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Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are part of an intentional effort to advance inclusive excellence in organizations. ERGs are voluntary, employee generated groups formed around a shared identity or common interest and serve to create spaces for validation, affirmation and belonging.

In alignment with Whitman’s strategic plan, ERGs are one strategy towards:

  • Cultivating an institutional culture and community that increases and supports the diversity of staff and faculty.
  • Building and nurturing a community of belonging, where all experience meaningful connection, deep welcome and the opportunity to thrive.
  • Providing opportunities to support meaningful discussion, collaboration and learning across groups.

Interested in Creating an Employee Resource Group?

Submit an application!

Employee Resource Groups FAQs

  • Find at least five interested members who support the group and application.
  • Complete ERG forms (which include the Application, Member Roster and Charter/Bylaws).

Groups must articulate how the proposed ERG aligns with the institution's strategic priorities and the Principles of Inclusive Excellence. An ERG can be focused on a particular identity (e.g. disability, LGBTQIA2S+, race or ethnic identity, International or Global, religious/spiritual, veterans, etc.) or shared interest (knitting, gaming, outdoor adventure, etc.), but any approved ERG must be open to all employees of Whitman College. ERGs are expected to support groups of employees across, rather than within, specific campus roles, Divisions or functional areas. An application for an ERG that is exclusively for staff or exclusively for faculty, for instance, will not be approved for sponsorship.

At this time, we are prepared to sponsor and support the establishment of six unique ERGs.

In reviewing ERG applications, sponsorship prioritization will be based on the following criteria:

  • Does the ERG address an institutional need reflected in the college’s climate data?
  • Does the ERG provide support for a minoritized community in Walla Walla?
  • Does the ERG advance a DEIAA strategic priority?
  • Does the ERG make an additive contribution to existing community resources?

An ERG does not need to meet all of these criteria to be approved, but in the event that we receive applications for more ERGs than we can effectively sponsor, the listed priorities will be used to determine which ERG applications will be approved for sponsorship. Prior to implementing the prioritization framework, an effort will be made to secure additional funding to support staff interest in ERGs. Our hope is to approve every ERGs application that comes through, but we will apply the prioritization framework only if necessary and additional ERGs will be approved if and when the needed resources become available.

The Division of Inclusive Excellence will offer funding to ERGs (each group is eligible for up to $2,500 annually) in support of our institutional commitment to inclusion and belonging. Event budgets should be submitted to diversity@whitman.edu for approval before events are scheduled.

Approved ERGs must maintain a member roster, adhere to institutional policies related to spending (all expenditures must be pre-approved by the Division of Inclusive Excellence), and complete an annual report (additional details regarding yearly reporting below). Where appropriate, established ERGs will be expected to serve as a resource for prospective employees and should be available for administrative consultation regarding relevant institutional retention efforts.

ERGs will require renewal each year and to be considered for renewal, ERGs must submit a summary report to diversity@whitman.edu describing: the programming/events organized by the ERG in the past year, an updated member roster; any changes to the ERG’s functioning for the coming year and summarizing the ERG’s contribution to the Whitman employee experience.

ERGs are not eligible for DEIA Cultivation grant funding, but may be approved for additional funds from the college to support their activities when available.

ERG activities can occur during the workday or outside of the regular work schedule and both exempt and nonexempt employees can participate in up to two ERGs (with supervisor approval*) without penalty or loss of compensation—up to 2 hours/week.

These guidelines presuppose one hour of ERG engagement each week as a cap. A second hour of ERG engagement may be provided to enable participation with a second ERG. Supervisor approval is required for ERG participation during work hours and approval, once granted, is understood to be in place until rescinded. Participation in ERG activities (e.g. meetings, receptions) scheduled during regular work hours (8 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m.) will be compensable.

Participation in ERG activities scheduled outside of regular work hours (including the lunch hour) will not be compensable. Participation in ERG activities organized outside of regular work hours and off-campus is at the discretion of the employee and will also not be compensable. ERG funds can be used to support approved off-campus activities.

Foreign Born Faculty & Staff (FBA)

Mission: The mission of FBA is to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment at Whitman College for immigrant and international individuals. We promote diversity, equity and inclusion through continual learning and interaction. FBA will welcome and support new members to help them get established in Walla Walla and connected to the Whitman College community. FBA will advance the understanding and inclusion of employees with a shared background and provide a welcoming environment to foreign born/international faculty and staff. FBA will connect with and provide these employees a forum to discuss common interests and concerns. The vision, mission, goals, policies and activities of the FBA are aligned with those of the Office of Inclusive Excellence.

Women of Color Collective

Mission: The Women of Color Collective’s mission is a vibrant community dedicated to uplifting and empowering women of color of all ages and backgrounds within Whitman College. We strive to cultivate a supportive environment where members can come together, share experiences, and build meaningful connections. Through advocacy, mentorship, and collaboration, we aim to foster professional growth, promote diversity, and celebrate the unique contributions of women across our organization.

Please contact the Division of Inclusive Excellence at diversity@whitman.edu.

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