Office for Diversity Affairs and Equal Opportunity

Diversity and Equity Standing Committee

Three challenges

Much of our work over the past few years has focused on the racial climate in the classroom. This focus has been appropriate. It reflects the centrality of the classroom experience in the life of the college and it reflects the animating impact of race, both historically and currently, in any dialogue about diversity. As our work moves forward, it is important that we give due consideration to the full range of diversity issues reflected in our mission statement. It is also important that we give attention to the climate experienced by staff and faculty as well as students. As I reflect on our work so far, I want the advice of a Disappearing Task Force to address three challenges.

Sustaining our efforts. Real improvements in campus climate require deep understanding and sustained effort. Over the past few years, we have maintained an intense focus on a critical campus issue - the racial climate in the classroom. Much of what we have accomplished has been due to the efforts of committed individuals who, sooner or later, will want to move on to other projects, retire, or just take a break. It is important that Evergreen, as an institution, be prepared to carry on this work. We need a plan that will help us institutionalize positive changes and help ensure that we carry on this work in the years ahead.

Coordinating and planning our efforts. Much of our recent work has reflected a de- centralized, grass roots approach that has demonstrated broad support and commitment to improving our campus practices. We need to ensure that our limited resources are applied where they are most needed, that our efforts are not needlessly duplicated, and that our efforts are coordinated in a way that can lead to lasting institutional improvements. It is also important that the roles of the offices and individuals who are doing this work are clear to all.

Gaining a broader, deeper view of the college. In the long run, our ability to become the college that we aspire to be depends on achieving a clear and comprehensive view of both our strengths and shortcomings. Our goals must be to ensure that, as our work continues, our efforts address the full complexity of diversity and college systems. There is a risk that the very intensity of our focus in one area may prevent us from recognizing another area in greater need of attention.

The charge

I am asking the DTF to advise me on how best to address these challenges. Specifically, I am asking the DTF to propose a five-year diversity strategic plan that addresses the following points.

  1. The plan should identify specific priorities and goals, and describe actions that could be taken to achieve those goals. To produce a good five-year plan, the DTF will need to become familiar with our current work in support of diversity, including human resource practices, campus life programs, curricular strategies and other programs. The DTF will need to research data on the current state of the college and become familiar with the practices, programs and trends at other institutions.
  2. The plan should propose a data collection framework that we can use regularly to develop a more complete and accurate assessment of the college's diversity efforts. A number of possible frameworks are available, some developed at Evergreen and others representing state-wide and national efforts. APPENDIX 11
  3. The plan should consider what kind of implementation team would be necessary to coordinate and carry out the activities described in the strategic diversity plan.
  4. Finally, the DTF's report should estimate any additional resources that would be required to carry out the plan