Establish a joint presidential commission and subcommittee of the Multicultural Community and College Life Committee made up of faculty, students, and staff to implement the goals supporting “diverse community” in The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010 (III. A. I, p. 15).
Diverse community is the touchstone of Mount Holyoke’s identity. . . . Diversity not only enhances the critical and moral education of Mount Holyoke students, but also represents our collective commitment to social justice, and to thinking deeply about issues of difference, pluralism, and community. (The Plan for 2010, p. 4).
This ad hoc Presidential Commission on Diverse Community is charged with assessing and enhancing the role diversity plays in our work environment, our community, and especially in the curricular and co-curricular dimensions of our students’ education.
The Commission should take as its mandate our mission to educate “a diverse community of women at the highest level of academic excellence” and should address both how to make diversity more educationally productive for all students and how to ameliorate those conditions that inhibit or prevent some students from achieving their full academic potential.
Paying particular attention to racial and ethnic diversity, it should seek to gain analytical perspectives on student satisfaction and achievement, using, as a starting point, recent COFHE data and other such assessment measures, and it should follow, where appropriate, the recommendations of our Mellon-funded study, “Creating a Climate of Achievement for all Students.” It should foster exploratory conversations among faculty, students, and staff; support opportunities for faculty to discuss and develop pedagogical strategies for working with diverse learners; and try to elicit creative, systemic ways to mentor students and help to instill a climate of high expectations and achievement for targeted groups. It should encourage both single-campus and consortial initiatives, especially with the Five Colleges.
Recognizing that education takes place outside as well as inside the classroom, the Commission should address co-curricular issues and programming and help to create a culture of diversity and inclusion. Embracing the idea that learning to know others who are different is a valuable path to wisdom and self-understanding, the Commission should encourage initiatives that promote dialogue and interaction across difference.
More broadly, it should promote efforts to become more diverse in our student body, staff, and faculty and to acknowledge and celebrate the benefits of diverse community in all facets of College life.
Logistics: Ideally, the Commission will begin its work in January 2004 and finish by May of 2005.