Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,
I am writing today to provide an update on the College’s progress related to diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
Following intensive work done over the summer, which resulted in a series of commitments shared with the full community in September, we have taken important strides in our collective effort to confront racism, injustice, and inequality. This work, which is both essential and enduring, is intended to help each of us come to a more expansive view of ourselves, our interactions across difference, and the impact such interactions can have in bettering our community and our world.
Below are some key areas of focus for the College in recent months:
New Endowed Faculty Prize
We have created an endowed faculty prize at Gettysburg College: The Bruce S. Gordon ’68 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Teaching Excellence Prize. The prize is named in honor of Trustee Emeritus Bruce Gordon, a Class of 1968 graduate of the College and civil rights activist who served as president and CEO of the NAACP.
The prize, which will be awarded for the first time in Fall 2021, was funded by a diverse group of alumni, hailing from classes of the 1960s through the 1990s, who hope to cultivate the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus through this distinctive award.
Approximately $1,250 per year will be awarded in the fall to a faculty member who stands out as having advanced a campus climate that is supportive of differences in the classroom and beyond. Recipients will be selected by the Provost and Academic Division Deans in collaboration with the Chief Diversity Officer.
All full-time faculty who have taught at the College for a minimum of three years are eligible. The successful nominee will have contributed substantially to inclusion at the College, and their teaching activities will have fostered awareness about diversity issues and promoted cultural competence. The extent to which the nominee’s teaching activities have advanced a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive of differences will be an important consideration.
Nominations for the award may come from faculty, staff, or Gettysburg students. More information will be forthcoming from the Provost’s office about how to submit a nomination.
Strategic Planning Process
As you know, the College is actively engaged in a new strategic planning process, which aims to set an ambitious course for the institution and the liberal arts and sciences education we provide to students. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging is rightly positioned at the very center of this planning. As one of our four guiding principles, every decision related to our College’s future—from our curriculum, to our programs, to our structures and resources—is actively being informed by this fundamental value.
If you have yet to do so, I ask that you please contribute your thoughts and ideas to our strategic planning process. Our plans will only grow stronger with the fullest range of perspectives and insights from across our College community.
Certainly, a key component of our strategic planning, as noted, is our ongoing curriculum review. This process is challenging us to reimagine how the Gettysburg curriculum can foster intercultural competence and critical inquiry on matters related to racism, oppression, power, and privilege—topics with deep importance given contemporary events in the United States and beyond.
This past fall, the Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) invited Dr. Divonna Stebick, Dr. Brent Talbot, and Dr. Jeanne Arnold to a meeting to solicit feedback on its draft learning goals and outcomes, as well as to field recommendations for a revised curriculum. The CRC is now in the process of thoughtfully modifying these learning goals and outcomes, and it remains fully committed to aligning its work with our diversity, inclusion, and belonging objectives, so we may offer a truly robust and contemporary academic experience to our students in the years ahead.
Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
This spring, CRC members took the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)—in most cases, for the second time. Committee members are in the process of meeting with their respective QAs to discuss their individual findings, and will reconvene with Dr. Arnold to review a group summary of their results later this semester.
This represents just the latest in an encouraging trend observed across the campus community: an increase in IDI participation among Gettysburg students and employees. In fact, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has received more 200 requests to take the IDI since October, with programs such as the Garthwait Leadership Center championing the assessment tool and incorporating it into its programming. Off campus, our Alumni Board and BOLD (Burgians of the Last Decade) Council have also committed to taking the IDI.
In addition, we’re pleased to share that all newly hired staff members at Gettysburg College are now required to take the IDI. This change went into effect on January 1, 2021. While this initiative has not contributed significantly to our recent IDI participation totals, it has the promise of profoundly influencing how our staff engage with students and one another during their tenure at the College.
If you or any department, office, organization, or program would like to participate in the IDI, please submit an IDI request form.
Divisional Inclusion Action Plans (IAPs)
With an eye toward transforming our campus into a more welcoming environment, where difference is not only accepted but embraced, each administrative division vice president was responsible for developing and submitting a Divisional Inclusion Action Plan (IAP). The plans are currently being assessed and, upon approval, will be published on the Diversity & Inclusion website this summer. The progress ultimately made on these plans, as well as the areas for further growth and improvement, will be documented in an annual report created by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
I would like to extend our deepest thanks to the members of the President’s Council for their work, and the work of their divisions, in creating these comprehensive plans. I look forward to seeing the plans be put into action.
In a year as disorienting as this one, it is telling that this community continues to see with great clarity that diversity in all its dimensions is a source of excellence.
I want to thank all students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have worked with diligence and care to advance these important initiatives to date. While these updates represent only a sampling of the work currently underway across our campus, I am confident that we will intensify our efforts in the months and years ahead to make this College a place where every member is valued and fully belongs.