Leadership in the Community of Colleges

Founded by Mary Lyon in 1837, when higher education for women was itself a revolutionary idea of “diversity and inclusion”, Mount Holyoke College is the nation's oldest continuing institution of higher education for women. Today whether or not you experience Mount Holyoke as a diverse institution depends largely on what social milieu you hail from and what categories of diversity you take time to consider, but the college's commitment to engaged diversity is active and forward moving and that commitment also extends beyond our own gates. Over the last decade Mount Holyoke has helped to raise the bar on this mission for other liberal arts colleges - particularly in the Northeastern US.

Diversifying Faculty

Our percentage of faculty of color (24%), and of junior faculty of color (47%), are among the highest among liberal arts colleges - we celebrate and value this hiring commitment. This year MHC became the top ranking liberal arts college with respect to the number of black full time faculty members (18).

Mount Holyoke attracts post-docs from underrepresented groups for one-year fellowships. This program not only bolsters our faculty with young, energetic scholar/teachers, it allows fellows to get a taste of teaching and scholarship at a liberal arts college. Depending on departmental needs and available funding, the College may hire 1-3 CFD fellows per academic year. MHC has had a long-standing tradition of bringing a Five College Fellow to campus annually to spend a year finishing his or her dissertation while concurrently teaching one course at the college.  Membership in the Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges offers both support and forum for the promotion of this mission.

Consortium for High Achievement and Success (CHAS)

Mount Holyoke has spearheaded several initiatives for the Consortium for High Achievement and Success (CHAS), a consortium of 41 liberal arts colleges who are working to promote achievement, satisfaction, and engagement of Black and Hispanic students. MHC led CHAS's initiative to bring leading scholars on stereotype threat to campus (Claude Steele, Josh Aronson, Goeff Cohen) and hosted the first CHAS meeting of science faculty (May, 2005).

Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE)

Thirty-one private colleges and universities participate in COFHE to support a common commitment to providing exceptional educational opportunities to highly talented students, and share strategies for best practices in fiscal management.

Socio-Economic Class

The attention being paid to diversity by colleges across the country that have been historically institutions of exclusive elite white populations is thankfully on the increase, but very little is still being done to promote higher education for students of all races from low-income families. Mount Holyoke is in some notable ways an exception: 22% of our domestic students are drawn from the bottom economic quintile of the population.

In 2006 Mount Holyoke was chosen to be one of eight highly selective colleges to work with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to improve access to a four-year education for community-college students from low- and moderate-income families. Participating colleges have committed a total of $20-million in financial aid and other resources, and the foundation is contributing an additional $6.8-million. The eight colleges, both private and public, were chosen from a pool of 48 institutions that submitted grant proposals. Each college has become part of the foundation's five-year study that will track their effectiveness in recruiting and retaining high-achieving community-college students.

Center for Global Initiatives

Mount Holyoke also has long been at the forefront of providing a global education. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives was founded in 2004 to unite Mount Holyoke's wealth of international programs and people, and implement a coherent vision for education for global citizenship. The center continues it’s innovative work to advance understanding of global problems and solutions from cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-national perspectives. Through its programs, students and faculty members engage critically with an increasingly global world.

Women's Education Worldwide

Founded in 2003 by Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, two of the original "Seven Sisters" of U.S. higher education, Women's Education Worldwide is an international initiative which brings together an alliance of 46 institutions of higher education from around the world committed to advancing the cause of educating women.

Community-Based Learning (CBL)

On March 30, 2007 the Community-Based Learning Program at Mount Holyoke College celebrated its Tenth Anniversary. Mount Holyoke's CBL leads the way among peer institutions in the number of CBL courses offered each year, and its subsequent enrichment of the college's liberal arts curriculum. CBL enhances students' understanding of public concerns and fosters their leadership, citizenship, and advocacy skills - engaging students and faculty in issues of inclusion, diversity, understanding and talking across difference as they work closely with over 2 dozen local community partners. Beyond the Green: Liberal Learning through Community Partnerships (video clip).

Take the Lead! Teen Program

Take the Lead! is an innovative, intensive four-day conference hosted by Mount Holyoke College that gives young women the tools to turn their ideas for social change into action. The program, now in its seventh year, has inspired and equipped scores of young women to design and implement projects that address a wide range of social and political issues. More about Take the Lead!