As the spring semester wraps up, I’d like to share the latest diversity and inclusion efforts with you. To view past newsletters, please click here.
We have continued to build on the work started in response to student discussions at the January 2016 Town Hall meeting.
- The new Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME)/ Mosaic House located at 102 W. Water Street, is now open and housing students! The building is equipped with a fully functional classroom which can be reconfigured, a lower-level social space, lounge/study areas, and residential space consisting of 10 rooms – 8 singles and 2 doubles. The new facility is meant to provide students with a space for continuous academic support and programs to enhance the overall student experience, prepare students for their future, and foster a diverse and insightful community. An open house was held on Thursday, April 19. Thanks to the students who organized the Town Hall for bringing the need for this important space to our attention.
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. held an awareness seminar on April 30. The seminar provided members with the opportunity to learn more about historically black fraternities and perhaps take steps towards re-establishing a chapter here on campus.
- The Panhellenic Council partnered with the Office of Multicultural Engagement, on the last day of classes, to host an event for prospective new members (PNMs) of Greek life. The primary goal of this event was to engage with students of various backgrounds and experiences, who may not have previously considered rushing in the fall or have hesitations in doing so. It was an intentional decision to have this event at the OME, a space where Panhellenic representation should definitely grow. The Panhellenic Council hosted this event, and was joined by recruitment counselors and sorority women from each chapter, who were asked to be thoughtful about sending members with unique rush experiences.
- This year’s Pride Week occurred during the second week of April. The week began with the Out in the Workplace workshop to help LGBTQ members navigate job searches. The week proceeded with a Safe Zone training and two presentations by Robyn Ochs on Deciphering the Alphabet Soup of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities. The week concluded with the first Queer Prom.
- Students in Peace and Justice Studies held their first student coordinated and organized Peace and Justice Week. The week began with a ceremony at the Peace Pole and it was followed by a panel of Peace and Justice Minors speaking on Social Action in Education. The week consisted of workshops and film screenings. To conclude the week’s events, the students held a walk out against gun violence standing in solidarity with those who have lost their lives to gun violence.
- The Institute for Healing Racism visited campus March 19 and 20 to bring people together to explore and address issues of race and racism. The two-day program challenged participants to examine the effects of racism on all people and help them develop skills to detect and eliminate institutional racism in daily environments. To best examine the “dis-ease,” facilitators used interactive exercises, dialogue and videos, and created a supportive space where diverse views and experiences were validated.
- Stop Bias @ the Burg week was held the second week of March. The week began with a panel of members of the men’s soccer team and members of Greek life conversing on navigating differences to achieve goals. The week continued with a Communicating Through Difference: Story Telling Program and I AM Initiative facilitated by Dr. Cheryl Cofield. There were three sessions – two for faculty and an evening session for students. Musselman Library coordinated The Human Library program and the week concluded with a screening and discussion of Dear White People.
- A Freedom of Expression philosophy statement for the College was developed by a workgroup chaired by Assistant Provost Jennifer Bloomquist at the request of the President and Provost. The statement was approved by the Student Senate, the faculty and the Board of Trustees. The statement will help to guide policy revisions and development.
- The new Center for Religious and Spiritual Life opened in January, with an intentionally interreligious emphasis. The kitchen is kosher-style, with separate cabinets and dishes for milk and meat products. There is a wudu [ritual washing station] for Muslim students in the bathroom, and the meditation/prayer space is also intentionally interfaith, with a variety of sacred texts and different styles of prayer rugs and cushions. The building is open to all – please make sure to read more about the center before visiting to best understand their mission and requests.
- The student assistant in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Ivana Lopez Espinosa, is in the process of working with Musselman Library to develop a digital timeline that highlights important milestones and events which demonstrate the diversification of the College throughout its history.
- This fiscal year we have secured more than $5.3 million in new scholarship commitments. We also secured gifts in excess of $15,000 to purchase laptop computers for the incoming cohort of STEM Scholars.
Three continued areas of focus for the college are:
The Campus Climate Study
Recent accomplishments include:
- The budget for an Ombudsperson for the campus has been approved and this position will be filled by an existing faculty member on a part-time basis beginning in the fall semester.
- The Johnson Center for Creative Teaching and Learning held a Diversity Matters discussion series for faculty. One of the sessions is highlighted below:
- Diversity Matters: Diverse Learners in the Classroom: Going Beyond the IEAP.
Panelists included Jen Cole, Associate Dean of Academic Advising, Kathy Delaney, Lecturer in Psychology, and two students from the student organization, Phoenix Rising. Jen, Kathy, and the students discussed barriers that neurodiverse students encounter in the classroom and provided suggestions for ways to create a more learner-friendly environment, reduce anxiety, and address common problems. Handouts from the lunch are available on the JCCTL website under the Teaching/Mentoring resources tab.
- Diversity Matters: Diverse Learners in the Classroom: Going Beyond the IEAP.
- A Mentoring Task Force provided recommendations on focused mentoring and support for first generation students and students of color.
- Dining Staff received unconscious bias bystander training provided by Ron Wiafe and Jennifer Lucas in January.
- Leadership mentors in the Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC) were invited to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) this semester and seven have completed the process.
- College Life has instituted a program where emergency funds can be requested by students in times of need (i.e. travel expenses for a family funeral, medical needs, broken eyeglasses, etc.). A generous alumnus made these funds possible.
- After all required Inclusion Partner Program (IPP) training sessions were completed in December, the program has been fully implemented with 36 Staff/Administrative Inclusion Partners and 21 Faculty Inclusion Partners.
- The Provost’s Office has been discussing ways in which the Friday Afternoon Social Hour (FASH) event could be more inclusive and welcoming. The campus climate survey revealed that there are many members of our college community who consider FASH to be a faculty-only event and therefore feel excluded from participating. “Partner” FASHes where academic departments pair up with offices across campus are now being promoted. To encourage everyone to give the proposed model a try this upcoming academic year, offices across campus that seek out partnerships to host FASH will be given first preference for dates and will also be given a modest increase in the funding provided by the Provost’s Office to host the event.
- The Provost’s Office has revised the Friday Faculty Luncheon series. To make the event more welcoming and inclusive of all campus professionals, we are renaming it the Friday Forum and are opening participation (both in terms of attendance and in presentation) to all Gettysburg College faculty, staff, and administrators. Friday Forums are one hour events, hence speakers are advised to present for 35-40 minutes and allow the remaining time for Q&A.
All additional progress addressing Campus Climate Study issues is being tracked through the Inclusion Action Plan (IAP) divisional plan updates.
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI):
Since rolling out the assessment in the fall of 2015, over 900 members of the college community (faculty, staff, and students) have either taken or started the process of taking the assessment. Nineteen members of the Board of Trustees have signed up for the IDI and sixteen have completed the process. 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.
Inclusion Action Plans (IAPs)
The next divisional progress updates are due by the end of the 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
Other notable updates and stories to read:
- Lavender Graduation was held on Sunday, April 22, 2018 in Specialty Dining
- Jennifer Bloomquist is the first African-American to become a full Professor in the 186 year history of Gettysburg College
- #GBCTalks – Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
- Watch the livestream recording of the MLK Celebration
- Creating Social Change: Ty Abdul-Karim ‘18
- Professor Avner Dorman wins 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music
- Learn more about Vuochnear Ly ’20 passion to change the world
- Read more about Kate Helmstetter’s ’18 experience in Morocco
- Igniting passion through (global) experience
Have something else to share? Suggestions for information you’d like to see in the next email update? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.