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Work on Diversity Action Plan Continues

Work on Diversity Action Plan Continues

Peter Coleman, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education

Peter Coleman, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education

In her State of the College address, Academic Vice President and Dean Darlyne Bailey stressed that one of her priorities was to "craft an educational community broad and deep enough to safely hold all of us." As part of that effort, The Affirmative Action Committee at TC has been working to facilitate, support and acknowledge groups around the College whose activities and vision are focused on diversity. The bi-annual meetings provide a means of identifying actions that will further a collective mission of establishing the College as an institution "that attracts, supports, and retains diverse students, faculty and staff at all levels through a commitment to social justice, a respectful and vibrant community and encouragement and support of each individual in the achievement of his or her potential."

"There is important work being done by different groups throughout the College. The Affirmative Action Committee is simply trying to bolster this work by providing opportunities to better communicate and/or coordinate the activities-building a stronger network," said Committee member Assistant Professor Peter Coleman.

A Diversity Action Planning Report was presented by the Affirmative Action Committee to the Dean's office in 2003 on behalf of the groups, outlining the significant steps that were being taken. Highlights of the meeting included:

  • The Affirmative Action Committee researched potential scholarships for LGBT students and reviewed course evaluations for inclusion of diversity issues.

  • The Barrier Removal Committee's continued efforts to improve signage, provide closed captioned media for all classes and events, and insure access for people with dis/Abilities to campus facilities.

  • The Committee on Community and Diversity developed a campus Web site, awarded two grants for student research in diversity and sponsored cultural events such as TC's African Diaspora Cine Club.

  • The FEC Committee on Race, Culture and Diversity awarded two faculty diversity awards and organized colloquia around relevant topics such as teaching about war in Iraq.

  • The International Student Office formed an International Advisory Committee and improved attendance at International Week events.

  • The Student Life Office and Student Senate initiated a weekly announcement to improve student awareness about community events and worked for student representation on college-wide committees.

  • The Target of Opportunity selected and secured funding for two minority post-doctoral fellows for the year.

    In March, the committee meets again involving the groups above as well as additional participants representing a broadening of commitment to these issues. "The purpose will be to review current processes to identify how best to support and move forward with continued efforts and to examine how these efforts link to the College's Strategic Planning initiatives," said Assistant Professor Lori Custodero, Committee Co-chair.

    Lori Custodero, Assistant Professor of Music Education

    Lori Custodero, Assistant Professor of Music Education

    "The meeting in the Fall of 2002 started with a review of existing resources we have at the College to improve institutional policy, practice and community," Custodero said. "Last spring we began to document implementation issues that require attention, including the need for greater communication and dissemination of information, and the less easily negotiated influences of budgetary priorities and legal responsibilities. We plan to collectively revisit both ‘what we have' and ‘what we need' at our March meeting, in the service of setting goals that are both realistic and relevant."

    "The College is making progress on this agenda, and there is much work to be done," added Coleman. "Establishing and maintaining a climate that respects diversity and engages in implementing the kinds of policies and practices that are required demands a long-term commitment by people throughout the College."

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