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Update on Senior Staff Goal #6- Employee Development

May 5, 2017
By Emmy Newman’17 and Ann Davies

Growing out of a movement that included student activism in support of equity and the #MakingEquityRealatBeloit series last year, the college’s senior staff (the president’s cabinet) set 10 Inclusive Living and Learning goals last summer and finalized them in early fall. Each goal has a lead individual responsible for it, and progress toward goals is tracked on this Projects and Priorities web page.

The Terrarium plans to check in on each of the goals to track their progress. This short Q &A is on Goal No.6, Employee Development. Senior Staff and others have implemented Decolonizing Pedagogies, a reading group, supported by the Mellon Foundation. Provost and Dean of the College Ann Davies sat down with Emmy Newman’17 to discuss the goal’s progress. Learn more about the goal here.

How did the senior staff reading series work as a whole? Have there been any plans for a follow-up workshop?

Our reading series was modeled after the pedagogies reading series that has been part of the Decolonizing Pedagogies supported by the Mellon Foundation. Senior staff, along with a group of directors from across the college (e.g., associate deans, the director of Human Resources, the Athletics Director) split into two groups that met for six 1.5-hours sessions across the semester. Each session involved a set of readings and a writing prompt, which were then engaged through discussions led by Nicole Truesdell and Catherine Orr or Lisa Anderson-Levy and Jesse Carr.

That series wrapped up last week. Some participants will, I think, continue in the program and curriculum development workshop.

What is the progress on the handbook for promoting equity in the recruitment of job candidates, set to be finished in the fall?

The handbook will be finished in the summer.

How is the assessment of the bias incident policy progressing?

This semester, we've been focusing on how the reporting and resolution process has been experienced by both those who have reported and those who have been the subject of those reports. The assessment has revealed some places where we can do better in communicating the process overall, its goals, and the resolution of individual cases. A year's worth of cases has also helped us hone our own coordination in terms of who needs to know what, when, and how cases should be handled by our lead responders.

What do you feel has been the most productive part of your work on this goal?

To be clear, this goal doesn't involve my work alone, but the collective work of many, many people. I'm just the point person for senior staff.

From my perspective, the most productive part of the work has involved the reading series. Nicole, Catherine, Lisa, and Jesse put together a powerful set of readings and prompts, and participants proved willing to wrestle with them in very honest ways that provoked insight regarding whiteness and how we can place equity and inclusion at the center of our work. I can't speak for everyone, but I left the series more aware of oppression's entrenchment, more aware of actions I could take to resist it, more resolved and confident to take them. The power of the reading series is that I think a number of others left with a similar sense, which means that there's real possibility for a fresh orientation toward equity and inclusion across different parts of the college.

To borrow from Andrea Smith (cofounder of the national organizations INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and The Boarding School Healing Project), the aspiration, I believe, is to move beyond people feeling guilty about having privileges and instead toward "a collective project to transform these conditions so that everybody has privileges, everybody has skills, and everybody has power to make decisions." That's a tall order, I know, and obviously, what happens next is very important. What Smith is talking about involves tectonic shifts in how we go about the work we do, and some of that change is necessarily -- and sometimes frustratingly -- slow. I also expect that we'll continue to pursue changes that feel more immediate (e.g., better signage for physical accessibility, more gender neutral bathrooms, more training for staff).

What is your next step in the process of working through this goal?

  • It will be worthwhile for senior staff to debrief on the reading series and how it informs our individual and collective goals and work next year around equity and inclusion.
  • Finish the hiring handbook.
  • Wrap up the assessment of the anti-hate act and bias incident pilot and determine how to facilitate a healthy campus conversation about next steps with regard to that protocol.

Readings:

Kimberle Crenshaw, "Why Intersectionality Can't Wait," The Washington Post, September 24, 2015.

Patricia Hill Collins, "Toward a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection," in Women's Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings, ed. Susan Shaw and Janet Lee (Oregon State University, 2004)

Robin DiAngelo, "My Class Didn't Trump My Race: Using Oppression to Face Privilege," Multicultural Perspectives 8.1, 2006.

bell hooks, “Learning in the Shadow of Race and Class,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 17, 2000.

Tia McNair, "The Time is Now: Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence," Diversity & Democracy 19, no. 1 (Winter 2016)

Estela Bensimon, "Five Principles for Enacting Equity by Design," Diversity & Democracy 19, no. 1 (Winter 2016)

Kyra, “How to Uphold White Supremacy by Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion,” Model View Culture, December 10, 2014

  1. The Long Ugly History of Racism at American Universities -https://newrepublic.com/article/121382/forgotten-racist-past-american-universities
  2. Sarah Ahmed, "Women of Colour as Diversity Workers,"Feminist Killjoys, November 26, 2015.
  3. https://marcikwalton.com/2016/03/30/a-recovering-racist/- Marci Walton, “A Recovering Racist” (you can watch the video or read the text/transcript) 

Iverson, S. V. (2007). Camouflaging power and privilege: A critical race analysis of university diversity policies. Educational Administration Quarterly, 43(5), 586-611. (focus on findings/discussion starting p. 593)

  1. Racial Battle Fatigue and the Black Student Affairs Professional in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter -http://scholarworks.uvm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1266&context=tvc
  2. Cobb-Roberts, Deirdre. Betwixt Safety and Shielding in the Academy: Confronting Institutional Gendered Racism Again. Negro Educational Review 62/63.1-4 (2011/12) 89-113 [PDF in Google Drive]

Eula Biss, “White Debt,” New York Times, December 6, 2015.

Yareliz Elena Mendez-Zamora, "Surviving Institutions That Weren't Created For You," The Huffington Post, August 1, 2016..

Robin Hughes, "10 Signs of Institutionalized Racism," Diverse Issues in Higher Education, May 29, 2014.

Warren Waren, "Comparing Oscar Nominations with Higher Education Faculty," Racism Review, January 26, 2016.

Marybeth Gasman, “The Five Things No One Will Tell You About Why Colleges Don’t Hire More Faculty of Color,” Hechinger Report: Innovation and Inequality in Higher Education, September 20, 2016.

Bobbie Porter, "Developing an Intersectional Framework for Racially Inclusive LGBTQ Programming," Diversity and Democracy 19, no. 1 (Winter 2016)

Allan Bérubé, "How Gay Stays White and What Kind of White it Stays," Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History, University of North Carolina (2011)

Jameelah Jones, "Throwing the Rock and Hiding Your Hand: White Women and a Revisiting of Intersectionality,"Medium, September 20, 2016.

Mamta, Motwani Accapadi. “When White Women Cry: How White Women’s Tears Oppress Women Of Color,” The College Student Affairs Journal, 26(2): 2007

 Take power to make power - Andrea Smith Interview

Gina Ulysse, "Pedagogies of Belonging," The Huffington Post, December 7, 2015.

Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq.,The Culture of the Smug White Liberal

Stewart, Dafina-Lazarus. “Language of Appeasement,” Inside Higher Ed,