Update on diversity and inclusion efforts
Greetings NCC from the desk of your Chief Diversity Officer. It has been a busy couple of months mobilizing on a variety of diversity and inclusion opportunities and I thought it would be a good time to update you all on the work so far and to make this blog post a semesterly tradition!
As many of you heard about during the Fall 2018 semester, Northampton participated in an Equity Institute, facilitated by the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center. Our cohort of twenty NCC colleagues spent eight sessions over the course of nine weeks exploring topics such as creating culturally responsive classrooms, race conscious leadership, supporting underrepresented students and understanding race and inequities. Now that our class time has ended, our cohort has been broken up into four groups and we are completing distinct projects that are focused on the following topics:
- Creating culturally responsive classroom instruction
- Improving our recruitment and retention of underrepresented students
- Recruiting and retaining a more diverse and culturally competent workforce
- Creating and celebrating a welcoming and culturally supportive campus climate
As each project team completes its work by the end of April, we will share our experiences with the campus community in a variety of ways. Those avenues include a campus-wide workshop invite in early May scheduled by projected type, workshops during the Summer Institute on May 20th, sessions via the CTLT and others. Stay tuned for updates!
Aside from our USC Equity Institute, your CDO has been mobilizing in other areas. One of the first items was to create a college webpage on the NCC website that showcases our commitment to diversity and inclusion and the work that is being done.
Please visit this page for it communicates to the world what we are doing at NCC in this area – there are now dedicated pages for the College Diversity Committee, our Hispanic and Pan-African Caucuses and many others. This page continues to grow and thanks to Lucas Burits and the Marketing team for their assistance in helping to get the word out about our inclusion efforts at NCC!
I am hopeful, with the help of our colleagues in Technology, Enrollment, Records, Financial Aid, Academic Affairs and many others, that we will soon have a Chosen Name/Preferred Name procedure to assist our students. A preferred or chosen name, is a term used to describe someone wishing to be acknowledged using a first name that is different than their legal name. Doing so assists students from a variety of identities and backgrounds to be accepted and acknowledged for who they are and assists us in creating an environment that allows students to be their genuine, authentic selves in-and-out of the classroom. I have been very appreciative of the collaboration with the NCC Pride student group on this initiative and we aspire to have a resolution soon to share with the campus community.
Many thanks to Jeff Armstrong and Randy Boone for hosting me for a number of ‘Culturally Responsive Teaching’ workshops during the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 term. Additionally, I have spent some time in a number of your classrooms, by invitation, to discuss Inclusion and its application to the coursework that our students are engaging in. If I can be of assistance to you in this capacity, please feel free to send me a note or phone call. I am excited to collaborate with Dr. Carolyn Bortz and Dr. Karen Bearce in hosting a day of conversation for culturally responsive teaching during the Summer Institute on May 20th. I hope you all can join us for an outstanding day of discussion and networking on this timely topic.
About a month or so ago I recently gained the title of Title IX Coordinator as well. We have an outstanding Title IX team which includes Brian Shegina, Janelle Howey, Belinda Austin and Amy Porter. For any Title IX related items/questions please contact us at your convenience.
Lastly, it is an absolute honor to be a part of the NCC family with you all. As we continue to brainstorm ideas to enhance our diversity and inclusion efforts on our campuses, we truly cannot do it with precision and effectiveness without your assistance. Whether it is an invitation to discuss the topic in your classrooms, joining you at a cluster meeting, or just a chat over a cup of coffee – I want to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line via email or to stop by my office in College Center 207. The work is ongoing yet one of the many rewards is the opportunity it provides us to explore and challenge each other in finding ways to support all that we are – that is the truest definition of inclusion and a college campus that is able to navigate itself in that direction is one with amazing drive and curiosity and I look forward to continuing to build that with you all.
Scott J. Blair