Commitment to building community

Unity Project, an interactive public art project created as a response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics.

During the past year, Wheaton developed a strategic plan for promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. A task force that President Dennis M. Hanno established in September 2016 wrote the plan in a yearlong process that included several rounds of open meetings with students, faculty and staff, as well as consultation with the Board of Trustees, which is scheduled to review the final plan in February.

The plan calls for the college to undertake a comprehensive set of initiatives, some of which are already underway. They include:

  • Creating institutional leadership positions for diversity and inclusion to provide coordination for initiatives across the college
  • Establishing the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact, which opened at the start of the fall 2017 semester
  • Designing a specific protocol for managing incidents of bias and prejudice, modeling this system on the college’s existing sexual and gender-based misconduct protocol
  • Increasing diversity and inclusion programs for students throughout their college career and integrating these themes into existing offerings, such as leadership workshops
  • Sponsoring campuswide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to appreciate differences through dialogue and experiential activities, such as the Unity Project in fall 2016
  • Implementing a set of strategies to improve the college’s ability to recruit and retain a diverse and talented pool of faculty and staff members
  • Introducing a new, comprehensive curricular requirement that addresses both global and domestic diversity topics
  • Broadening the engagement of the extended Wheaton community in the life of the college through programs such as the celebration of alumni of color event scheduled for spring 2018
  • Offering more programming that promotes a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, such as the Dear World program that took place in October 2017
  • Expanding staff and faculty professional development programs on diversity and inclusion, an effort that began in 2015
  • Incorporating assessment of intercultural competency skills into staff performance evaluations
  • Establishing campuswide benchmarks for progress on diversity and inclusion, and instituting ongoing data collection and analysis that can guide future programming and initiatives