By: Jordan Seymour, Lexxi Knoblock, Kyle Bell
Canalside Chronicles Staff
On a windy February day Dr. Cephas Archie sits six stories above the tundra that is The College at Brockport, building a better infrastructure for students and faculty alike. He doesn’t wear a hard hat, but he’s hard at work in his office constructing a plan for diversity amongst those who frequent the college.
“A chief diversity officer, my role at the college, is to look at it what we’re doing from a more systemic approach, and a lot of that is driven by data. Data often tells a story that words cannot best articulate. You’re looking at not only your graduation rates of your students, you’re looking at the grades of your students, the retention rates of your students, looking at the attrition rates of your students, looking at the diversity of your students as well as your faculty and staff.”, said Archie.
This data driven approach has led Archie to develop very specific policies that will help usher in a greater feeling of inclusivity. He believes that the institution needs to look at the problem of fostering diversity from a “holistic standpoint” in order to enhance the lives of not only students, but faculty and staff at Brockport as well.
Archie’s enthusiasm for diversity issues is personal.
“I am a direct reflection of what colleges do to get it right. As African-American males are the least successful in all higher education success when it comes to graduation rates, just me being here shows that it is still possible.”, Archie said.
His background and his schooling have combined to make him a driving force for diversity inclusion in Brockport. When passion and prowess combine, the sky is the limit. This is the case for Archie, who has already seen some significant improvements at Brockport despite arriving only 176 days ago. He acknowledges that the job is far from over but appreciates the direction in which the college is heading.
“There is still work to be done. But what I can say is that the College at Brockport has made some significant milestones.”
His focus is on working as a collective unit to make this campus a great place to be; everyone has to be on the same page in order for this inclusivity to proceed. The College at Brockport’s mantra is “Building a Better Brockport”, yet Archie saw a way to make it even more applicable to his message. He changed it to “Building a Better Brockport, Together” which he says is “so that the ownership is amongst the whole college to change, versus just being anyone’s responsibility to do so.”
Archie is a driven individual, always hard at work, and this is reflected in the words of one of his interns, Felix.
“Yeah, he’s a very busy man at the end of the day. When he has time he acknowledges who’s here, it’s not like he’s just running in and out. He actually says throughout the day…he’ll stop and say ‘hi’ and ask how our day is going and things like that”, said Felix.
But just like anyone, Archie needs to kick back after a hard day’s work and have some quiet time. Being a sports junkie, he likes to take a load off watching a game or two. Hailing from Louisiana and spending time living in Houston he’s come to follow basketball closely. When asked who he would pick if the respective cities were to go up against each other he said, “(Houston) Rockets are probably a better team, I gotta give them that right now, but I’m not a fair-weather fan, if I commit to you I’m with you. So I’m with the (New Orleans) Pelicans. I’m here at Brockport, my heart is committed to being here.” Archie pledges his allegiance to Brockport, and with that, the pursuit of a more diverse campus.