By Phoebe Doscher, Editor-in-Chief
On Nov. 18, Gettysburg released the findings of the Sept. 2020 diversity infrastructure review, led by Vice President of College Life Anne Ehrlich and Associate Provost for Faculty Development Jennifer Collins Bloomquist.
The recommendations suggest improved interaction between the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and students, faculty, and staff; linking the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to Human Resources, Faculty Development, and College Life; the potential creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) cabinet; and a cross-divisional review of accessibility structures. The College will also be launching a national search for a new Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) soon, assuming the position that Dr. Carlos Tasso Aquino has filled temporarily.
The report does not recommend creating a separate division for diversity, equity, and inclusion, but rather connecting the Chief Diversity Officer to other areas of the college. “A divisional model runs the risk of further siloing DEI efforts, which should be done at every level in every division of the college and is the responsibility of every member of the campus community,” the report says.
Further, the report suggests providing a reporting line from Human Services, the Associate Provost for Faculty Development, and the diversity, equity, and inclusion areas of College Life to the Chief Diversity Officer to “deepen the DEI work on our campus and [systematize] accountability for advancing … DEI commitments.”
The recommendations also include creating structures to allow for systemic contact between the CDO and students, including a student advisory group and student work opportunities in the Diversity & Inclusion Office. Lastly, the report recommends a separate review of the College’s ADA systems and structures.
The report reflects findings of an assessment of diversity, equity, and inclusion at 30 residential liberal arts colleges, a campus-wide survey with 218 responses, and one-on-one interviews with faculty, administrators, staff, and students.
One of the key findings from the assessment, survey, and interviews includes improving transparency and cross-divisional communication in their DEI work, which the report notes is “siloed and often redundant.”
The findings also point to a need for consistent educational resources on diversity and inclusion for faculty and staff, ensuring the CDO has credibility with faculty and works in the provost’s office on curricular goals, and improving recruitment and retention of staff of color. The report noted that the CDO should work with promotion and tenure committees to improve recruitment and retention.
The assessments also found that the College needs to enhance and centralize support for employees and students with disabilities, improve their bias reporting protocol, and work with leaders in the Gettysburg community to make the off-campus climate safe.
“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,” said President Bob Iuliano.
Read the full report here:View Fullscreen