As we near the end of the semester and the academic year, I’d like to share highlights from this year regarding diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. This is the first biannual update I plan to send each spring and fall semester; the goal of these emails is to inform and update, but more importantly, it is my hope that you will also engage and share what you are working on to make the College stronger as it strives to become more inclusive. By sharing and calling attention to that work, we can elevate what is working well and also continue identifying areas of improvement for our community.
Town Hall Meeting
We already accomplished much together this year. As you recall, in January a group of students organized a town hall meeting attended by over 1,600 students, faculty, staff, and administrators. The discussion in that meeting resulted in the following:
- The D-House was assigned a new space and a Department of Public Safety liaison was assigned to the Black Student Union and Latin American Students' Association.
- The bookstore implemented a weekly book buy-back program enabling students the opportunity to get a faster reimbursement during the semester.
- The President sent letters to the presidents of three National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations to open dialogue about establishing chapters on our campus.
- The College developed a plan to offer additional learning trips and access to museums and other cultural centers. Look for Zipcars coming to campus this fall! The College will also provide driving lessons/ tests for up to five students in the fall semester
- The Johnson Center for Creative Teaching & Learning held a diversity workshop in January and will be holding an Engaged Learning, Diversity, and Classroom Climate Workshop on May 11th.
- Additionally, a religious inclusion policy was implemented.
- The Board of Trustees established a Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee.
- The tenth annual Derrick K. Gondwe Memorial Lecture was held in October featuring Opal Tometi who is an activist and co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
- Alumni of Color Homecoming Weekend activities were held in October.
- Freedom of Speech/Civil Discourse policies, including the posting policy, were reviewed and updated.
- The Provost committed to the implementation of the Inclusion Advocate Program for faculty tenure-track searches. A pilot program will begin this coming fall.
- The Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association established a Social Justice Committee.
- A link to the Diversity and Inclusion page was added to the footer of the Gettysburg College homepage.
- A bias response team focused on proactive education was created.
- The ADA Committee was re-constituted.
- Inclusion has been adopted as a primary theme of our strategic planning process.
I also want to call your attention to three continued areas of focus:
The Climate Study
We asked you to provide your feedback to help us understand the current climate at Gettysburg College. For the results to be significant, we needed a 30% response rate. Our students, faculty, administrators, and support staff far exceeded that goal with a 44.9% response rate. Please save the date for a Town Hall September 8 when you will have the opportunity to hear about the findings from that survey.
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
The IDI is a confidential survey designed to provide feedback on both perceived and actual levels of intercultural competence—and ultimately enhance cultural competence across campus. Since we rolled the survey out in October, over 400 students, faculty, and staff have either taken or started the process of taking the survey, including residence life staff, Greek Life organization leaders, and academic departments. The Provost is funding all faculty IDIs. If you have not done so already, you are encouraged to take the survey as a team and/or department;
Inclusion Action Planning Process
Creating an inclusion action plan is the next step in helping to institutionalize our collective efforts to enhance and sustain the environment of inclusive excellence. This fall we established a timeline and started what will be a three-year process. Each division at the College has been tasked with drafting their own inclusion action plan, which will be due in the upcoming fall semester.
Please be sure to share your own updates with us so we can publish them in our fall email. Thank you for your continued support and engagement.
Jeanne J. Arnold Chief Diversity Officer
- To facilitate ongoing discussion about diversity and inclusion, the library hosted several book discussions for students, faculty, administration, and staff on Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Gettysburg College spread green dots across campus, increasing awareness of violence prevention.
- Diversity Peer Educator Justine Molokwu ’17 shared why dialogue about diversity matters.
- Gettysburg College’s first cohort of STEM scholars will come to campus this fall.
- Sharon Lettman-Hicks spoke with our campus community on issues of inclusivity in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- A diversity guide is available through Musselman Library.
Have something else to share? Suggestions for information you’d to see in the next email update? Email firstname.lastname@example.org