Bob Iuliano outlines forthcoming changes to diversity infrastructure and announces a national search for a Chief Diversity Officer.
Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,
In September 2020, the College committed to conducting a comprehensive examination of our diversity infrastructure to ensure it is integrated, contemporary, and effective. Today, I write to share with you the findings of this review.
I am deeply grateful to Jennifer Collins Bloomquist, Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Dean of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs, and Anne Ehrlich, Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students, for leading this examination. In addition, I would like to thank all who contributed their voice and perspectives to this important work.
Attached is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Structures Report submitted by Associate Provost Bloomquist and Vice President Ehrlich.
Diversity Infrastructure Changes
I am accepting the recommendations proposed in the report. In practice, this means the following changes to our diversity infrastructure will be forthcoming:
- CDO Responsibilities: The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) will now more intentionally and systematically engage with all three spheres of the College—students, faculty, and staff. This is not to suggest that the issues across the three spheres are identical—they are not—but an integrated approach to DEI issues across the entire campus will improve the reach and effectiveness of our efforts.
Organizational Structures: To ensure this engagement occurs systematically and effectively, we will realign the institution’s organizational structures. The CDO and Office of Diversity & Inclusion will now structurally connect—per a dotted reporting line—to areas of the College directly responsible for diversity, equity, and inclusion education and support, including Human Resources, Faculty Development, and some areas of College Life.
The College will not create a separate division focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. While the idea was explored, a divisional model—as the report stresses—would run the risk of further siloing our DEI efforts. Rather, the new alignment of our organizational structures is intentionally designed to support DEI across all three spheres of the College, and it institutionalizes this work, given that it is a core responsibility of every member of our community—faculty, staff, and students alike.
- Inputs and Coordination: In my conversations with Associate Provost Bloomquist and Vice President Ehrlich, the concept arose of creating a more formal DEI cabinet consisting of the leaders from Human Resources, Faculty Development, and a to-be hired DEI leader in College Life. It is essential to provide the next Chief Diversity Officer with the opportunity to assess how they believe the College’s work can best be advanced. This will be among the ideas that they will be asked to carefully consider. Building from the dotted line reporting relationship, a cabinet structure has the potential to help us further align and deepen our necessary DEI work on campus, and it systematizes accountability for advancing our stated DEI commitments.
- Accessibility Structures: The report also repeats what I have heard from several students and employees: our systems for supporting members of the community with disabilities warrants its own comprehensive review. Upon arrival, I will charge our new CDO to lead a cross-divisional review to assess how we might strengthen the structures that support all members of our community with disabilities.
National Search for Chief Diversity Officer
The College will soon launch a national search for our new Chief Diversity Officer, who will be a member of the President’s Council and serve as the chief architect of our DEI work into the future.
While the search is proceeding, Dr. Carlos Tasso Aquino continues his ongoing and important work as the College’s Interim Chief Diversity Officer. In this role, he is helping to ensure that the College continues to make essential progress in advancing the institution’s 2021-22 commitments. He is also assessing and strengthening each division’s Inclusion Action Plan (IAP) and collaborating with the President’s Council, Integrated Learning Committee, ADA Committee, BARC, Campus Climate, I.D.E.A. Council, and IDI QAs to discuss new opportunities and approaches for our DEI work.
As we work to shape the future of Gettysburg College through our new strategic plan, the effectiveness of our diversity infrastructure will prove essential to our shared goal of cultivating a more inclusive and vibrant campus community. I once again want to thank Associate Provost Bloomquist, Vice President Ehrlich, and all who have put forward such important work to ensure our community takes necessary steps to improve.