong archives and records management
knowledge base. In addition, there
is a generally acknowledged absence of diversity in the archives and records
management profession overall. To
address these issues, we are exploring alternative methods of recruitment,
including fostering partnerships with
colleges and universities with degree programs required for Archives and Records
Management Specialist (ARMS) exams and increasing the use of interns. During 2003, we began discussions with
Civil Service about revamping the entry-level ARMS 1& 2 exams and the ARMS 3
exam to training and experience exams.
In addition, the training and experience requirements for the ARMS 1
& 2 exams will be modified. These changes are being made in order to attract
a more diverse pool of qualified candidates to our
The New York State Archives’
Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) is a statewide initiative working to ensure
the equitable and comprehensive documentation and accessibility of all of New
York’s extraordinarily rich history and culture. Central to the project is an
understanding that different organizations and groups -- governments,
businesses, institutions, non-governmental organizations, community
organizations, ethnic groups and families -- have different ways of thinking
about and documenting their activities.
In 2002, the State Archives
received grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records
Commission (NHPRC) to provide additional funds for the Documentary Heritage
Program through the 2005-2006 DHP Grant cycle. One focus of the additional funding is
on under-documented groups in New York.
2003-2004, 10 of the 14 Documentary Heritage Program funded grants focused on
projects documenting and making accessible the historical records of
Following is a summary of those projects:
1) A Gathering of the Tribes,
This project is collecting
and categorizing documents pertaining to the squatter homesteader struggle
(1983-2003). The squatter
homesteaders are an under-documented community composed of many immigrants and
low-income artists who "illegally" occupied vacant city-owned property to house
them and their families and revitalize the community. Their efforts resulted in the
unprecedented municipal commencement of a process of title conversion and
low-income, co-op ownership.
2) City University of New
The CUNY Dominican Studies
Institute at the City College of New York is conducting a survey to locate and
plan for the permanent preservation of historical records documenting the
contributions of the New York Dominican Community.
3) Community Consortium,
The Community Consortium, a
not-for-profit organization composed of people with psychiatric histories and
their allies, is surveying records of over 100 state-funded
consumer/survivor/ex-patient organizations (c/s/x); unincorporated self-help and
advocacy groups; electronic records of c/s/x listservs and websites; and
personal memoirs and papers of key activists.
The University is surveying
the records of Latino organizations and individuals on Long Island and educating
record holders as to why their records need to be ordered and preserved and
placed in historical repositories.
5) Onondaga Historical
The Association is
identifying and preserving the historical records of the Latino community in
Syracuse and Onondaga Counties. The
project will conduct a broad survey of 80 Latino organizations, individuals,
arts groups, social groups, businesses, political organizations, movements and
religious groups, identifying primary source material and archival documents
that will help preserve the history and culture of the area's plural Latino
6) Port Washington Public
The library is conducting a
survey to identify records documenting the lives and experiences of key
Latino/Hispanic individuals and organizations on Long Island's North
7) Rensselaer County
This project is to arrange
and describe the records of human services organizations in the Rensselaer
County Historical Society. The
records date from the mid-19th century to the present and impart a
wide spectrum of documentation of the populations in Troy that have needed
assistance and those individuals and groups that provided that
8) Rochester Museum and
The Museum, in partnership
with the Rochester Latino community, is identifying holders of significant
records that tell the story of the Rochester Latino Community and producing a
Guide to these collections.
9) Roman Catholic Diocese of
This project will conduct a
survey of records held by diocesan-level Hispanic ministry offices in the Roman
Catholic Dioceses of New York, Brooklyn, and Rockville Centre. It will also gather parish and renewal
group representatives to plan a further documentation survey of their
10) University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
The University’s Rush Rhees
Library is surveying the records of the Asian/Pacific Islander/American
community in the Great Rochester area (primarily Monroe County but also
including Wayne, Orleans, Genesee, Ontario and Livingston Counties).
The Verizon Legacies Project,
an outgrowth of four State Archives supported projects at Liberty High School in
Manhattan, focuses on the literacy needs of recent immigrants, high school level
to adults, who are learning to read and write English. In 2003 the project website was
completed and teacher and literacy service provider training programs and
community receptions began. The
website includes histories of the Chinese and Latino communities in NYC,
Yonkers, Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo. Each history is accompanied by a
document-based question (DBQ). The
DBQs were developed to link closely with SED Learning Standards and
Assessments. The philosophy is that
we learn more effectively when the educational materials we use are related to
our own life experiences. Buffalo,
Syracuse, the Capital District and Yonkers are the sites for the training
programs and receptions (to be completed by March, 2004). The Legacies Project
can be viewed at: www.nysarchives.org/projects/legacies.
In June 2003, the State Archives’ Local Government Records Management
Improvement Fund awarded grants for the Educational Use of Local Government
Records to 22 local governments, which included many high-needs school districts
and several teacher centers. The
projects involved the use of local government and other community historical
records to support SED learning standards and preparation for state assessments.
Teachers are trained how to locate
documents and develop document-based learning materials, and students and
teachers work side-by-side on document-based community projects.
In NYC, three Community School
Districts - 7, 8, and 10, working with a consultant, compiled copies of local
government and other historical records (maps, photographs, census records, and
more) to create digital collections of local historical resources for students
and teachers in nine schools in the Bronx - PS 30, PS 154, IS 151, PS 46, PS 81,
PS 306, PS 48, PS 72, and PS 119.
Fifth grade students from PS 197 in Manhattan were the winners of the
State Archives grades 4 & 5 Student Research Award. The students discovered the subject of
their winning project on a walking tour of their neighborhood in Harlem. Using historical records, they compiled
a written report about the architecture of Hamilton Grange – home of Alexander
Hamilton - and wrote fictional accounts of what Hamilton’s reaction might be if
he were to return to the Grange in the year 2003. They used information from historical
records to support their fictional accounts. Some students imagined Hamilton coming
to life from a ten-dollar bill and encountering the 21st century,
filled with people who don’t talk the way he does, and who make fun of his
clothes. He is amazed that a
bustling city has grown up around his farmhouse and that slavery no longer
New York History and Culture is another initiative of the State Archives aimed
at improving the coverage and content of New York's documentary heritage and
making it accessible to all. The
purpose is to ensure that all the diverse communities, peoples, and events in
New York history are fully documented and that documentary evidence is easily
accessible for research and learning.
The Rediscovering New York website contains links to a vast array of
information and resources linking finding aids, indexes, and guides;
documentation projects; exhibits and digitized collections; publications; and/or
additional resources related to people, groups, or cultures. See
http://iarchives.nysed.gov/RNYHC/r_subSearchServlet?cat=PGC. Among the topics users can search are:
African American, Asian American, European American, Gay and Lesbian, Jewish,
Latinos, Multi-Ethnic, Native American, People with Disabilities,
People/Groups/Culture and Women. We
continue to add links, as resources are made available on the World Wide Web.
Another avenue for researchers
to find information on diverse groups is through the Historic Document
Inventory. This online catalog
contains more than 23,000 catalog
records for archives and manuscripts collections housed locally at repositories
throughout New York State (libraries, historical societies, and other
organizations with established archives).
This year, 19 records relating to African Americans, 65 concerning
Children, 14 dealing with European Americans, 3 relating to Jews, 1 concerning
Latinos, 17 dealing with lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, 18 concerning
Native Americans, one addressing people with disabilities and 124 relating to
women, were added to the catalog.
The Larry J. Hackman Research Resident program supports advanced work in
New York State history, government or public policy, and encourages public
dissemination of research products.
Three of the projects selected for funding in 2003 focused on issues of
diversity and culture:
1. "Oneida Nation Archival Project
Proposal" (Marlene Doxtator, Oneida Nation [Ontario,
Ms. Doxtator identified
records that document the history of the Oneidas of New York prior to the early
19th century, when almost all of them migrated to Wisconsin and
2. "Community Development Corporations in
New York, 1968-2002" (Kimberley S. Johnson, Barnard
Ms. Johnson used Archives
records to trace the contrasting histories of community development corporations
in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant, both predominantly Black
3. “The Hills: A Rural
African-American Community in Westchester County, 1780s-1920s” (Edythe A.
Quinn, Ph.D., Hartwick College)
Dr. Quinn has used records to
identify members of an African-American community in upper Westchester County,
which coalesced after the abolition of slavery in New York and endured until the
early 20th century.
award-winning quarterly magazine of the State Archives and the Archives
Partnership Trust, draws its contents from information that exists in archival
records that are found in virtually every community in New York State.
Features in the 2003 issues included:
La Curación en el Norte (“The
Cure” in the North)/ Amy Catania
Latin Americans traveled to Saranac Lake to treat and cure their
the Freedom Trail in Oswego County.
speak of myself to others…”/
achievements of Fort Lewis Seliney, advocate for the deaf.
Negroes” and Their Fight for Freedom/Richard
Spaniards in early New York used the courts to win back their
occurring departments in the magazine included the following
Fresh Air Fund/Deborah
Casualties of John Brown’s Raid/Kathleen
In 2003, diversity was added
to the State Library's collections through resources such as databases available
statewide through NOVEL, the New York
Online Virtual Electronic Library. Among new databases added in 2003 is
(Revistas en Español),
a database specifically designed to meet
the research needs of Spanish-speaking users. It provides access to 117 full-text
Spanish-language and bilingual magazine articles, reports and maps. There are over 75,000 articles with
Remote access improves
services to customers with disabilities who may find it difficult to visit a
Library. All New Yorkers have
convenient access to high-quality, current health-related information in
NOVEL databases, such as
Reference Center-Academic (HRCA), a source for both medical care
professionals and consumers. A
single search gives users access to hundreds of journals, over 500 pamphlets and
many reference services including the current PDR Index and The Medical and Health Information
Directory. It contains
600, full-text titles.
The New York State Talking
Book and Braille Library (TBBL) lends Braille and recorded books and magazines,
and the equipment to use them, to residents of the 55 upstate counties of New
York State who are unable to read standard printed materials because of a
physical disability. TBBL is the
Regional Library for the upstate region in the nationwide program coordinated by
the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a
division of the Library of Congress, in Washington DC.
The Division of Library
Development administers a number of annual grant programs that provide
significant services to a diverse population of library users through grants to
libraries and library systems. The
New York State Library administers federally funded LSTA Special Services grants
and the New York State funded Adult Literacy Library Services and the Parent and
Child Library Services grant programs which enable public libraries and systems
to reach out to diverse populations.
Some specific 2003 grant projects that are aimed at a diverse audience
and supported by funds administered by the State Library
Poughkeepsie Public Library District (Dutchess) - Familias & La
Low-income Spanish speaking immigrant
families improve their literacy skills and become knowledgeable about library
services. Five Parent/Child
Workshop sessions are facilitated by a bilingual resource professional. Parents are able to ask parenting
questions and receive information about local health services. A Bonding with Baby program and a Hear
and Say program model read-aloud techniques and tips on how to share books with
babies and toddlers.
Public Library (Nassau) - El Centro de Informacion Para los Padres y los Ninos:
Information Center for Parents and Children
Spanish speaking families attend
bilingual story times, presentations on community information resources and
computer training workshops. The
Hempstead Library website is being translated into Spanish and the book
collection is expanded with bilingual titles. A family festival, "El dia de los ninos/
El dia de los libros," features a well-known, multi-lingual
Public Library (Westchester) - Rimos y Ritmo
Latino families with children up to age
four attend a five-week program of music and rhythm, with songs and nursery
rhymes in both Spanish and English.
The library partners with First Steps, a preschool program. Parents are educated on the cognitive
development of young children and the services the library
Library (Ontario) - Wee Read Together
Outreach to four child development centers includes
story-times, hands-on activities, special family programs and in-service
trainings. Story-times include
bilingual activities and story-stretching arts and crafts. In-service training
for daycare staff focuses on literacy material selections and read aloud
techniques. Activities and
resources improve kindergarten readiness and increase staff knowledge of
literacy and library services.
Hempstead Public Library
(Nassau) - Numbers/Talk 2
The Library acquires new interactive software packages for Pre-GED and
GED preparation, expands the number of GED math classes, and provides online
preparation for the Licensed Practical Nurse exam. Conversation classes using "Ingles Sin
Barreras" are offered days and evenings.
The Hispanic Civic Association, the Hispanic Counseling Center and Town
of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources are cooperating agencies.
Oneida Public Library with the
Sherrill, Canastota, Morrisville, Hamilton Public Libraries and the Earlville
Free Library in Madison and Oneida Counties expand ESOL class offerings, adapt
adult literacy services to meet the needs of adults with learning disabilities
and provide tutors for adults who are participating in the Even Start program.
Project partners are broadly based.
Some partners are: Literacy Volunteers of America, Manpower
International, Family Ties Coalition and Learning Disabilities Association of
Central New York.
Washington Public Library (Nassau) - Literacy Enhancement for
Developmentally Disabled Adults
Developmentally disabled adults have
the opportunity to improve literacy skills through participation in bi-weekly
book discussion groups led by a trained teacher. New books and other materials purchased
for the target audience support the discussion groups. This project partners with the Port
Washington School District's Office of Educational and Community
Borough Public Library (Queens) - Adult Learner Program (ALP) Health
collaborates with the Queens Health Network and the Mayor's Office of Health
Insurance Access to develop a basic health literacy curriculum for students in
the Library's ESOL classes. A
series of eight 12-week courses will be held in the Library's Adult Learning
Centers. Course goals include:
improving English language skills, learning such health-related skills as how to
talk with your own or your child's doctor, and increasing awareness of sources
of health information at the library and on the Internet.
10) Saratoga Springs Public
Library (Saratoga) - ESOL Connect @ the
supports the transition of non-English speaking immigrants into the
community. In partnership with
Literacy Volunteers of Saratoga, Inc., tutors are recruited and trained in
one-on-one tutoring skills and in use of the library. Library staff receives sensitivity
training for work with the new population.
An ESOL collection to support tutor and student needs is being developed
and instruction offered in a computer-based English language
11) Schenectady County Public
Library (Schenectady) - Literacy
Outreach and Opportunity Project-LOOP
County Public Library, together with nine branch libraries and the Mohawk Valley
Library System, works to meet the literacy needs of an increasing immigrant
population. The Library and
Literacy Volunteers of America-Mohawk/Hudson expand their partnership with
additional recruitment and training of ESOL tutors. The Library's collection of ESOL
materials is updated and a discussion series helps the target population learn
about the library's resources.