Implementing the Goals of this Report
The DCC found widespread commitment to diverse community as “the touchstone of Mount Holyoke’s identity and . . . one if its highest aspirations in the twenty-first century” (Plan for 2010, p. 4). Much good work is being done across the institution and much more is outlined in the ambitious goals put forward in this document.
- Demonstrate leadership. Responsibility for implementing this agenda ultimately resides at the highest levels of the institution with the President and her Senior Staff. The President has already shown a strong commitment by establishing and participating in the DCC, articulating the Four Imperatives, and authorizing additional hiring of new officers who will work with the President, the Dean of the Faculty, and the Dean of the College to advance the diversity agenda.
The Faculty has a central role in addressing the goals of this report, and much good work has already been done. The Dean of Faculty, the Dean of the College and the Director of Academic Development must maintain their commitment to encouraging and supporting the efforts of faculty to strengthen mentoring, advising, and teaching and to create a climate of achievement for all students.
- Create and capitalize on new positions. In 2004 the president created positions of Director of Academic Development and Coördinator of Multicultural Affairs, and in 2005 a new position, now filled by a clinician of color, was added to Counseling Services. In addition, the President has created a new half-time position of Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and LITS is searching for a research librarian for multicultural programs and diversity. These positions represent a substantial commitment of our resources, have added a sense of energy and urgency to our diversity goals, and will help enormously to forward the ambitious agenda we put forward in this report. But we want to stress that our goals cannot be met by the work of these offices alone. Building the value of diversity for all of us will require the energy and commitment of the entire community – students, faculty, staff, and administration.
- Create a Inclusiveness Innovation Fund. Many offices have funds that are used to enhance the value of our diversity, including the President’s Office, the Dean of the College and Dean of
Students’ offices, the Dean of the Faculty’s office, the Weissman Center, and the Center for Global Initiatives. We recommend gathering from these sources to create an Inclusiveness Innovation Fund. This fund, like the Innovation Fund administered by the APC for curricular development, would solicit applications from the entire community to support innovative ideas for furthering the agenda of this report.
- Imbed goals in institutional structures. The President has asked each member of her Senior Staff to bring this report to divisions and departments and to develop initiatives that support the goals of the report.
We recommend that:
- Departments (both academic and other) be asked to include in their annual reports a description of what they have done during the year to promote the goals of this report.
- Annual performance reviews for staff include an opportunity for staff to introduce into the review work that they have done to further the goals of this report.
- Faculty should be invited as part of their reviews to report on work done that advances the goals of this report. Advising should be evaluated as part of the expectation for teaching excellence.
- Continue to build and maintain our diverse faculty. A key benefit of diversity is the intellectual contribution of a faculty with a broad range of experience and outlooks. Mount Holyoke has been unusually successful in creating faculty diversity, although more so in some fields than in others. We encourage ongoing efforts to address under-representation where it exists. Although it is clearly desirable to help students of color be aware of and interact with faculty of color we need to be mindful that these faculty are not overburdened and that all faculty are committed to the goal of academic achievement for all students.
- Increase efforts to recruit and retain staff of color. There has been considerably less success in hiring and retaining staff of color, although concerted efforts have been made that are beginning to generate progress.. The new initiative to create a Five College minority recruitment officer who will be housed at Mount Holyoke is promising.
- Locate oversight of this agenda in the MCCL. Comprised of faculty, staff, and students, the Multicultural and Community Life Committee has taken as its mandate “campus climate” issues. We suggest that this focus continue to be its central charge in the years ahead. We suggest that it appoint a subcommittee that will undertake oversight of this agenda as its only responsibility. This subcommittee would assess progress of the recommendations and bring to the attention of appropriate bodies any areas where it thought effort could be improved.
- Enhance opportunities for staff to engage in the diversity agenda. Staff contribute heavily to our academic mission and to students. We recommend creating more opportunities for staff to engage in the diversity agenda, including taking courses, and encouraging them to take those opportunities.
- Form an ALANA advisory group. Although the President called for the formation of an ad hoc ALANA advisory group “to share ideas, to focus our agenda with clear time lines, to track progress, and to witness our steady progress towards common goals,” such a group has not been formed. We suggest that it be formed this year to enhance communication among students, faculty, and staff. Because students brought their concerns to us, it is imperative that students be directly involved in the ongoing efforts to address those concerns. This group could also assist an MCCL sub-committee in overseeing progress toward implementation of the report’s recommendations. (Cf. III,7)
- Encourage the SGA to diversify itself and to continue to commit to this agenda. The goals of diverse community involve all students. Because of the importance of the SGA in representing all students, we urge it to continue diversifying itself and creatively addressing the goals of this report.
- Expand the use of cultural houses. The cultural houses are an ideal space for many of the conversations recommended in this report. They are also excellent spaces for expanding the intellectual work that occurs on campus. The Commission encourages the idea of using the cultural houses for more of the academic work that takes place.
- Streamline and clarify the process for accessing the cultural houses and reserving times for events there.
- Encourage academic and administrative offices to use the cultural houses as venues for events such as: receptions for prospective majors and minors, workshops on thesis presentations, seminars on applying to graduate or professional school, diversity training, organizing and meeting with study groups formed around classes, open house receptions, special office or departmental events (e.g., weekly or monthly coffee hours).
- Create a hospitable environment that builds the value of our diversity. As Mount Holyoke continues to transform itself to a diverse multi-cultural, global community, we must strive to make sure that our beautiful campus and buildings are not only welcoming to all members of our extended community, but that they contribute to the value of that diverse community.
- Review campus facilities for their contribution, especially the Blanchard campus center, Willits-Hallowell, the residence hall common spaces, and the cultural houses.
- Review services, policies, and practices for their contribution to an inclusive climate. Continue the work that Dining Services has initiated in creating menus that are hospitable for our diverse community.
- Review ceremonies and events, like Convocation, Commencement, the Awards Ceremony, the Honor Code Ceremony, and others, for their contribution to our sense of inclusiveness.
- Streamline the grievance procedures for bias incidents. During the past year there was some confusion as to exactly what the procedures are for bias incidents, how they may be used, who may use them, and for what. We need to streamline and clarify these procedures, and then disseminate information so that all members of the community will understand what our procedures are.
- Display our powerful anti-bias commitment, adopted in 1973 by the faculty, more prominently.
- Make this an organic agenda. Because the College is made up of many people who, regardless of color, are deeply committed to a robust agenda of making Mount Holyoke a diverse community, we recommend that offices and groups across the institution review what they can do to further the goals in this document. We encourage them to submit to the Office of Academic Development by the end of the first term of the academic year 2005-2006 preliminary ideas about proposed contributions to the ongoing agenda. These ideas can then be posted on a website and discussed at meetings with the goal of broadcasting achievements, cross-fertilizing creative ideas, and stimulating further progress.