As we come to the close of the fall semester, I’d like to highlight the latest diversity and inclusion efforts across the College. This is our fourth issue.
We have continued to build on the work started in response to student discussions at the January 2016 Town Hall meeting.
- The Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME) continues to increase the educational and social programs and support available to the students. The new Mosaic programming model is intended to build a sense of community and increase opportunities for interdepartmental collaboration. The purpose of the Mosaic Orientation program is to acclimate underrepresented and first-generation students and parents with the Gettysburg College community in a more intimate setting. Incoming students will have the opportunity to connect with campus resources, acquaint themselves with other first-year students and other members of the college community. The OME launched an app that provides users with information of their upcoming events which include; writing workshops, trips, information sessions, and social activities. For a schedule of events sponsored by the OME, click here.
- Based on student interest levels and our responses from NPHC organizations to date, the College has decided to pursue connections with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. A “Meet the NPHC Greeks” event will be held on campus before the end of the fall semester.
- Highlights from the ADA committee:
- Academic Advising staff met with Health Services staff to improve communication about temporary disabilities: concussions, mobility impairments, arm/limb impairments (impeding ability to write/type).
- Academic Advising is working to improve the process for requesting disclosure and developing accommodation plans for first year students this year.
- The College completed the final phase of a campus wide ADA study of our campus facilities this past summer. Facilities Services is reviewing the recommendations and working with the ADA committee to develop an approach for addressing the recommendations.
- Phoenix Rising is a new student group created to promote a better understanding and acceptance of students with learning disabilities on campus and to give students with learning disabilities a safe place to share their experiences.
- The Muslim Student Association is another new student group formed to educate the College campus about Islam and Islamic issues in hopes of eliminating some of the stereotypes of Islam. The students hope to foster unity among Muslim students on campus and inform present and future members to better understand the religion.
- The Office on Violence Against Women Campus Program Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking awarded to Gettysburg College in 2016 provided funding to hire two new positions within the College Life division: Valentina Cucuzza, full-time OVW Grant Project Coordinator for Violence Prevention (internal title is Violence Prevention Coordinator) and Jessica Ritter, part-time confidential Victim Services Advocate of Survivors, Inc. The grant-funded staff presented information on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking to all first-year incoming students who attended fall 2017 Orientation programs at the start of this semester (reached over 655+ incoming students via orientation programs).
- The Office of LGBTQA Advocacy & Education has offered several trainings this fall to inform attendees of: LGBTQA issues, resources, creating a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff, gender identity and expression. The office has also offered workshops geared to members of the LGBTQA community with interactive and educational activities.
- This semester’s Professional Development Spotlight Series focused on Communicating through Difference. The schedule included Keynote Speaker, Dr. Maura Cullen who spoke on the quality and effectiveness of our interactions; workshop sessions were held which concentrated on basic communication skills (self-awareness, effective listening, effective expression and providing feedback), and programming was provided which explored the Muslim faith and understanding its traditions (Living in the Pillars of Islam, Contemporary Challenges Facing Muslims, Quran: Jews and Christians).
- NEW SERVICES IN TRANSPORTATION – Gettysburg College Transportation Services now offers personal use of the mass-transit shuttle and charter services. Faculty and staff and their college-recognized dependents can use the mass-transit shuttles for personal travel. This new service assists in meeting the institutional need for our campus to be accessible for our students, faculty, and staff. Information related to this new service and other services can be found on the Transportation Webpage. Questions can be directed to the helpdesk at x6923 or email@example.com.
- Myra Taylor Herron ’67 was the first African American Woman to attend Gettysburg College. Myra committed herself to improving the campus community by inviting and hosting prospective historically underrepresented students to Gettysburg College through a program called “Operation First Step.” Two recent graduates, Tiarra Riggins and Chelsea Johnson (’17), created the Myra Taylor Herron Fund to help support experiential opportunities for underrepresented students on campus. They exceeded their initial goal of $5,000 and have raised over $10,000.
- Due to students not returning from winter break until after the national observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration will be held on Monday, January 22, 2018 at Christ Chapel. This year’s Keynote Speaker is Dr. Mary Frances Berry, a recognized and respected voice of social justice movements. Apart from working as an educator for justice, Berry became the first woman of any race to head major research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Berry is currently a professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania.
Three continued areas of focus for the college are
- The Campus Climate Study In response to results of the Campus Climate Study, President’s Council developed a diversity statement to clarify the importance of diversity to our excellence as a college. Recent accomplishments have been:
- Finalizing the diversity statement and sending it out to the campus community.
- Appointment of Divonna Stebick as a new co-chair of the Climate Study Implementation Working Group Committee and a big thank you to Istvan Urcuyo for serving as the first co-chair of the committee.
- Inclusion Partner Program (IPP training for search committees) for Faculty & Staff completed in November 2017. The Staff IPP process will be completed in December 2017. Beginning January 1, 2018, all searches must have an Inclusion Partner on the committee.
- HR has completed a Comprehensive Search Process Guide.
- Updated childcare resources are listed on the HR website.
- The college purchased an institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) which provides professional development opportunities for all employees.
- The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI): Since rolling out the assessment in the fall of 2015, over 880 members of the college community have either taken or started the process of taking the assessment. These community members include, but are not limited to: members of Greek Life organizations, first-year seminars and other classes, pre/post study abroad students, staff, and faculty. If you have not done so already, you are encouraged to take the IDI as a team, group and/or department; please complete this request form to get started.
- Inclusions Action Plans (IAPs) All divisions submitted their first annual progress reports on actions taken since last fall. These progress reports can be reviewed on the Diversity and Inclusion webpage. Congratulations to all divisions for their ongoing work. I encourage you to review you division’s plan to find out how you can get involved.
All additional progress adressing Campus Climate Study issues is being tracked through the Inclusive Action Plan (IAP) divisional plan updates.
Jeanne J. Arnold
Chief Diversity Officer