What makes this diversity committee’s work different from those formed in the past?
There are several reasons. First, unlike other committees formed in the past, this committee is not the result of a recent incident, and is therefore a bit more organic than previous incarnations. Our efforts are more proactive than reactive.
Second, committee membership encompasses faculty from all three schools, as well as Trustees and alumni. This makes our efforts that much more comprehensive.
Third, we are standing on the shoulders of past groups who accomplished useful resources for us such as a statement on the benefits of diversity and our Ombud’s office. They did a lot of the heavy lifting and their efforts will make this new group that much more successful.
Who is on the committee?
The committee members are: John Bates, Jay Beaman, Joey Braman, Lucrecia Choto, Amy De La Cuba, Se-ah-dom Edmo, Stephanie Fowler, J.B. Kim, Celestino Limas, Susan Mandiberg, Shavette McGhee, Kermit Pace, Julio de Paula, Lisa Pogue,
Serena Cruz-Walsh, Brian White, and Elliott Young.
What will be the focus of this committee?
We’ll focus more specifically on individual groups instead of being all encompassing, which waters down efforts. To evaluate the diversity within our community, we’ll consider nine core elements including: domestic minorities, sexual orientation, socio-economics, gender, international, age, different abilities, and religion. Because we’re interested in seeing how fluid diversity is for each of these elements, we’ll look at each one through four different lenses: people (employees), students, curricula, and the greater Lewis & Clark community.
How does Lewis & Clark currently bring diversity to campus?
On the programmatic side, we bring compelling symposia and educational initiatives. In terms of recruitment, admissions across all three schools have ongoing efforts, as does Human Resources and the faculty recruitment process. We can still do much more across the institution—mainly to tie the schools together to collaborate. We plan to widen our scope, to reach out to the Portland community, and to make sure our efforts are perpetual rather than episodic.
How goes the search for a new Associate Dean of Students/Director of Multicultural Affairs?
The search is proceeding well. We are pleased with the spectrum of candidates and are looking to begin the phone screenings next month.
What are the committee’s next steps?
For our next meeting, we’ll develop a queue of initiatives, and figure out what are the immediate things we can do, what needs to happen in the near term (three to six months), and what will happen in the long term.
In addition, we will also be looking at telling the stories of the experiences of underrepresented alumni and employees in the past 20-30 years, as well as drafting a comprehensive list of our diversity resources. There are many people, committees, programs, and initiatives that are operating independent of one another and if we can simply be aware of each other’s efforts we can amplify our diversity efforts.