April Diversity and Inclusivity Community Update
Posted: April 3, 2016
Dear Scripps College Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am writing to provide an update on the College’s actions and progress toward combating institutional racism, expanding support for students of color and members of other marginalized groups, and creating a more inclusive climate for all Scripps students.
In a meeting with students in my office, on Friday, November 13, 2015, I committed to a number of actions to begin to address the urgent concerns of students of color and their allies. A detailed report of the status of those actions follows:
- Support the increase of funding to Monsour Health Services
The Council of Presidents has prioritized Monsour Health Services. A decision was made to immediately hire an additional therapist with an expertise in Asian American communities. We also approved hiring therapists to take on additional hours as needed to keep the wait time down. We also agreed to hire an additional 1 or 2 postdoctoral fellows.
- Work with the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) to review health care services provided by Monsour and address the current wait time
The effect of the changes listed above in #1 has reduced the wait time significantly. This is being constantly monitored to address spikes or changes to the wait time. As a reminder, students who need immediate attention are provided this.
In addition to the wait time, a more deliberative and comprehensive review of the health care services provided by Monsour are being initiated. These will include both quantitative and qualitative measures about use, satisfaction, and effectiveness. Regular reporting of these assessments will be provided to the Council of Presidents.
- Provide resources to offset the cost of counseling copays for students
Scripps is providing resources for students wishing to treat off campus with a designated mental health provider. Under a program initiated in the fall of 2015, Scripps students who choose to by-pass Monsour, due to wait times or other issues, may contact the Dean of Students Office for a designated list of off campus providers who have agreed to allow Scripps to cover co-pays or, in instances where a student is not covered by the college health plan, a portion of the session cost. The program will be continued over the next academic year, with minor modifications, while we continue to increase access to services provided by Monsour.
- Work with the Dean of Students to better understand why students take personal leaves of absences and what can be done to facilitate their return to Scripps
The Dean of Students and the Dean of Faculty are working with the Registrar, Financial Aid Office and the Office of Institutional Research to streamline and improve the process by which the college collects data regarding reasons students leave the college. Data collected will be studied to better ascertain students’ reasons for leaving and what additional the college might do to prevent leaves of absence and facilitate a smooth reentry.
- Work with the Interim Dean of Faculty on faculty search process to include diverse representation
All faculty searches are monitored by the Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure Committee that is comprised of 5 faculty annually elected by the faculty. One of their important jobs is to ensure the College’s goal of having a diverse faculty.
- Work with Director of Human Resources on staff search process to include diverse representation
There was no formal search committee process in place but rather there were practices employed. A new formal search process has been created and implemented.
The new process includes the following:
As an institution of higher education, and as part of its responsibility as a leader in education, Scripps College commits itself to play an active role in developing a workforce committed to the College’s Principles of Community and Principles of Diversity in the performance of job duties.
- Wherever possible the committee should include a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and demographic make-up (age, race, gender, etc.)
- Extreme care must be taken in evaluation of personal attributes. No bias on the basis of race, natural origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or other protected classification should be allowed to enter into this evaluation. Committee members also should examine facially neutral criteria to ensure that such criteria do not have an unintentional adverse impact. The easiest way to ensure objectivity is to have clear set of qualifications, and to apply them as consistently as possible.
- Student representation on search committees is strongly encouraged for exempt Dean of Student positions.
- All search committees are provided a list of questions to ask during the interview including questions to ascertain a candidate’s propensity to embrace diversity and be inclusive.
- Advocate for Scripps Colleges searches to include in their advertisement a requirement that the candidate provide a statement and proof of commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity
For staff hires, Scripps went to an online applicant tracking system. In the application, all applicants must affirmatively attest that they have read, understand and will abide by Scripps Principles of Community and Diversity All jobs are posted on diversejobs.net (This is a higher education diverse job board) http://diversejobs.net/
For faculty hires, the advertisement includes the following statement:
“Preference will be given to applicants with a commitment to the College’s goal
of improving higher education for underrepresented students.”
- Communicate to the Interim Dean of Faculty the desire of students to have a voice on search committees by being a voting member
There was a vote on the inclusion of student voting members years ago by the full faculty that was not approved. The Interim Dean of Faculty has reintroduced the notion of students being voting members of search committees to the Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure Committee. This will be discussed. If moved forward, it would need to be endorsed and voted on by the Faculty Executive Committee and the full faculty.
- Communicate to the Director of Human Resources the desire of students to have a voice on search committees by being a voting member
Student representation on search committees is strongly encouraged for exempt Dean of Student positions.
- Promote, through the Interim Dean of Faculty, the importance of faculty training and encouragement of faculty to seek resources to navigate classroom dialogue regarding power and oppression
There have been and continue to be sessions for faculty to navigate dialogue regarding power and oppression. Listed is a sampling. The Interim Dean of Faculty continues to encourage all faculty to attend.
February, 2016 – workshops by Becky Packard (Mount Holyoke) on different topics, including anti-racist pedagogy and how to develop assignments that are transparent.
At Scripps, over 20 faculty attended her workshop.
March, 2016 – lunch with pre-tenure Scripps faculty to discuss campus climate, diversity in the curriculum, other topics (Scripps only, with the Interim Dean of Faculty and Associate Dean of Faculty).
April, 2016 – Anti-oppression workshops for faculty with Antoinette Myers
April, 2016 – Faculty Diversity Awards. The awards recognize faculty members who have made exceptional contributions to enhancing and supporting diversity and inclusion within the Claremont Colleges community. These awards highlight community values of diversity and inclusion, as well as shared understanding of the important contributions that diversity makes to institutional and campus excellence. Two awards are for mentoring and two are for teaching. The invited speaker is Vijay Pendakur from Cal State Fullerton, speaking on “The Will to Dream: Cultivating the Radical Imagination.”
August, 2016 – Mary-Ann Winkelmes (UNLV) will lead a workshop on designing transparent assignments. Winkelmes published research showing that “This simple, replicable teaching intervention demonstrably enhanced the success of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented college students in multiple ways at statistically significant levels, with a medium-to-large-sized magnitude of effect.”
- Promote, through the Director of Human Resources, the importance of administration and staff training and encouragement of administration and staff to seek resources to navigate dialogues regarding power and oppression
There are multiple upcoming trainings that will be available to the staff:
- Improving Communications
- Respect and Positive Interaction in the Workplace
- Fostering Inclusion in the Workplace
- Dealing with the Elephant in the Room
In addition, there have been anti-oppression trainings provided by Antoinette Myers for the staff and other relevant programming.
I would like to thank the students, faculty, and staff who have participated in focus groups, meetings, and committees to help implement these programs.
Many of the above actions are echoed in the attached updated list of diversity and inclusion commitments. While I am pleased that we have been able to move forward on several fronts, and particularly on students’ most urgent concerns, I recognize that the pervasive effects of institutional racism and oppression will require a sustained investment in resources, relationship-building, education, and self-reflection. I, and the senior team, remain committed to advancing the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access not only through the actions addressed in this letter, but in our ongoing policy, budget, and operational decisions.
I will next update the community on our work in May. As always, I welcome your questions and comments, as we continue to work on these issues together.
Interim President Amy Marcus-Newhall
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