Driving change

(Photo by Keith Nordstrom)

College community works together toward an anti-racist society

A summer of nationwide protest and outcry against racial injustice again has underscored the urgency of changing the ongoing systemic racism and race-related violence in the United States. The Wheaton community is engaged in doing the complicated life-saving work of acknowledging, examining and dismantling systemic racism through action.

“The racist acts and social injustice that have persisted for too long require action from all of us. This work is challenging, but we have to be committed to doing that work and striving for a more inclusive and just community,” said President Dennis M. Hanno.

Pointing out that striving to be change agents in this realm is not new to Wheaton, Hanno said he believes that the college has built a solid foundation to help make progress with the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan that was launched in 2018.

The plan, which is part of Wheaton’s overall Strategic Plan, helped to establish institutional structures such as the Diversity, Equity and Access Leadership (DEAL) team, the Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning (CCTL) and the Bias Incident Prevention and Response Team.

Now, the focus for college leaders and the entire community is to prioritize and act on unmet needs identified in the plan, Hanno said.

DEAL already has outlined 10 specific steps to undertake as a community to fulfill a mandate for institutional equity.

Faculty and staff are having ongoing conversations about how to make progress in fighting racism and injustice, and department leaders have been working on plans to advance this goal. Faculty members also created a course and CCTL designed a workshop and webpage to deeply explore ways to become an anti-racist society and educator.

The effort to drive change is ongoing and is being approached in as many ways as possible.