Diversity Summit 2017 – Leading Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives in Higher Education

afternoon, everybody. We’re going to go
ahead and get started. There are plenty
of seats up front. I know that there are still some
sessions that are wrapping up, so I imagine that people
will be joining us. But in the interest
of time and certainly the reception to
follow, we thought we’d go ahead and get started. We have saved the
no-holds-barred conversation for last. And first of all,
I want to thank you for really the deep engagement
and conversation that’s been happening all day. We started out this day– certainly we started
yesterday with the sort of inspirational
lecture and conversation that we had with
President Earl Lewis from the Mellon Foundation, who
instructed us to really think about how we define diversity,
how we leverage diversity, and then what more could we do
then to engage in this work, and what are the
strategies and practices? And I feel like today– I didn’t go to all
the sessions, but I know from conversations
with many of you that there have been some
wonderful, innovative practices and policies and
potential solutions that we all can
learn a lot from. And I hope that as we continue
to be in conversation with one another, that we will be able
to do this collectively– not just individually as
institutions, but truly collectively. So I’m honored today to be
able to stand here and not introduce my colleagues. These are colleagues that I’ve
known for a number of years. They are the people who,
on the ground at many of our institutions,
do, often, the thankless jobs of really
corralling and convening many of our stakeholders
around diversity and inclusion. And it happens when there are
eruptions on our campuses, when things like– I’m not going to
say riots, but– [LAUGHTER] There might have been a
few in the history of some of our institutions. But certainly when
there are protests, when there are
movements that arise out of a genuine sense of
a need to act on behalf of the needs, the urgent
needs, of our constituents at our institutions,
these are the individuals that are often called upon
to come up with solutions, often at the last minute, often
as they are standing in front of a podium being asked to talk
to a national or international public about what diversity
and inclusion means in their institution and how
they’ve addressed these issues. So I’m not going
to introduce them in the normal ways in which we
typically introduce panelists, but instead I wanted you to– in the spirit of really
sharing narratives, and we’ve heard many
narratives today, I wanted them to talk about
how they found themselves in this work, and what
led them to this work. I know them all personally
and professionally, and so I know how rich
that narrative truly is. And I’m actually quite
curious to see what they’ll reveal or not reveal. But in any case,
I hope that what they will be able
to sort of exemplify for you is that the
job of chief diversity officers at our institutions
is a complex one and requires high levels
of emotional intelligence, certainly a diplomacy
that’s second to none. You could all be
secretaries of state. [LAUGHTER] And goodness knows we could
use you at this moment in time. But also a real
deep understanding of the data and the research
around diversity and inclusion, and a sense of what the
culture and the landscape and the history of
these institutions are like, both now and
certainly in the past, but also looking
into the future. And so the question
for all of you as you introduce
yourselves, and then I’ll have them– after they briefly
introduce themselves and tell us a little bit about how they
came to be in these CDO roles, I’ll ask them then to
make some initial remarks, and then I hope
that we’ll just have a real genuine
conversation discussion around the work of
diversity and inclusion in our academic landscape today. So what brought you to CDO work? ROBBIN CHAPMAN: OK, so my
name is Robbin Chapman, and I am currently the associate
provost and academic director for diversity inclusion
at Wellesley College, not too far away. And I’m also faculty in the
education department there. I am an engineer by training,
a computer engineer, although my research interest is
around developing technologies for learning in community
settings, whatever that means. And I like to think of
a campus as a community. People often say, wow, you’re
an engineer and a computer scientist? How did that happen? Like, where does this connect? It comes from
really two sources. One is my grandmother– both of my
grandmothers, actually– who started as sharecroppers
and ended up finally being able to actually
go to high school after the age of 50, because
they had to work on the farm when they were younger. But they were always active
and they were always activists. And they always felt that we
just have to keep pushing, keep moving. And so I just grew
up hearing that, and so I’m not going to
comfortably sit and not at least think about
not just what I can do, but how to kick the can
down the road a little bit with other folks. But also the other thing is I
can never resist a challenge. Engineers love
things, figuring out why something’s not working, and
how can you re-engineer or put a widget or do something,
and then when you finally get it kind of going, how do
you optimize that behavior? And so it’s so much
easier to do software, and I find it to be lot
more interesting to do it with people in communities. So my brain is
functioning the same way and organizing the
same way, but it’s just more interesting with people. So that’s how I got
into this field. LISA COLEMAN: It’s funny to be
sitting next to you, Robbin. So my name is Lisa
Coleman, and I am the chief diversity
officer and special assistant to the president. That’s my title at
Harvard University. And I’ve been in that
role since the year 2010. And I’m the inaugural
person in that role. And I said it’s interesting
sitting next to Robbin because my mother was
a computer scientist. And we all know each other, so
we know part of our stories. My mother was a
computer scientist, and so I was raised in
a home with computers from the time I was
four years old until– well, my mother is alive,
and she still has, like, seven computers in her
home, and she’s, like, 85, and sometimes she’s
doing this on computers. So I was raised with that– that I was a learner,
and that that was part of how we were trained
to be learners and to enjoy change. It wasn’t until I was
later in life where I was to learn that
actually only 14% of people will really like change, and
it’s the other 86% of people who don’t like change. And I remember I was
in a room in college when someone said this,
and I was like, I’m in another minority group? And so it seems
like it was natural that I would go into
a kind of field that is about change and innovation
and the intersection of those things. And so when I was at
Tufts University, which was where I was
prior to Harvard, I was directing a program
working with students, and I was both on
faculty and running an administrative program with
students of African descent. And the president asked me to
be their first chief diversity officer. And it was from there
that I was recruited into this role at Harvard. But I say, similar
to what Robbin has said, it was my background
that I think really also drew me to this work. My father died when
I was very young, and I was raised by a
series of strong women. That’s what we’ll call them. But I was also raised
in a family that is almost all from New York. So my paternal and
maternal family, they all live in New
York City, except for me. My parents decided to
move to Cleveland, Ohio. I’m still bitter. [LAUGHTER] And then when we moved to
Cleveland, one of the things that– for those of you who know
anything about Cleveland, is Cleveland actually
into the 1950s was one of the most segregated
cities in the United States. But as a result of that,
Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights became two of
the most integrated suburbs in the United States. And I grew up in Shaker
Heights and Cleveland Heights. And during that time,
there was actually a movie called The
Battle of Shaker Heights, for those of you
who have seen that. And so growing up,
I think I was also introduced to a kind of
diversity and inclusion and then the back-and-forth
movement between New York and Cleveland, which also made
me really interested in how communities come together,
how we work across difference. And this really started for
me actually in high school, where I was nominated
to do what then was called some multicultural work. And so my high
school friends and I were like, of course you’re
a chief diversity officer. So that’s my story. RAFAEL ZAPATA: It’s funny– sorry. I’m between tables. I think there are a lot
of us here from New York. I also am from New York City. I grew up in the Chelsea
projects in Manhattan, and I still have a
lot of family there. My family, my parents
came from Puerto Rico, working-class folks after
the rapid industrialization of the island. And I grew up around
a lot of family, very conscious of being
connected to my community. But I grew up in a very
diverse housing project. There were working-class
Irish folks that had been there for
several generations, many who worked as longshoremen,
in the factories nearby. One of those factories was
converted into a very expensive international high school
that you may have seen in the HBO film Class Divide. That’s where I live. I live in the Chelsea projects,
where across the street, students go to school
K-12 for $40,000 a year. That used to be a
printing factory. I went to Catholic schools,
the parochial school across the street, and all-boys
school in Harlem in the ’80s. And any time I talk
about growing up, the ’80s in New York
were a very intense time for a variety of reasons. And race relations and
deep inequality, you know, the Central Park Five, I
was around high school age during that time. So that was certainly
an influence. What was going on in the city? Why were there
these deep divides? And I was a commuter student,
and I went to college, and I studied sociology. And I stayed with it. And in grad school, I
never finished my PhD, because it wasn’t
practice-oriented enough. I went from being
a commuter student to getting a graduate degree,
a master’s degree at Arizona State, and then going to the
University of Pennsylvania and studying with some
prominent sociologists. I was fully funded. I have no complaints about that. But I would go home from a
dinner with a faculty member from the faculty club
and then go home and talk to a friend who was approached
by a pregnant woman looking to buy crack. So these kind of
juxtapositions– thank you– were very disruptive
and very confusing. And ultimately, I felt like
I wanted to be back home. I ended up landing at
New York University, where I found a job
serving students of color. Before that, I was working with
the Police Athletic League, working in communities
like Washington Heights and Morningside Heights,
mainly with kids of color. And if I would have gotten
a full-time job there, I wouldn’t be here, literally. But I stayed with NYU. I did this work, ended
up at Swarthmore College, where I worked as
an assistant dean and ran their
intercultural center. And for the last
five years, I’ve been the inaugural
chief diversity officer, associate vice president,
at Providence College, which arose not from student
protests, but a recognition that when I was hired in
2005, over 92% of the students in the city of Providence, with
the name Providence College, were white. 92%! So let that settle in. And so by the time I got
there, the student population was maybe 15% students of
color, but we’re about at 17%. So when we talk about
institutional development around diversity,
structural and otherwise, we are probably where
a lot of schools here were in the 1970s
or ’80s, population-wise. So that’s part of our struggle. But I’ll leave it at that. But that’s how I got
to this position. Oh, and my name
is Rafael Zapata. [LAUGHTER] NAOMI THOMPSON: We’re
all in it together. Good afternoon. My name is Naomi
Thompson, and I am delighted to be here with
my peers and with all of you this afternoon. It’s fun to talk about this. This is one of the
better parts of our jobs, talking about the
work that we do and getting to share
it with folks like you. My title is long– associate vice president
of community, equity, and diversity slash
chief diversity officer at the University of
Rhode Island, which is a small, beautiful
place full of big thinkers. And so– [INAUDIBLE]. So how did I come
to this position? I have a different route, also
influenced heavily, heavily, heavily by family
and by my parents. Both my parents were educators. My mother was a high
school guidance counselor. By the time I got
to high school, my father taught at
Berklee College of Music. And both of my parents said,
don’t become a teacher. Don’t go into education. You’re going to be broke. So I went to law school,
thinking I’m going to be rich, like the folks on LA Law. [LAUGHTER] It didn’t happen, because
another part of my family– and I have family
in the audience who can attest to this– was a strong influence by
my grandfather, who always talked about giving back. And his sister’s child
is in the audience, and we were always
taught to give back. But also, he had
sons who brought home wives who were the
embodiment of diversity and inclusion. And so when I grew up, as a
young woman, as a young child, my first cousins, who were
like my sisters and brothers, were half-Latino, half-Asian,
half from Thailand, half-white. And every aspect of diversity
that I deal with today, I started dealing with as
a young woman with cousins who had Down
syndrome, and people who were in the spectrum
of LGBTQ, from day one. And this was our norm. This was our family. This was our family reunions. And so to grow up
and do this work is just a natural outgrowth
of who I was as a young woman. But how did I become a
chief diversity officer from being an attorney? I was recruited by
someone who said, we need somebody to do
the compliance work. So I entered in not as a
chief diversity officer, but through the door of
an affirmative action, equal opportunity
compliance officer. And I was doing the
legal work and handling of the cases and
managing investigations and doing the training. And then I grew in that role
from a position at Northeastern University to a position at
the University of Rhode Island, where they recruited me to be
their first permanent chief diversity officer. And that’s how I came
to be in this role. JOELLE MURCHISON: Good
afternoon, everyone. My name is Joelle
Murchison, and I am the associate vice president
and chief diversity officer at the University of
Connecticut, Connecticut’s flagship university. [LAUGHTER] Ours isn’t quite as
cute, but you know, I thought I’d throw that in. And at this point in
time, I can say safely that our women’s
basketball team has moved on to the next
round of the Sweet 16, so they bring us a lot of pride. And I actually have
been very fortunate to work with those talented
young women and their coaches in talking about diversity. And I’ll hopefully get a
chance to share some of that. So how I got here,
that story actually starts a little bit
close to this place where we’re sitting now. I’m a very proud graduate of
Brown University, class of ’95. [APPLAUSE] And when I came to
Brown, it was on the– really sort of on the
trajectory of my growing up in suburban Long Island. I was born in Queens and
grew up in Long Island. And the experiences
of growing up in a relatively working-class
community that was also very commercial-property-poor,
which for those of you who know
anything about education equity, funding is God. And in a community
where there is very little commercial
property, the tax burden falls to homeowners. And so as an
11-year-old, I learned very early on that people
valued the dollars that were in their
pocket, particularly if they didn’t have
children in the schools. And so we did a lot of
walking door to door trying to convince and beg
people to pass the school budget so that we would have
field trips and new textbooks and things like that. I think that
awareness early on, I wasn’t necessarily aware
of it and how deeply it would impact my career. But when I think back to
the thread of preparation for a role that requires you
to advocate and bring voice to the voiceless
on a regular basis, I think that was
my introduction. So from that point,
and really recognizing that unfortunately,
it determined the kind of education
that you receive based upon where you live,
that was my quest to find a way to change that. And I came to Brown
with that in mind. I was going to change
K-12 education. I was going to be the
secretary of education. I said that when I
graduated from high school. I came here and I
double-majored in public policy and educational studies. I was off to Capitol Hill
after a brief detour, because I wanted to
go to law school too, because LA Law was
the show back then. [LAUGHTER] But Dean Kerry Ashley, who some
people in the room may know, convinced me that there
was no reason for me to go to law school if I
didn’t want to practice law. I should simply get a book and
keep $100,000 in my pocket. So that’s what I did. I went off to grad
school at Harvard and was planning to jump right
out of the master’s degree program onto Capitol
Hill and change the world, until the federal
government had a shutdown. And I had job offers, but
they could not pay me. And so yes, while this was
a wonderful university, I did in fact graduate
with some loan debt. And so taking a job without
pay was not an option. So that’s how I ended up
in higher ed 20 years ago, the first time. I accepted a position at
Wesleyan University, primarily based upon the
student leadership that I experienced
here at Brown. I was very, very
actively involved in a variety of
things on campus. And yet again,
something that I didn’t realize how all those
things kind of woven together are what were preparing
me for the work I would do. So I was the director of
multicultural programs at Wesleyan. I did that for two
and a half years, and then because I said I
was interested in foundations and they were starting
a capital campaign, I had the opportunity to serve
as the assistant director of corporate and
foundation relations. Now, this is from a student
who, in that very building when career services– I don’t think it’s there
anymore– swore I would never work in corporate America. Well, after spending
five years in nonprofit, I went off to a job
offer I couldn’t refuse at United
Technologies Corporation running their undergraduate
and MBA recruiting program. Two and a half years
after that, Travelers decided that it was important
that they begin a diversity program and needed a leader. And so I was Travelers Insurance
inaugural chief diversity officer. I spent nine years there working
in the very, very homogeneous insurance industry,
and hopefully creating change and
a legacy that we left in that organization. And then this past July,
I joined the University of Connecticut as their
inaugural chief diversity officer. So I don’t have necessarily
the traditional path from an academic
perspective, but I do think that the
journey that I’ve been on has really, really been helpful,
particularly today in terms of the world that we face. SPEAKER 1: Wonderful. Thank you all. Before I turn it back
over to all of you to make some initial
remarks yet again, I wanted to just say that
we could have easily have spent half an hour talking
about the incredible sort of credentials, but
also experiences, that all of these
remarkable individuals have, and how they are prepared to
do the complex work of being chief diversity officers
at these institutions. As you might have
gleaned from the titles that they have in
their positions, they have a unique vantage
point, if you will, within their institutions to
do diversity and inclusion work in some interesting ways. And I wanted them to talk a
little bit about that as they begin to think about the kind
of larger work of diversity and inclusion in
higher education, about the scope of the
position that you have, how it was conceived– many of
these positions are really new positions to our institutions– and how the leaders,
the powers that be, have positioned your roles
within the institution to address diversity
and inclusion. To what extent has it included
faculty and students and staff and curricula and other
staff issues, climate issues, et cetera? So Robbin. Yeah. ROBBIN CHAPMAN: OK, great. And just got to give a
shout out to Brooklyn and the [INAUDIBLE] projects. That’s where I grew up,
when I lived in Brooklyn. Yeah, you know, the scope
of the position that I have at Wellesley
College, first of all, it is also an
inaugural position. It came about through a
combination of student protests and faculty activism. So a cadre of faculty
were very, very interested in having someone focus on
this work at the college level. They sort of felt like things
were happening piecemeal if they were ever
happening at all. And so in my position,
the way it’s organized, I report to the provost. And there’s a reason for that,
given the culture of Wellesley, the very strong faculty
culture of Wellesley, with a dotted line
to the president. I’m a member of the
president’s cabinet, and that turns out to be very,
very important, because it also means that I work with the
trustees on a regular basis. Because I have a
faculty appointment, there are certain committees
that I am actually– they rewrote it. I’m a permanent
member of, or whoever is in my role, the
curriculum committee, the agenda committee that sets
the agenda for faculty senate, for example, that kind of thing. There’s a whole list. I’m not even going to list
the committees– budget, advisory committee, et cetera. So it’s just really
important because the work we do sort of
interweaves, and it’s just so many pieces
and all the threads have to come together in some
reasonable, coherent way. You know, I really
have to have a hand across these different
areas of the college. Wellesley College has a
very strong faculty culture, so they really
wanted someone who, even if they didn’t take
a faculty appointment, could be a faculty. So part of my whole
interview process was also going through for two
different departments, computer science and education, of
faculty interview process, as well. And it was really so they
could satisfy themselves that, like, wow,
you’re, like, a– yes, I could be faculty [INAUDIBLE]. But they needed that. They needed that. In some cultures in some
institutions, you know, they don’t have to have it. But it’s a Wellesley thing,
so you wouldn’t understand what’s happening with that. But what’s really
important, and I think that is true for
all of our institutions in different ways, is
to really understand the origins of our
institutions, with– I don’t think with
any exceptions here, from the institutions
we’re hearing from, our institutions
were not created for inclusive excellence. In fact, they were created
for exclusive excellence. They were created
to be exclusive. Wellesley is– they don’t call
themselves in the same way now, but it was created to
educate the bright daughters of wealthy, influential,
white families of certain economic
status, et cetera. And anything else,
everything else was excluded, or not allowed. And so to ask institutions
which are institutions, because no matter what
you do, eventually go back to pumping out the
same sort of thing, to ask them to all
of a sudden become purveyors of
inclusive excellence, it’s almost like schizoid. It’s somewhat
psychopathic for the– and so thinking of how
we do the work here, I realize the work
has to be done always with an institutional
view in mind. And it can’t just be done at
the level of students and staff. I mean, obviously
there’s work there, but you have to work
with your trustees. So I do a lot of work
with the trustees, raising their competency
level and their capacity to think about and act on
certain ideas and concepts. The same with faculty, with
senior staff, et cetera. So I’ve found that to
be one of the really most important things. And it’s really using a very
strong distributed leadership model. Everyone is responsible
and accountable on that campus,
including our alumni. And we are expecting people
to pull their weight. And sometimes I use words just
like that, as direct as that. Other times I dress it up. But that– yeah, other times. But you know, it’s really
important for people to realize, even
to tell trustees, you are accountable as well. You know, the eyebrows go
up, but then once we really start to talk about
it, they realize, yeah, we actually have some things
that we should be doing. You know, it’s all the threads
coming together to make a core. I think that’s important. So I’ll end it there. LISA COLEMAN: So my
role was developed, and I’ve said this
in other instances. So my first role
at Tufts– so this is my second inaugural chief
diversity officer role. And the first one was
definitely out of protest. Students protested, et cetera. This role was more– there was, I think,
a moment at Harvard, where a group of
faculty came together, and they were across schools,
and some of the leaders– people like Charles
Ogletree, Lani Guinier, those kinds of people– came together and met with the
then-newly-appointed president, Drew Faust. And some of you may
remember we had a president by the name of Larry Summers
who preceded Drew Faust, which raised the level in
question of around diversity and inclusion and
excellence and what that was going to look like. So I think after Drew
had been president for about a year
and a half, this is when this group
convenes and meets with her and they begin this discussion
about what a role like this would look like. In the meantime, though,
it’s important to also note that there was an
office that was created as a result of a
report, and that was mostly– actually, Drew Faust was the
dean of Radcliffe at the time. Evelyn Hammonds,
who is in history of science, who later
becomes the first vice provost for diversity,
diversity and inclusion. And that’s when Lisa, of course,
worked with us at Harvard. And then Barbara Grossman,
who actually later becomes the dean of Radcliffe,
but at the time was the chair of
computer science, and had done a lot with
information technology. And anyway, they were the
chairs of this report, which basically suggested
that we do a number of things. And there were priority
one, priority two, and priority three
recommendations for the institution. This is prior to my
arrival, four or five years prior to my arrival. But there was a lot of
work really concentrated in the faculty
areas at this point, really thinking about faculty. To some degree, some
examination of postdocs, but I want to come back, because
I think that was a sort of– Lisa’s laughing,
because she knows what I’m going to say later. But really to look
at the faculty areas. But then I think
what happened was this group came together
and said, well, look, this is really
wonderful, the work we’re doing with the faculty. But we’re not looking
at curriculum. We’re not looking at pedagogy. We’re not looking at leadership. We’re not looking at students. We’re not looking at staff. We’re not looking at the
footprint of Harvard, which is actually massive. And I make this joke. My first day I was sitting there
and there’s a man sitting next to me and he says,
I’m just so thrilled that you’re our new
chief diversity officer. And I’m thinking,
you know, wow, I feel like I’ve seen
pictures of all the deans and I know these people. And he’s like, oh no, I’m
the head of the forest. And I was like,
we have a forest? [LAUGHTER] I was like, this
is just too much. Like, this is too much. Like, really, I mean, so,
right, because we have museums, we have a forest. I’m on the board of the
American Repertory Theater. I mean, it is an amazingly
massive institution, and not just in
terms of size, right? We’re not as big– I did my master’s
work at Ohio State, so we’re not big in
terms of size like that. But the footprint is
very large indeed. So that was the first
thing that I sort of had to wrap my head around,
was what does this mean? We have– depending
on any given day, people will argue whether
we have 13 or 15 schools. And some of my Harvard
folks are here. We won’t debate
that here right now. But the first thing
I had to realize was that I could not have
a diversity, inclusion, and belonging and
excellence conversation the same with every school. And this is where my
interdisciplinary background really came into play. And I didn’t talk
about this before, but I was a triple
major in college. I got three master’s
degrees and a PhD. And as a result of
that, part of the reason I did those things was
I was really interested in cross-disciplinary work,
and how different disciplines actually operate. And that was, just as I said
before, because I’m a learner. I’m very interested in
those kinds of things. But what has
happened as a result, being in the diversity,
inclusion, belonging, and equity spaces, is it
made me realize that if– I’ll give you example. So we have a school
of design, and we have a school of
public health, and we have a school of education. So I’ll just use those three. So the school of
design is really interested in,
obviously, architecture. It’s one of the oldest landscape
and architectural schools in the country. We produce many
people who are going to go on to become owners of
architectural firms, et cetera. And I don’t know
how much you all know about architecture
in the United States, but it is one of those areas
that is not very diverse and/or inclusive. But when we think about space
management and accessibility and what we’re
doing with building, not just in the United
States but globally, this becomes actually a
very important diversity and inclusion conversation,
because how will we access our buildings? What will they look like? What does this mean in terms of
innovation and climate change and all of those things as
we think about millennials? So really, that conversation
with the design school about diversity and inclusion
and belonging and equity looks very different than when
I go over to the ed school, where they really want
to talk about K-20. What’s happening? What are the
educational imperatives? What are we taught? What do we mean by
the differentials in educational attainment? Health. I love health. I worked for the Association
of American Medical Colleges for a few years. And so with the medical
school and the school of public health, really,
racial and ethnic disparities in health, gender disparities,
LGBTQ plus issues around how are we going to imagine
health for the future? And I don’t just mean– we can talk later about health
care and all those repeals and things like that. But really, what is health
care going to look like, and how are we
going to imagine it, and how are we training leaders
to be in these new areas? So at Harvard, one of the
things that– it doesn’t matter which school you examine. In their mission
statement, there’s something about leadership. We’re going to create leaders. And I say this a lot. If you look at
the Supreme Court, we have leaders on
the Supreme Court, because most of the people
on the Supreme Court are from Harvard or Yale. If you look at Wall
Street, most of the leaders of many of the
major corporations are from Harvard, Yale,
Stanford, Princeton, et cetera. So when you look at leadership
in the United States, there is something to be said
for the types of institutions with whom I work, that
we create leaders. And so what kinds of leaders
are we going to create, and what will that look like? So I think a lot about
leadership, and so for my role, it’s also to think about
senior leadership, so my work with the deans
across the schools. I report to the president and
the executive vice president. When the role was
initially established, I don’t even remember where
they said I would report. I rewrote that, because what I
realized was that at Harvard, the provost role was
a role that was only created about 20 years ago,
similar to NYU and a couple of other schools like that. So in many ways, even
though the faculty work was being done in the provost’s
office, the on the ground, or if you will, where the
rubber meets the road, was at the level of the dean,
because of the ways in which Harvard is very siloed. And each school has sort
of grown up on its own. The business school
started at one point, the design school
started at another point. So the deans actually have
full fiscal responsibility for each one of their schools. And so while the provost’s
office or the president’s office concedes certain things
or influence or collaborate or promise, it
doesn’t necessarily mean that we hold all
of the purse strings, or, quite frankly, the authority
to make those kinds of things happen. So it became clear
to me that I needed to be multi-disciplinary and
trans-disciplinary in working with those deans
across the schools to actually effect change
in terms of faculty hires, leadership,
staff diversification, and then working
with the students. The last thing
I’ll say about this is that part of the reason
I was also brought in had to do with this
area of compliance. And so in the first
two weeks of my role, I was interviewed by
a number of agencies, and I like to think
we’re friends now. You know, the
Department of Justice, the Office of Federal
Contracts and Compliance Programs, the Offices
of Civil Rights, both in Boston and in DC. I feel like we’ve developed
working relationships and we understand one
another, so much so that I fly to DC now and do
some work with Homeland Security or TSA or whoever the group
is that I need bonding. But I do think
that the thing that has happened to
universities, and I think this is significant, is
diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging
roles were created. And we’ve heard about some
of this, that some of these came out of, in
some institutions, compliance roles, et cetera. And we certainly have
moved away from that. But I do think
that when we think of what’s happened
with Title IX and some of the other areas around
compliance and regulation, these are things that have
increased in our institutions, certainly over the
last 10 to 15 years. And diversity, inclusion,
belonging, and equity efforts do need to be
attendant to those. I don’t necessarily
think it has to be part of all of the
offices, because I think it can take over. But I do think these
regulatory issues will continue to increase
and continue to impact our institutions. And we think about fundraising
and dollars that really becomes with changing demography
at our institutions, and how are we going to
raise funds over time? These all are diversity,
inclusion, and belonging and equity issues, and they
intersect in multiple levels. And I’ll end there. RAFAEL ZAPATA: So
again, my title is associate vice president
chief diversity officer. I was the first person to assume
this role in January of 2012, and that came the result of a
diversity initiatives committee that after meeting
for 18 months, this was the recommendation. There were no protests during
that time that I’m aware of. Tony, if you have a
different story, let me know. But in 2011, and I imagine
there were conversations, but there weren’t
the degree of protest that we had last
year, for example. So the institution was being,
at least what was portrayed to me, a bit forward-thinking. Did they have the same
history as other schools? Were they as advanced? Perhaps not. But the school was founded
100 years ago this year to serve new
Americans, immigrants, mostly Irish, Italian, Polish. But they also accepted
Jewish students, where many schools,
especially in the Northeast, did not admit Jewish
students, or set strict quotas for Jewish students. So that’s an aspect
of our history that is very
important and unique and speaks to the
history of this region. My reporting line was initially
to the executive vice president and treasurer. I did not sit on cabinet. I still do not sit on cabinet. And that’s an important
point to remember. I was my own division,
a division of myself and my administrative assistant. And when I hired someone new,
my director, who’s fantastic, but when people assume
these roles, especially the inaugural role, people
assume that, all right, great. You’re going to handle it. And that’s not
really how it works. The way the position was
envisioned is, provide vision. Tell us what we need to do. You’ll be the orchestra
leader, so to speak. But I’m playing a certain
tune that you may not have heard before. And people back up and
say, wait, you know, I think I’m going to
lead this band this way. I kind of like this music. And so how do you strategically
engage people that say they want to be allies–
and I do believe that– but find it very difficult
to actually implement what needs to happen, at least
from my standpoint vis-a-vis their standpoint? And so that was a challenge. In those first few
years, we focused, I would say, on three things. Campus climate– we
did an assessment. A lot of times, we know
what we have to do. Part of the report that
had the recommendation to hire me was like, look. We’ve been doing
reports since 1992. They all say we need
to get more diverse. How are we going to do it? Well, let’s hire this person to
help us integrate our efforts. So that’s great. You did that. So we wanted to do a
campus climate study. It would be too expensive. Let’s do some focus groups. So we did that. We brought in Susan Rankin. She told us what
many of us knew, but it gave voice to
students, faculty, and staff. So there wouldn’t be a way of
saying, well, how do we know? How do we know? Well, we know. And here it is. But we didn’t do a survey. All right, fine. So we kept it moving, and from
that developed our Difficult Dialogues initiative,
and from that, our faculty diversity initiative
was already on its way. We had some successful years. One year, we hired seven
out of 12 faculty of color for tenure-track positions. The next year, one out of nine. So again, it comes in waves. This year we may get three
or four out of seven. And it’s incredibly
difficult, and we’ll get into the how that
happens, but essentially, you have to be an institutional
irritant at times, or remind people, if we’re going
to do what we say we’re doing, we can’t be happy with almost
hiring this faculty member. Nobody wants to be the
Atalanta Falcons, right? For those who
follow football, you could be winning the game for
59 minutes and 30 seconds, and you lose. Nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to hear it. And we’ve had instances– when I hear department
chairs or committees say, can we hire both of them? No, we can’t. Make a decision. And so those are the kind of
challenges that we deal with. So it was the
campus climate work. It was the faculty diversity
piece, which is ongoing. And as well as the
inclusive pedagogy work, working with the Center
for Teaching Excellence. After the student
protests, which we’ve done some good things before
the student protests. During the student
protests, they demanded that this position be
at the cabinet-level position, be a faculty member,
which I’m not. So I was kind of like, all
right, let’s see what happens. And we saw what happened,
so they kind of split it. And I started to report to
the president, dotted line to the provost. Very important. I meet with the
provost every week and his associate
vice presidents, so I’m part of that group. That has been very
influential and important for just understanding
what’s happening and by whom. But I still am not on cabinet. That was a decision
that was made. So that’s where my position
is now, and you know, as Tony knows, we move onward
with hope, with optimism, but realistically. And I know that the
position will continue to evolve as students
continue to push, as faculty continue to push. It’s extremely important,
as well as staff and alumni. But it will continue to evolve. NAOMI THOMPSON: At the
University of Rhode Island, the chief diversity
officer’s position was conceived and advocated for
by a grassroots organization that included both
faculty and staff and had room for students. We didn’t necessarily
have a protest, but we had folks
who were advocating, over a period of time, for
the structure– not just for a chief diversity
officer, but they were a group of
individuals who were very intentional about creating
an Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity. And the scope of that is
pretty deep and pretty complex. My role reports directly to the
president of the university, and I consider myself
fortunate in that I truly have his ear, have
his attention, and the ability to
influence some– not all, but some– of the
decisions that he makes, many of them, on
a regular basis. The scope also includes
having a very active seat at the senior leadership table. So I joined the University of
Rhode Island in August of 2012, probably three years after the
president, President Dooley, was appointed to that position. And I was the first
hire into the cabinet of President Dooley. So I felt like he had an
invested stake in my success at that particular role. When I was hired
onto the cabinet, the cabinet was predominantly
white men over the age of 50, and myself, and then
a chief of staff, and maybe one other woman. Currently, he has
had the opportunity to hire a number of
other individuals, such that women outnumber men
at the senior leadership team. And people of color,
up until just recently, were about a third of the
senior leadership team. And I do think it’s the impact
of having a chief diversity officer at that table. But the breadth and depth of
the chief diversity officer’s position, from the
way it was created for the University
of Rhode Island, includes supervision over
three cultural centers, so the women’s center, the
gender and sexuality center, the multicultural
student services center, also is in the umbrella
of my responsibility. In addition, the Office
of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, and Diversity
reports to the chief diversity officer’s position. And then within the Office
of Community, Equity, and Diversity, we
are fortunate to have two additional professionals,
PhD holders, who have the role of director
of diverse faculty and staff recruitment and retention. And this is a person
who is critical, so to moving that needle, I
mean, I think we’re in a– until January 21, we were in
a very sweet spot with respect to diversity and inclusion. I see some folks
got that joke there. [LAUGHTER] And in that, when
I was able to hire the director of diverse
faculty and staff recruitment and
retention, the provost had also proposed an
initiative to hire 100 additional new faculty
into the institution, in addition to replacing
the existing faculty who were retiring and cycling out. So we had this big
chunk of faculty members who the institution was charged
with hiring over the next four years, 100 new faculty members,
or 55 new faculty members over the next four years. And then in comes my director
of diverse faculty and staff recruitment and
retention, who has been able to help influence
the processes to hire 34 new faculty of color
in less than 18 months. It is amazing. But that’s the support
of the president. It’s a mandate by
the provost, who will put in writing to the deans
and the chairs of the search committee that diversity
and inclusion hiring is a priority for the
University of Rhode Island, and you will be
charged with working with the director of
diverse faculty and staff recruitment and retention,
and we have an obligation to move the needle. And then, making good on that
and holding folks accountable. I was also fortunate enough to
hire a director of community and organizational development,
and because the university charged the Office of
Community, Equity, and Diversity with really being
responsible not just for the marginalized
and minoritized communities, but for educating and
including the entire community in that process. So yeah, you know,
my responsibility is 20,000 people,
and then I have 20 reports and 40 students. But then there are approximately
50 different organizations– committees and councils
and groups and student organizations– that
focus on working on issues of diversity and inclusion. So I’m charged also with working
with the President’s Commission on the Status of Women,
on LGBTQ, on people with disabilities, on
folks with veterans, who identify as veterans,
on people of color. And then within each
of the colleges, we have a diversity
committee who is charged with thinking
about, how do we educate? How do we infuse diversity
into the curriculum? How do we diversify our faculty? How do we hold
folks accountable? So there are many different
entities within the university. I think one of my colleagues
said before, it’s not just one person’s responsibility
to diversify the university. It’s all of our
responsibilities. But it’s the Office
of Community, Equity, and Diversity’s responsibility
to lead, to be a thought leader, to help
direct that process, because I don’t have the ability
to hire 100 faculty all myself. No, that’s up to the
subject matter experts. But we can help you to
find the talent that is there to do that. So I’m going to end there. JOELLE MURCHISON: So at UConn,
I’m probably the newest person here on the panel, and having
just established this role this past July, there
are a number of things that– from each of my
colleagues on the panel that the university had
done prior to my arrival, as well as what
we’ve done since. I do report directly to the
president of the university, and I have a seat on
the president’s cabinet. Now, I think that
that came from, I think to previous points
about task force report upon task force report. I mean, you can go online. Everything is public for UConn. You will see them
back to the ’80s. And over and over again,
the task force reports called for a number
of recommendations. Well, the most recent,
which was completed in 2015, and had six specific
recommendations, one of which was to hire a chief
diversity officer, as well as to
establish a Diversity Council at the University. They had done some other things
in the past, fits and starts. So to the point
that Lisa made about whether on the faculty side
or on the administrative side there previously
was an assistant to the provost for
diversity, without resources. So one of the things that was
critical in the establishment of this role was
to add resources, so giving me the
ability to establish a unit, to hire staff. Similarly to the structure at
the University of Rhode Island, I have five
student-mission-focused cultural centers that report
to me, our African-American, Asian, Asian-American,
Puerto Rican Latin American, our Rainbow Center,
and our Women’s Center. So those leaders all report
to me, as well as I have– because I don’t have
a faculty background and that was a
concern for them, they did decide though to go
a whole new direction. They felt that
people would expect them to do the same
thing, which was to hire, or to put another
faculty person in the role, and then not really support it. So I think they felt like
because, in our community, Travelers is a very
well-respected and very deeply-connected business
partner to the education community, that because
I had come from there, it gave me some legitimacy
around doing the work. But one of my colleagues
has spent the last 25 years in the provost’s office. So he’s my foil as it
relates to faculty issues. He leads all of our
search committee training and things of that nature. But we also lost our
provost earlier this fall. So we have an
interim provost who has been incredibly
supportive, leads the largest college, the
College of Arts and Sciences. And even the dean who has
taken over Arts and Sciences while he’s in the provost
role is also a woman and is very committed
to the work. So we do expect to really
begin to see some movement on the faculty side,
which the students’ side, I think in this day and
age, it’s very difficult not to hire– I mean, not to recruit
a diverse student body. I mean, you have to be
trying really hard not to, because there are just so
many students available. On the faculty side,
I think lots of folks like to accuse our very rural,
bucolic location for this. It’s like 3%. I mean, this is public. So it’s funny. Having worked in
private industry, we never shared anything. So, like, I forget
every once in a while. I’m like, well, our
numbers are challenging and we have– and they’re
like, oh, you can say it. I was like, oh, OK. So yeah, faculty of color is 3%. That’s very low. Very, very, very, very low. Like, I can count, and
UConn is not a small place. I mean, when you talk
about scope of Harvard, similarly, I mean, we
have farms and forests and all kinds of things. [LAUGHTER] Really, like it’s– we
have a health center, so that adds another element
that is quite interesting. UConn and UConn Health haven’t
always played in the sandbox together. But our president is making
a very valiant effort to operate as one UConn, which
means that UConn Health is also my responsibility. 5,000 employees, a
school of medicine, a school of dental medicine,
on top of– so I mean, the scope is tremendous. The challenge around
that is prioritization. So you know, where do
we focus our attention and keep everyone engaged? So one of the ways to
the Diversity Council is I’m really actively
giving folks work. They were all
identified– there’s a representative
from each school and college and the larger
administrative units, et cetera, but they were
identified before I came. So it’s really a
group of people– I think some very well-intended
deans were like, oh, you’re the person of color here? Yeah, you serve on that. And so I look around
the room and I’m like, you guys aren’t really
who I wanted to be here. But I’m going to put
you to work anyway. And that means we’re
doing sort of an audit. The city of Seattle– and this is very random,
but they did, in the ’90s, this audit of all
of their departments to determine what impacts their
lack of diversity or inclusion had on different
population groups, different demographic groups. So I’m adopting
sort of the audit that they used for each of our
schools and colleges and larger administrative
units, so that they can begin to ask
themselves those questions. You know, what does
your population look like in your staff and
your faculty, your majors, for example? Because you talk to faculty
who are like, yeah, you know, we just can’t seem to
get any students of color to major in
environmental science. And I’m like, how many
faculty do you have? How many staff do you have? Like, have you ever
had any student? Or, we can’t find any faculty. Well, have you begun to
build a pipeline of students who are interested in that
discipline who would go on to graduate school, potentially
to pursue a PhD in that area, so that at some point, you’ll
have a pool to draw from? So it really starts
way further back than most people are
willing to take a look at. And likely, the
outcomes will not be delivered in any of our
time within these roles. And so it requires
folks to trust a bit. And that’s one of the
things that I’ve seen, coming in from
the private sector into academia, you know, the
siloed nature of academia, trying to break your way into
different schools and colleges, with legitimacy. That’s critical within some
disciplines versus others. And so essentially I
joked in my interview that I was not Olivia Pope, and
that I couldn’t fix everything. [LAUGHTER] And as much black
girl magic as I have, we were not going to see
this amazing turnover, like, in one year. And I think now
that we’re almost through a full academic
year, and certainly we spent a whole lot of time this
year on triage around stuff coming out of a certain
person’s administration. But at the same time, I
think we have at least begun to make some progress
around the dialogue. And that’s ultimately
where we’ve got to start. I’m privileged to
be in a blue state, because I think as a public
university, having come from the national meeting of
diversity officers last week, some of my colleagues who are
in states that aren’t quite so blue don’t have the same
support from the governor, from the legislature, from
our board of trustees, that I enjoy. So I think– and then
just one other thing, because I want us to
be able to talk more. But I am the only woman of color
on the president’s cabinet. So just to make that point. We do have a woman president. But it’s interesting–
many of you probably in women’s studies
know that there’s sometimes this little thing called
the queen bee syndrome. So there’s a table full of
white over-50 males and me. And one African-American over-50
male, but it’s all the suits. So coming from
corporate, I’m like, what do people wear at
the cabinet meeting? I don’t know. And then it’s like a
sea of black suits, you know, black and dark suits. So I was like, oh, OK. So sometimes I wear purple. Sometimes I wear green. Sometimes I wear red. Just to shake the
room up a little bit. But yeah, I mean, that’s
sort of the reality. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER 1: So,
questions and comments. I’m struck by the sort of
approach that each of you have taken, really,
not to adapt, but I think dismantle,
in some ways, the structures that have
existed at your institutions, and reimagine it for the
work that you want to do. And so I think that level
of empowerment, and– I mean, that’s what
CDOs have to do, right? To lead this work in
a complex environment, not just at your
institutions, but really in the larger society
today, you have to see this work as doable. And I think so
often these days– I’ve met with lots of CDOs, and
I will say that many of them feel sort of hopeless,
in part because they feel like there are no resources. They don’t have legitimacy. There’s no sense of
prioritization around what matters most around
diversity and inclusion. And there’s no accountability. But I feel like for
all of you, you’ve found a way to be able to
address all of those issues. So think about
that a little bit, and I want to invite our
audience to ask questions, make comments. Yes? SPEAKER 2: I have a question
from the perspective of a faculty member who is
invested in these issues but not trained to work
on them in particular. And also, faculty, at
least at the institutions– I’ve worked at three different
places, one big state school, one small liberal arts college,
and then for the past nine years, here. There seems to be kind
of a recurrent theme of the faculty versus
the administration, and this feeling that the
administration hold power, you guys are– you’ve got all kinds
of control over things that they don’t
have control over, and the faculty seem
very disempowered. They have this attitude of being
[INAUDIBLE] and at the mercy of higher-ups telling us
what to do and how to teach and how to do our
particular [INAUDIBLE]. This is not my view. This is kind of an exaggeration
of one type of a perspective that I’ve witnessed
across institutions that I’ve worked at. I don’t think that’s an accurate
or particularly constructive reflection of what the
relationship between faculty and administrations ought
to be at institutions of higher education. But my question
is, what would be the ideal sort of contribution
for faculty members to make in having
this work succeed? In terms of our classes,
in terms of our service, in terms of our relationships
with you, feedback to you– what would be a
good way for faculty who are interested to be
more productive [INAUDIBLE]? LISA COLEMAN: So
we’ve approached this in a couple of different ways. In our schools, we have,
in most of our schools, people who are responsible for
pedagogy in the schools, who work with the faculty. So this is to help them
develop their courses, curriculum, not
just departmental, but individual faculty
members as well. So I have worked with those
directors of pedagogy. In fact, when I first
arrived at the institution, a few of those
directors of pedagogy came to see me because they
wanted to create a group to work with faculty,
to think about how do we think about this in
terms of outreach to faculty? Since then, we’ve developed
what people would commonly refer to as the Center for
Teaching Excellence, et cetera, and that has been developed over
the last three to four years. The other program that we
developed out of my office, and it was a direct
response to this idea of the sort of seemingly– I don’t know if it’s
competing interest or distance between leader
administrators and faculty. We created this program called
Thinking Together, which was to bring faculty experts
from out within our university, and then the local university,
as meaning MIT, et cetera, people with whom we partner
with, and to actually bring experts to work with other
faculty and administrators around diversity, inclusion,
belonging, and equity. And so what I did was we
defined it more broadly than diversity and
inclusion officers. So the initial thing that
I did was invite anyone who had anything to do
with diversity, inclusion, or equity to a meeting. And 200 people showed up,
which was frightening at first. And then I realized that
because there were many people– and literally, people
showed up who were– I remember one man, he was head
of the Ukraine organization. And I was like– so some of the
people I didn’t know exactly why they were there. But to your point, people
wanted to contribute. And so I had to create a way
for people to contribute. So I created a Thinking
Together program. We created another program
where diversity and inclusion officers meet together. And what was surprising
to me about that was we had academic
affairs officers who started to join that
meeting, because they work with the faculty
across the various schools. So it was really creating
the opportunities for people to buy in, and then
it has allowed– I won’t say– now,
I work at Harvard. I’m not going to
say that there’s been a total breakdown between
the distance between faculty and administrators. But we’re seeing more
collaborative efforts, because we’ve provided those
opportunities for people to come together to
learn, work, and research. And I would say
that for faculty, instead of focusing on what some
institutions– and I definitely learned this when
I was at Tufts. Focusing on things
like training– and I say this as a
former faculty person. Any time I got invited to
a training, I never went. I mean, I just didn’t go, and I
was sort of obnoxious about it. But when I got invited to
a research opportunity, or an opportunity to
collaborate with my colleagues, I showed up and was
totally present. And there is something
about how we’re trained as faculty members
through the process that things like training–
there are certain words, call them trigger words,
they don’t go well, right? And so we also have to
learn the language– to go back to something
that Robbin said earlier, we have to learn the
languages of our institutions, but also the languages
of the cultures with whom we’re working in
those constituency groups. ROBBIN CHAPMAN: Yeah,
that’s important. I’m going to actually just
piggyback on what you said. Everyone in a community
wants to have a voice, and they want to feel like
they have agency or the ability to contribute something to
whatever it is the community is grappling with, as far as
solving that problem or issue or whatever. And so, you know,
the faculty really just want to be able to see some
of themselves in whatever it is we’re proposing or whatever
we’re trying to– you know, programs, et cetera. One of the things that
we’ve done at Wellesley– we did something similar, like
your Thinking Together. But also we have,
out of my office, an inclusive community
grants program that was instituted a few years ago. And it’s actually open to
anyone in the community. And you know, faculty use it. Faculty apply for these seed
grants to try out things and do things. And we encourage them to
work with either students or with staff, because when you
collaborate across disciplines, et cetera, we might
give you more money, you know, a larger
amount of money. But we actually have things that
are now either been instituted or are now hard-line
budget items that have come out of the
work and the creativity that they’ve done. And we said, wow,
this is working. OK, let’s raise some
money and endow that thing and just make it
a hard-line item. The other thing that’s really
important, as far as faculty, is that it’s rare– my first year there, I
would sort of host things. It’s rare that I ever directly
host anything anymore. As a matter of fact,
we have something that will be happening
next week that it’s a conversation with
me, but it’s hosted by the head, the
humanities chair. The chair of all the
humanities departments have their own little– they have a chair of the
group of them, as well as what are called
building directors for the different buildings
that these departments live in. So it’s their names first,
and at the very end, you know, “conversation
with Robbin,” but “hosted by,” or
“led by,” or– exactly. So it’s always about
shared leadership, shared responsibility. Never use the word “training.” “Leadership” can
be a very sexy word if you wrap it up into
something that they like. So it’s leadership, creating
the optimal student experience, stuff like that. That was packed,
because everybody wanted to know how to do that. They really care about
teaching at Wellesley. So you have to find
out what faculty want or wish they could do more of. They want to do
cross-disciplinary, I make it sound like
cross-disciplinary. I mean, you find out what they
want, and you give it to them. And part of being
able to do that well is going to require
these skills. And again, I’m an engineer,
so I’m very much into here are some tools, very specific
frameworks and tools. Here’s how you use it. Here’s how you do– and so people learn. Even my tenure and
promotions committee knows how to use a ladder of
influence and institutional– not institutional bias. Well, they know that one too. But the intersectionality map
and how to do that analysis. And they use these tools now
in their regular process. So it’s really important. I mean, people want to do well. But if you give them a tool
and show them how to use it, how can they build? So I just wanted to add that. SPEAKER 1: Question over there? SPEAKER 3: [INAUDIBLE] JOELLE MURCHISON: I just
wanted to add one quick thing, just to take that
to the next level. We definitely hear– I hear, certainly, from
faculty, the question, help me to approach
x in my classroom. From students, what we hear
oftentimes is faculty member x did not refer to
me with the pronoun that I’ve requested,
for example. So these are some
of the challenges on a day-to-day
level that we are trying to find ways to support
conversations to help faculty. So whether it
means, for example, we have a faculty gathering at
the end of the year this year, which I’m the keynote for. And we’re going to talk a little
bit about intersectionality and inclusion and how you can
create an inclusive classroom, not from the
perspective of pedagogy, but in terms of some
of the challenges that students are coming to the
classroom with that faculty are not necessarily aware of or
equipped to be able to handle from their vantage point. We all have to be sort
of first-line responders these days, given
some of the challenges that students are facing. And faculty certainly
are not trained– not to use that trigger
word– but that’s not what their academic orientation is. So how do we come together
to have dialogues that help them prepare for that scenario? Sorry. SPEAKER 4: Thank
you for answering. I’m a PhD student in the school
of public health here at Brown. And your answer was a good segue
about faculty and supporting students and creating the
next generation of scholars, because that is what
they are doing here at these institutions. It may not be what they, quote,
unquote, “trained to do,” but that is part
of their role here. And I’m encouraged
to hear that there’s an emphasis on increasing
faculty of color, but I don’t necessarily
know that all of that translates into support
for students of color or understanding of that. It’s very heartbreaking to hear
things from students of color who the very people that they
see themselves represented in outright reject them. And just placing an emphasis on
getting faculty of color coming in but not understanding how
the work within the students that are within
those universities, I think it’s really important,
and I don’t know if any of you have challenges around that. I personally think that it’s
a little bit about we haven’t been spreading the
accountability, so the faculty members
of color feel pressured. They don’t want to be the
person for that issue, and a lot of times they had to
go through very tough things, so why shouldn’t the future
generations of students have to just toughen up,
because you’re going to– JOELLE MURCHISON:
Well, you know, just to make the
point that we often forget that– take the
title “faculty” off, “administrator”
off, what have you. We are human beings
that come to the places where we sit from all kinds of
experiences and backgrounds, many of which have
not provided us really broad exposure to lots
of different kinds of people. So I say this at
UConn all the time, because driving here from
the very diverse city of East Hartford that I live in, I was
joking with my mom like, ooh, this is a town [INAUDIBLE]. I use this as an
example all the time. There are, like,
three black kids in the entire school district. And I’ve heard from our students
who come from there the pain that they experience. Yet and still,
there are folks who come from inner city Bridgeport
or inner city Hartford, juxtaposed with folks who are
coming from– so we forget that people are
coming from the place that they know, and
yet we expect them– and this includes
faculty and staff– to put on this title
that gives them some accountability
or responsibility, but they haven’t dealt
with, at the core, their own challenges around
diversity and inclusion. And so we can’t forget– you know, yes, we
have programming for faculty or
for administrators and helping them to
work with these issues within the classroom. But there is some
deep personal stuff that folks still
need to address. And that’s what we’ve
started with some of the work around bias. RAFAEL ZAPATA: And
if I can jump in, we’re still people of color
in predominately white institutions. And that goes for faculty. And I think that invisible
work that goes on unrewarded becomes, even for
those who are invested, can deter them from
achieving tenure, or may be viewed
as a distraction by the people who will be
evaluating them for tenure, evaluating their teaching. So you know, they have to make
some very difficult choices, sometimes competing values. Like, I want to be successful,
but are the demands of students– as legitimate
and important as they are, I can’t mentor every Latina
student, even outside my major, even though they may want
it and they appreciate me, because it’s just unsustainable. So the question is, where
are our allies in the work? How do we take
that burden– just as we try to take the
burden off the students not to have to
constantly explain to faculty why
something is difficult, it’s the same thing to
try to explain to students kind of that
reality for faculty, and so that we can move
together as a community without grinding
people to the ground. You know, because
then they leave the university or the college,
or they just don’t get tenure. And I think that’s
the other piece, is– going back to your question,
Nancy, ask us for some context. There may be some
background information. You don’t have to do it alone,
because I have colleagues that, when am I going to get
a chance to sit on the couch? Meaning, when are you
going to support me? And we can be available
to do that as well. But I think we try to help
students understand that, but we also have to help white
faculty understand, how can you challenge and support,
thoughtfully, students of color in productive ways,
so that we have more of you in the pathway? ROBBIN CHAPMAN: I want to
piggyback on that, too, just very quickly,
because students– right, you want to make sure that
students can understand the context more, that faculty– but also your
institution’s leadership needs to understand that. So I have these really direct
conversations with the provost and deans when they’re
doing hires, you know, when they are going
through that process of the negotiation of contract. And you know, I say, look. If your expectation
that this person is going to come and just
be available to mentor all the students of
color, then you better put that in their contract. You better put in their
contract about how that’s going to add to
their tenure decision. You know, like, influence
it in a positive way. And you better let them know
that’s what you are expecting. It is unethical to hire someone
to take care of something but not tell them what
they’re being hired– you know, in addition to their
regular duties, oh, yeah, this is this other thing. We forgot to talk
to you about that. And also, by doing
that, also they are absorbing the
rest of the faculty. They are responsible. Their job is to get in there
and develop these young people and prepare them to
go out in the world and do really good things
and help improve society. They are not doing their
job if they are not– and really having a
direct conversation with faculty about that,
which we’ve actually had a few with department chairs. And you know, now we’re working
with different departments. And you know, yes, it’s involved
with the t-word, training. We don’t call it
that, of course. It sounds sexy when we say it,
but we call it something else. But the fact of
the matter is, we are assuming that this
is your responsibility. We don’t absolve anyone, because
I remember when I was at MIT– I graduated from there, and
when I came back to work there, I was literally– it was like a
tsunami of students and faculty of color that really
wanted me to be– I think, I’m not
kidding, I had, like, 80 people that wanted
me to advise them, to be their advisor. That’s impossible. Nobody can do that. Meanwhile, you have over
1,000 faculty at MIT who are not doing their job,
if they’re not doing that. And it’s the same
thing at Wellesley. And I talk about it all the
time, even in academic council. And we mix it up a little
bit, but more and more faculty are actually stepping
up and saying, how can I learn how to
do this without worrying that I’m going to do something
that’ll look like I’m a racist? So we’re working
with them on that. But I don’t want them thinking–
they need to do their job. Sorry, I got a
little carried away. LISA COLEMAN: We need to
spread the accountability, and I think that’s key
to what Robbin is saying, is accountability has to be
spread across the faculty. And what you find is the
burden of representation that happens to students can become
the burden of representation that happens to
senior administrators and/or faculty of color. And I think the
other piece that we forget about our
institutions is we all do have institutional cultures. So what we focus on
and what is valued, some schools are going
to value teaching. And that is going to
be really crucial. Some are going to
value research, and how are these going to
be measured and evaluated in the tenure process? And to Robbin’s point,
then, what does that mean in terms of mentorship
and who one mentors, how many people, et cetera? But the other thing I would
like to say about faculty is that for most of us, we were
not the most popular people as children. [LAUGHTER] I’m just going to
say this out front. I’m just saying this, because
I work with a lot of people, and we talk about this a
lot, is that a lot of faculty are introverts. Right, they weren’t your
extroverted person who was out there, like, the
most popular president of the popularity club from
fourth to 12th grade, right? It’s just true. And so that’s not
who we were, mostly. I’m not saying–
some of us were. For those of you who were,
congratulations to you. But the rest of us, we
were kind of mostly– you know– lovely people. We got our energy differently. Our energy came,
as an introvert, from our internal worlds
versus the external. And so I think
there is something to be said, when we are
talking about working with– and I do this a lot when
I’m working with faculty and senior administrators,
to actually acknowledge who we are culturally. Many people who are
attracted to higher education and who become professors
and even administrators, we’re not interested
in the corporate world, because the values and the
things that we actually are interested in are research,
is learning, are these things. And they are, in some ways,
an introverted process. And so we need to engage
that and talk about that in terms of also, how
do we spread accountability and learning to
a group of people who actually sometimes it’s
not that– they’re just not good in groups. And talking about that has been
really useful with my faculty and senior leaders,
to really talk about what that means for
us culturally and socially as academics in
these institutions. NAOMI THOMPSON: Can I
just add one more thought? SPEAKER 1: Sure. NAOMI THOMPSON: I think
your question is excellent, and it points to the essence
of the work that we do. We call it diversity
and inclusion work. D and I are the two
buckets that we deal with. So the first bucket that
you identified is numbers. And I think it’s important
that we talk about the numbers, but not to the
exclusion of inclusion. So it’s important for students
to see role models and examples and pictures on
the wall and people who look like them, so
that they have role models that they can aspire to. Look at my cousin who’s
here in the audience. I looked at her. She’s a doctor, graduated
from Brown University. I wanted to be like her, because
I had an African-American woman who I could look up to and
say, yes, I can go to college, I can get a good education,
and I can do something with my career. So you need to have the
physical bodies that embody the examples of what our
children, our students, coming out of the projects,
who never saw a doctor, never saw a lawyer, never saw
a president of a university who looked like them, so never made
that connection that I could be this, that, or–
especially our generation. And so you need the
physical examples. That’s one bucket. That’s diversity. But then, we don’t talk about
diversity without inclusion. And I think the second
piece is so important. And no, we don’t all
get it right every time. Just because you hire a
black woman or an Asian man doesn’t mean that
they’re going to want to embrace every person
who looks like them. It just doesn’t
naturally follow. But it’s important that
you ask the question, that we talk about, because
if you don’t give it language, if you don’t name
it, then people aren’t even going to begin to think
about it, and to say– to have these
conversations and say, is it just the
responsibility of the person who looks like that
student to mentor them? Or is it all of our
responsibilities? And how can we go
about engaging in that? So it’s just as much
your responsibility as my responsibility to
make that student of color feel welcomed, included,
valued, and that they can be successful, regardless of
what their examples look like. So we have to think about
both pieces of that. So thank you for asking
that really great question. SPEAKER 1: Thank you. So it’s a little bit after
5:00, and so I want to– I know there are
other questions, but I want to first thank
our panelists for being so candid and upfront. [APPLAUSE] I want to thank you for creating
the spaces for dialogue, but also in endeavoring to
facilitate the kind of work– we’re not going to
call it training, but really the kind
of work that we all need to do to be able
to understand how to talk to one another
across the differences that we all have,
and how we then create the conditions to ensure
that there is full equity to achieve the kind of
inclusive excellence that I think we all aspire to. So I want to thank all of you
for being here and spending the day and a half with us. I hope that this is not
just a one-time-only, let’s all get together, eat
food, and it was a nice thing, but we won’t see
each other again. I want us to think about
notions of collaboration. How do we collaborate
even across distance? There are many of
us who are working on these issues on the ground. There are those who are
still trying to figure out, what is my role in this work? And I hope that we can endeavor
to really sort of think about how we might continue
to be in dialogue with one another. To that end, we will be
sending you, if we might– not that you will
fill it out if you’re going to be hard about it– an online evaluation. But I hope that you will
fill it out to the extent that you are interested in
sharing with us your thoughts, your ideas, and also the
opportunities for collaboration that we might work on together. This is collective work
that we do as institutions. There’s a lot of internal
work that we need to do, but there’s also a
lot of collaborations that we can develop and
engage in, and many of us are already
beginning to do that. And I hope that
this has facilitated some of those collaborations. So in the spirit
of collaboration, we have libations for
those who are legal. And I might just say, as we
end, we also have collaborations with remarkable individuals
who use their talents, their artistic talents on
the ground to keep us talking and keep us fed. One of the things
that we do have– and again, we don’t
call it training, but we have these professional
development sessions on a weekly basis around
diversity and inclusion. Our dining services folks
co-host these sessions with us, and every week there
is a unique cuisine that’s been developed by a
host of chefs from our dining services that come from
Portugal, from Spain, from New Orleans, from Alabama,
from New England. And it’s been remarkable
to see the creations that they’ve developed. You’ll get a chance,
actually, to appreciate some of the talent of our chefs
here at Brown at the reception today, because
they’ll be featuring some of the more
popular dishes that were featured from our
professional development sessions this past year. So thank you all
again for being here. We look forward to continuing
to engage with you. Thank you again to all–
not just our panelists here, but to all the speakers today. You have enriched our day. [APPLAUSE]

3 thoughts on “Diversity Summit 2017 – Leading Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives in Higher Education”

  1. A group of people with meaningless degrees and chips on their shoulders. Diversity officer? How about quota officer? A sad group of racists.

  2. Reminds me a politburo in Soviet Union where totalitarian crazies forced on people things people didn’t want.

  3. What a joke! The cult (and it is a cult) of "Diversity & Inclusion" is nothing more than code for "anti-White male". Period! They are creating an issue where there was no problem. Corporations try to pretend that it is something else (e.g., to be inclusive of other ideas), but it is not. Try to oppose any corporate stance, including challenging D&I initiatives as racist, anti-White, and anti-male, and see how far your "diverse opinion" gets you. Blackballed from any
    further advancement, most likely. Most corporate HR departments are 80%+ female and 90%+ Democrat (sort of like the panel in this video). Where's the diversity there? Corporations and universities are effectively pushing this D&I nonsense, chasing away many qualified White male employees into early retirement, and refusing to interview
    highly qualified White males in order to meet their hidden diversity (KPI) quota numbers. Anyone needing diversity programs to get hired is simply not qualified to be hired in the first place. Trying to blame
    "subconscious racism" for it is silly. That's why you don't see Asians running around screaming about the need for diversity – because they have talent and are hired on their merits. D&I will be the death of many corporations in the long run, when those with talent are far outnumbered by co-workers, supervisors, managers and upper management
    who have very little, to no, useful skills. Professional victims in the video, with no skills, and useless degrees, are perfect examples of this.

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