Diversity and inclusive excellence at Wheaton College is a work in progress; that is, a process that requires constant monitoring, honing, and refining. We must always be asking the questions: What should diversity look like and what does inclusive excellence mean for our type of small liberal arts institution? How can we achieve equity in today’s world and for the future?
In the past 30 years, Wheaton has been engaged in several major initiatives that improved campus inclusion and diversity including:
- Establishment of the Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning
- Admitting the first class of males in 1988
- Developing and implementing a gender-balanced curriculum with an infusion initiative
- Hiring and mentoring a cohort of faculty of color who now are tenured faculty
- Creation and implementation of the Council on Inclusion and Diversity (CID, formerly the President’s Action Committee on Inclusive Excellence or PACIE)
- Development of the Faculty Affirmative Action Officer position
- Establishing the Intercultural Board among student leadership
- Creation of the Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility
- Partnerships with organizations like the Posse Foundation, United World College and others that bring diverse students to campus
- Actively recruiting students internationally
- Creation of multiple student organizations and theme houses to promote and nurture diversity and inclusiveness
- Creation of the Building Community Together Initiative
- Creation of the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact and the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life
Purpose and Outline of the Plan
While these previous efforts are important steps forward, they represent part of Wheaton’s ongoing attempts to support and promote inclusion and diversity. The purpose of this plan is to complement Wheaton’s overall strategic plan and also to provide specific goals and recommendations for promoting inclusion and diversity over the next 10 years. This plan was developed by a campus-wide task force that worked throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Our task force was charged with developing specific and measurable goals, evaluating our current efforts, and prioritizing unmet needs. We consulted with all constituencies of the campus community to refine this Inclusion and Diversity Strategic Plan.
Ongoing Progress of the Plan
- Attended the Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts Institute
- Campus Climate Survey was disseminated in April 2018 and below are an executive summary and final report of the survey results.
- Created the Network for LGBTQ+ Inclusion, Support and Advocacy
- Hired new Coordinator for Student-Athlete Success, Inclusion and Leadership
- Selected to participate in the Excellence in Academic Advising initiative with the support of NACADA – The Global Community for Academic Advising and the Gardner Institute
- Restructured the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services and is newly staffed with Student Success Advisors
- Secured the competitive $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support inclusive excellence in STEM
- Launched the Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning, supported by a $400,000 donation
- Hosted 3 Freedoms Teach-In and Related Programming, including Callie Crossley and Farai Gonzo (Scholar-At-Risk)
- Developing courses that build cultural competence is one of the responsibilities of the new Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development and was built into the mission of the Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning
- Created Diversity, Equity and Access Leadership (DEAL)
- Leadership Development Rubric, which includes components of diversity and inclusion training, integrated in all training for student leaders/groups starting fall 2018
- Orientation programming is in place as it has been for four years and the follow up orientation training is underway; online modules pre-matriculation will be implemented fall 2018
- Bias Response Protocol has been created and implemented through the Dean of Students Office. Established protocol was modeled on the college’s policies for responding to sexual misconduct and informed by best practices from other institutions.
- Bias Incident Policy & Reporting page has been added online.
- Restructured Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership department to align co-curricular student organizations with Student Affairs
- Advisory groups created for more collaborative approaches to providing training, support and advocacy for identities on campus including intercultural and LGBTQIA+
- Created the new position of Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development, which includes the Faculty Affirmative Action Officer role
- Hosted the first Alumni of Color Conference in April 2018
- Hosted Bias and Harassment Prevention training, lead by Human Resources
- Implicit Bias Training is now a requirement for all faculty search committee members
- Launched the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact in September 2017, which included the hiring of its inaugural director
- Ongoing student success stories can be found via the college’s News website