Dear campus community,
As the spring semester comes to a close, I’d like to share the latest diversity and inclusion efforts and accomplishments with you all.
In response to student discussions at the Town Hall meeting in January of 2016, we have continued to build upon initiatives of inclusion, including:
The First-Generation Campaign
With more than 500 first-generation students enrolled for the 2018-2019 academic year, the Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME) introduced a campaign to uplift students, faculty, and staff who identify as first- generation. As part of this campaign, the following events were highlights this semester—a Jazz and Mic Night, a showing of the movie “BlackKklansman” and spaghetti dinner with the Black Student Union, and a first-generation spotlight series, which helped remove the stigma surrounding the identity and establish a support system on campus.
The Growth of Latinx House
For the 2019-2020 academic school year, Latinx House has been approved for a larger location. Its new address is 249 Carlisle Street. The mission of the house is to create a space that will further diversify the community and let all students feel welcomed and supported.
Additionally, the following programs and events took place this semester:
Second Annual Institute for Healing Racism Workshop
The powerful two-day session connected people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to discuss thought-provoking topics. Faculty, staff, and students explored the history of race in North America and critically examined how race affects us professionally and personally.
Tolulope Noah, EdD, of Azusa Pacific University (APU) was invited to lead a workshop for faculty, addressing strategies to engage students in diversity discussions. It explored microaggressions, student resistance, and response strategies that would allow faculty to be better equipped to facilitate and navigate difficult dialogues about diversity in classroom settings.
Trustee-Led Advisory Group
Faculty, staff, and student representatives participated in this group to develop guiding principles for any renaming reviews of buildings or programs. Based on these principles, the Board of Trustees approved a policy and process at their May meeting.
With support from our Mellon Foundation grant, entitled “Unfinished Work: Diversifying the Professoriate,” the College sponsored two workshops featuring Marybeth Gasman from the University of Pennsylvania, who is the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education in its graduate school and founding director of the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions. These workshops focused on teaching diverse students, as well as the hiring and retention of faculty, within the context of understanding and confronting systemic racism in the academy.
Fourth Annual Women of Distinction Awards Banquet
Together on March 28, the Office of Multicultural Engagement and the Women’s Center hosted this awards dinner to recognize and celebrate self-identified women and gender-fluid or non-conforming individuals for their professional achievements, exemplary leadership skills, and/or outstanding service to the Gettysburg College community.
The Women of Distinction award recipients were:
- Caitlin Lindsay, Women of Distinction Faculty, Staff, or Administrator Award
- Patricia Braun and Samantha Isherwood, Hidden Figures Awards for Support Staff
- Tammy Thon and Ivana Lopez Espinosa, Women of Distinction Student Awards
- Melanie Pangol and Mariam Martinez, Emerging Leadership Awards
- Voice of a Generation Radio Show, Outstanding Organization or Group
“Breathe Gettysburg” Initiative
The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life implemented several programs for the college community through “Breathe Gettysburg,” a collection of classes led by campus and community members to help build resilience though mindfulness.
- “Meditation moments” through yoga
- Morning meditation sessions for faculty and staff
- “Vispassana meditation” classes, which means “insight meditation,”
- Deep stretch yoga classes
- Qigong classes, which incorporate Chinese medicine and martial arts
- Walking meditation sessions
- A “Read & Reflect” series
- A knitting group
“Our Voices” Show
The Women’s Center sponsored a production of the “Vagina Monologues” and “Our Voices 2019” on Feb. 21 and 22. The new platform, “Our Voices,” featured 13 students’ original monologues about their own experiences. The new “Our Voices” platform will replace the outdated “Vagina Monologues” to continue celebrating fresh and diverse perspectives, as well as rich narratives of all who identify as women and gender-diverse individuals. “Our Voices” seeks to center and celebrate the experiences and narratives of marginalized voices on our campus.The Women’s Center donated all proceeds from this year’s show to Survivors, Inc. of Gettysburg at Take Back the Night on April 4.
One Billion Rising Campaign
Also in February, which was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, the Women’s Center hosted the annual One Billion Rising pillar event. This year, the theme was “Rising for Self-Love and Self-Expression” because so many beautiful marginalized voices are silenced through oppression every day. The program featured self-care DIY crafting, a performance by Bomb Squad, and a presentation of rap video performances created by female students for an assignment in Professor Redden’s “Black Feminism in Hip-Hop” class.
Professional Development Spotlight Series
The Professional Development Committee’s Spring 2019 Spotlight Series specifically connected to the College’s goal of advancing and sustaining an organizational culture and climate that fully welcomes diversity and inclusiveness on campus.
Opportunities offered this year included:
- “The Neurodiversity Movement,” a lecture with Jennifer Cole on the neurodiversity movement
- A tour of the Holocaust Museum
- The “Let’s Explore the Disability Experience,” and
- An informational session on assistive technology and the Innovation Lab.
The second annual “Stop Bias at the Burg” (SBB) week at Gettysburg College took place March 25- 29. This week is an opportunity to increase awareness about others’ differences through conversations and/or observations.
- “Faith Zone training,” which featured constructive conversations about religious and spiritual diversity
- A panel discussion with student-athletes and members of Greek life
- A discussion about Ava DuVernay’s documentary, “13th,” and
- “The Human Library,” where people of different backgrounds and experiences volunteer to be “books,” sharing their stories through conversation.
As we look toward the future, three continued areas of focus for the College are:
The Campus Climate Study
The Campus Climate Study Implementation Group (CCSIG) spent much of the semester gaining a better understanding of support staff wages and the College’s efforts to improve wages among lower-paid staff.
CCSIG also received a proposal for a wage taskforce, which it reviewed and forwarded to President’s Council at the end of the semester, along with its own recommendations for an implementation strategy. President’s Council will review the proposal this summer.
Recent accomplishments include:
The new Ombuds office is now open! Kathryn Rhett, the inaugural Ombuds for the College, is staffing it. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 717-337-7099. The Ombuds’ major function is to provided confidential and informal assistance to faculty and staff in the College community by listening to concerns, clarifying issues, proposing options for resolutions, providing information and referrals, and if all parties agree, facilitating informal nonbinding mediation. The Ombuds’ goal is to strengthen existing campus communication and administrative processes by acting as a designated neutral referral resource and dispute resolution practitioner.
After its implementation, the College Council held several meetings centered around three topics—improving campus communication, such as through changes to digests and the possible use of texting, improving campus climate, including a bystander intervention approach to microaggressions, and drafting recommendations to the president-elect about how to best structure and utilize the College Council effectively.
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
We have exceeded one thousand participants! Here are some highlights about IDI since its rollout in the fall of 2015:
- More than 1,045 members of the college community, including faculty, staff, and students, have either taken or started the process of taking the assessment.
- We are extremely grateful for an anonymous donation that will cover the cost of the IDI for all of our trustees.
- This semester, the session entitlted, “IDI – How to work your plan,” was a part of the Spring 2019 Spotlight Series. A panel of colleagues shared how they have worked their Intercultural Development Inventory plans.
- The IDI has been fully integrated into the GLC Leadership Program.
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)
This semester, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion received progress updates of divisional IAPs, as the fall of 2018 concluded the first three years of our IAP process. A review of our accomplishments and action areas, which still need to be addressed, is ongoing.
Recent accomplishments include:
- “The Sentinel,” a parent e-newsletter, has been translated into Mandarin and Chinese.
- The second phase of the campus accessibility assessment was completed.
- An external employee compensation study was completed. The results indicated that staff salaries are balanced and equitable based on race and gender.
- Scholarships were provided to youth attending summer technology camps.
- A review of LGBTQIA+ programming and needs was conducted, identifying key action areas for the next director.
- We welcomed the largest and most diverse class in the College’s history this academic year. Twenty-four percent of the class represents racial and ethnic diversity, including 161 domestic students of color and 32 international students.
- The STEM Scholars program, initially funded through an S-STEM grant, will be sustained at the College through internal funding.
In conclusion, we want to extend a fond farewell and thank you to President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77, our first program coordinator, Jesse Mains, and our first student employee, Ivana Lopez Espinosa.
We thank JMR ’77 for being the first Gettysburg College president to institutionalize a focus on the critically important work of diversity and inclusion by appointing a chief diversity officer as a direct report to the president in 2014. This is a testament to her vision and wisdom in accepting the recommendation to do so from the President’s Diversity Commission. While there is still much work to be done, over the past five years, the Diversity and Inclusion Office has established a strong foundation which can be expanded and built upon in the years to come. In addition, Janet facilitated the implementation of a Trustee Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee, which places us ahead of many of our peers.
We thank Jesse Mains, the Diversity and Inclusion Office’s first program coordinator of diversity initiatives, and Ivana Lopez Espinosa, the office’s first student employee, for several years of outstanding service. Jesse is now the budget and faculty employment data coordinator in the Provost’s Office and remains an active qualified administrator for the IDI. Ivana graduated this semester and is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education with a concentration in diversity and social justice at the University of Michigan.
Thanks to all faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees for five great years of collaborative work to continue making our campus more inclusive.
Jeanne J. Arnold Chief Diversity Officer
Want to learn more?
Read more notable updates and stories below:
- President-elect Robert W. Iuliano will serve as the 15th president of Gettysburg College. He assumes office in July.
- In the wake of 9/11, Hulu engineering manager Disha Al Baqui ’05 defined grit at Gettysburg College, overcoming challenges as an international student from a Muslim family, who wanted to pursue a degree in the male-dominated field of computer science.
- As the founder and house leader of Latinx House, Candice Montenegro ’20 finds community by building it.
- After graduating, entrepreneur Lionel Hong ’12 found his true path studying and meditating in the mountains of China and has since developed a sporting apparel company in Beijing.
- Environmental studies major Alyssa Kaewwilai ‘20, a first-generation college student, pilots the Innovation Lab drone to conduct flood research.
Have something else to share or any suggestions for what you’d like to see in the next email update? Email email@example.com to learn more about Diversity & Inclusion at Gettysburg College.