Among the opening lines of Wheaton’s brand new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) vision and mission statement are:
“We acknowledge that institutions can both produce and reproduce systems of inequity and exclusion. We aim to develop a shared practice of inquiry and a culture of shared responsibility for the purpose of identifying, challenging and dismantling institutional oppression.”
How do we live into this vision?
DEAL (Diversity, Equity & Access Leadership) has outlined 10 specific steps we will undertake as a community to fulfill this mandate of institutional equity. These initial steps have been developed with the input and support of President Hanno and the President’s Council.
- We as DEAL Co-Chairs will spend each Friday afternoon in September 2020 as participants in the University of Southern California’s (USC) Race and Equity Center’s Equity NOW! Series. There, we will gather more information about current best practices in leading institutional anti-racism work.
- With the support of outside funding, Wheaton will seek to establish a college-wide senior-level position focused on inclusion and equity in the next 6-12 months. This person will have a seat at the President’s Council and be singularly focused on advancing DEI on campus. This executive leader is not intended to supplant the DEAL structure, but to work alongside us as DEAL Co-Chairs and the DEAL Committees to bring the voices of students, staff and faculty from across campus into all campus-wide conversations.
- In collaboration with the Office of the Provost, Department Chairs, and Human Resources, each department, academic and staff, will be creating anti-racism action plans by the end of this semester. Report outs on progress will be made at the end of the academic year as a part of existing reporting procedures.
- DEAL will work with our Finance and Administration division to look at our vendors and contractors, as well as other organizational practices to investigate whether there are any structures or partnerships within our community that could hinder the desired goal of moving towards being an anti-racist institution.
- DEAL will work with Human Resources to review our college’s on-boarding process to ensure all new-hires are aware of Wheaton’s DEI resources, tools and expectations.
- Wheaton’s first-ever MAP Day on October 15, 2020 will include a discussion about anti-racism, policing, and anti-blackness, among other opportunities for campus-wide DEI teaching and learning that will occur this year.
- DEAL, in partnership with Campus Life, will make readily available diagnostic tools to help individual students and student organizations better understand where they are in their social conscious development, and how they can be more inclusive. To further support student development, Student Affairs as a Division is investigating its protocols to ensure that everything from the sanction process to orientation to its partnerships with the external community reflects best practices in DEI.
- DEAL will work with the Curriculum Coordinator, Curriculum Committee and the Office of the Provost around Infusion that the faculty voted in as a part of the Compass Curriculum. Infusion puts questions of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion–as powerful structures and as categories that shape access, opportunity, and identity–at the core of all Wheaton departments and classes.
- In partnership with Marketing and Communications, DEAL will curate a repository of DEI related-resources that will be available on insideWheaton to help support all of us in the continual learning necessary for true progress.
- We will build on the work that the Wallace Library is doing to dig into Wheaton’s history as it relates to any potential complicity with indigenous land-grabbing, slavery or racism. Updates on their findings will be shared with the wider Wheaton community, including our alumni.