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Division of Diversity Updates

March 1, 2023: Women's History Month and Disability Awareness Month

March 1st marks the start of both Women’s History Month and Disability Awareness Month.

February 8, 2023: Inclusive Excellence Award Nominations Open!

Last year, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion handed out a number of awards to faculty, staff and students for their contributions to inclusive excellence. Faculty and staff awards were given out at the final Whitman Inclusion Diversity and Equity committee meeting. We presented student awards at the Student Affairs Leadership Banquet. Awards were given to students who participated in searches for staff in the Division that year, organized signature campus programs, and folks who made meaningful contributions to inclusive excellence in a variety of ways.

January 25, 2023: Lunar New Year

January 22, 2023 marks the Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival. This festival occurs on the date of the second new moon after the winter solstice that always takes place in late December. The first day of the Lunar New Year can occur anytime between January 21 and February 20.

January 18, 2023: Rowing Against the Currents

Welcome to 2023. As we turn the page on the calendar year, we often reflect on the past with Best of and Top Ten lists that remind us of the passing year’s highlights. We might also revisit our struggles and lessons from the previous year and resolve to do better. We articulate explicit commitments to do things differently and take intentional action to make the next year better than the last. We say we’re going to eat healthier, exercise more, finish that project we started. Because we know if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get what we’ve always gotten. 

December 14, 2022: Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance

Whitman College is part of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). This alliance was established in 2020 by DePauw University President Dr. Lori White and began with five colleges and a vision “to collaborate on antiracism work, campus climate research and virtual programming for administrators, faculty and staff members on how to better serve students of color and address systemic racism." Through coordination with USC’s Race and Equity Center, LACRELA has grown to include more than 70 institutions and actively works to assist higher education professionals in developing inclusive practices, policies and initiatives to advance racial equity.

December 7, 2022: Community Learning Days

The Spring semester will begin with valuable DEIA learning opportunities. In January of 2023, Whitman will host two outstanding scholars who will be providing valuable content and contributing to our collective growth. Last month, we announced the special professional learning event with Dr. Kathy Obear scheduled for January 13 and 14. In addition to Obear’s workshop, the lineup for Community Learning Days will also include two workshops on January 11 by Dr. Rema Reynolds.

November 29, 2022: Power & Privilege Symposium - No More Allies

The Power & Privilege Symposium is coming on February 23, 2023. This year’s theme, No More Allies, names the feeling shared by many in the Whitman community that we need to move beyond isolated words or gestures, and become deeply, authentically, collectively committed to social justice.

November 15, 2022: Inclusive Excellence Council Announced

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion invites nominations (including self-nominations) for the Inclusive Excellence Council (IEC). Guided by a charge from President Bolton, the IEC will function as a new campuswide committee with staff, faculty, student and alumni representation. We want to thank and honor those members of the Whitman community who previously served on WIDE, the Inclusion Task Force, and the 2017 DEI Strategic Planning implementation team. In the wake of pivotal national events, along with considerable changes to both the leadership of the college and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as changes to the organization of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, an updated framework for the collective diversity and inclusion work of the institution was necessary and warranted.

November 10, 2022: Professional Learning Event: Deepening Capacity as White Change Agents

In an effort to make meaningful change, on January 13 and 14, Whitman will host Kathy Obear, Ed.D. (pictured above), founder of the Center for Transformation and Change, for a special professional learning event for faculty and staff. The two-day workshop, “Deepening Capacity as White Change Agents,” will engage participants in the reflective self-work and skill development necessary to shift racist dynamics and create racial equity and inclusion on campus.

November 9, 2022: The HEDS Diversity and Equity Survey

The HEDS Diversity and Equity climate survey provides students with an opportunity to share information about the multiple identities they hold and their perceptions of the institutional environment. Do you perceive the environment as diverse? Is the institution doing enough to address ableism? Sexism? Racism? Classism? Antisemitism and Islamophobia? Do you perceive the environment as segregated? Have you experienced marginalization or exclusion based on some form of bias associated with an identity you hold or are perceived to hold? These are the types of questions posed in the HEDS Diversity and Equity survey.

November 2, 2022: Fall 2022 Division Update

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion has been actively contributing to institutional efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism at the college during Fall semester.

October 26, 2022: Halloween as an Opportunity for Solidarity

Every year around this time, some campus in the United States explodes into turmoil because a student donned a culturally insensitive Halloween costume. Despite warnings from administrators like me, we continue to see people make offensive costume choices.

October 19, 2022: Freedom Songs and Power & Privilege Symposium

Two major student-led programs that contribute to DEIA at Whitman are currently in development. Near the end of fall semester, the Freedom Songs program will provide an evening of liberatory cultural expression and celebration. In the spring semester, our collective attention will turn to the annual Power & Privilege (P&P) Symposium. Both programs provide opportunities for involvement and participation. 

October 12, 2022: Third Space Speaker Series: Critical Disability Studies

The Third Space Speaker Series, sponsored by the Johnston-Fix Foundation, is an intentional manifestation of the College’s commitment to inclusive excellence and stated values of diversity, equity and inclusion. The next Third Space event, on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium, will focus on critical disability studies and disability justice and will feature Dr. Lissa Ramirez-Stapleton, Dr. Lisette E. Torres-Gerald and Alex Locust.

October 5, 2022: Reflecting on Yom Kippur

Today is Yom Kippur, the most solemn religious holy day of the Jewish year, the last of the ten days of penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Also known as the Day of Atonement, many Jews will take steps to restore their relationship with God and with others they may have wronged or harmed in the past year.  

October 5, 2022: Looking Towards Indigenous Peoples' Day

Four-Day is approaching. A valuable mid-semester break not available at most colleges, Four-Day allows time for processing and reflection, and opportunities to catch up on work or catch up on rest. Sleep debt is real y’all. As we head into this extended weekend, we want to remind everyone that when we return to campus on Monday it will be Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

September 28, 2022: Division of Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion was active and productive throughout the 2021-2022 academic year working to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism at Whitman. The Division’s efforts for the year are summarized in a report that is now posted on the college website. Divisional efforts can be classified into five major areas: DEIA Training and Education, DEIA Advocacy and Cultivation, DEIA Recruitment and Retention, DEIA Research and Assessment, and DEIA Transparency and Accountability.

September 21, 2022: Reporting Incidents of Bias

To borrow from Dereca Blackmon, "Bias is the water, not the shark." Blackmon, a diversity and inclusion educator, provides us with language to help us understand that bias is everywhere. We are constantly exposed to biased messages, biased interpretations of events, and we all hold biased views. 

September 14, 2022: DEIA Cultivation Grants

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion is pleased to invite applications for 2022-23 DEIA Cultivation Grants. DEIA Cultivation Grants are intended to support projects, programs, events and initiatives that Whitman community members (students, staff and faculty) are coordinating or pursuing that advance diversity, equity, inclusion or antiracism (DEIA) efforts at the college. Funds may be used to carry out an already designed project, to help cover the costs associated with an event, to compensate invited speakers, artists, or performers, to pay for a student assistant or to travel to a conference, among other possibilities.

September 7, 2022: Third Space Speaker Series Announced

The Third Space Speaker Series launched last year with the generous support of the Johnston-Fix foundation. The concept of a third space emerges from the work of scholars who saw a need to push back against dominant scripts of knowledge production and create new spaces where those who are often confined to the margins can be centered. The series places two scholars in dialogue with each other and with the Whitman community in an intellectual space where values of cultural humility, cultural wealth and cultural pluralism are embraced. 

August 31, 2022: More Us, More We

On my wall, there is a framed print by the artist Brije with four words creatively displayed: “More Us, More We.” A simple sentiment that encourages a focus beyond oneself and directs our attention to community. As we come together for the 2022-23 academic year, I want to encourage us to examine the balance between our own needs and those of our community. Each Wednesday, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion will provide content for Whitman Today that is related to the work of the Division, the diversity of our community, and information to assist us in our efforts to grow and come together.

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