April 10, 2017

Update from the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion

Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Janet Steverson offers an overview of the most pressing diversity and inclusion efforts underway on campus right now.
  • Douglas K. Newell Professor of Teaching Excellence and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Janet Steverson
    Janet Steverson, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and chair of the CDI

This spring semester is flying by, as they always seem to do, especially when one is focused on meaningful work. Earlier this semester, the work I do with the support of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) gained additional urgency and traction when the Executive Council approved the CDI Action Plan. This plan gives the committee a detailed list of tasks toward which to work. All of these tasks came out of the various listening forums and meetings that I have had with people since assuming my role as the chair of the CDI. The CDI has formed subcommittees that correspond to the main foci of the action plan. These subcommittees are meeting regularly and reporting back to me and the entire committee about their progress. I will share news of their accomplishments in future updates.

In the meantime, there is much to report about diversity and inclusion initiatives that have occurred or are underway since my last update in January:

  • In mid-January, the Mellon Foundation approved an officer’s grant of $30,000 to support planning initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in faculty hiring. I am the principal investigator on that grant, and will be using it to hire consultants to help us further refine our hiring practices in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion I will also use the money to pass on to our faculty the knowledge gained from the consultants and to provide small grants to departments to help incentivize them to complete plans to manage their future staffing needs.

  • Spring was a busy season for hiring and I provided assistance to search committees to try to increase our hiring of faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. Specifically, I conducted workshops on best practices in diversity hiring for this year’s faculty and staff search committees, including the presidential search committee. I also consulted with staff search chairs on the wording of job announcements, the wording of job requirements and the best places for posting job announcements. In addition, I interviewed with most of the faculty candidates and attended their presentations. I also served on several staff search committees. Going forward, I will continue to offer these services to hiring committees.

  • The CDI—in partnership with CAB, facilities, the DDI’s office and the provost’s office—sponsored three campus-wide forums on how to mindfully listen and communicate across differences. These forums, presented by StirFry Seminars & Consulting, were well attended by students, faculty, and staff, and offered practical tips for better communication along with lots of practice during the sessions.

  • In April, Lewis & Clark will become a member of the liberal arts diversity officers (LADO) consortium. LADO was founded in 2007 and it promotes best practices and innovative strategies in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education.There are currently 26 members of LADO. Lewis & Clark will join Whitman College in being inducted in April. The only other west coast member of LADO is Reed College. This group will assist L&C with its various diversity initiatives.

  • In March I conducted a transparency in teaching workshop via the CAS’ teaching excellence program; the workshop was designed to assist faculty in providing equitable access to learning for all of their students. I conducted a similar workshop for law faculty in the fall of 2016.

  • In the wake of President Trump’s Executive Order on entry into the United States, the DDI’s office worked with members of the L&C community from all three school to create a resources flyer. This flyer was then expanded into a resources page for immigrant students, faculty and staff.

With commencement looming on the horizon, I want to say congratulations to the Classes of 2017 from all three schools, and wish all of our graduates the best. Know that my and the CDI’s work will continue in earnest.

The Committee for Diversity and Inclusion meets monthly from 3–5 p.m., in Stamm West and Lewis & Clark community members are invited to attend. The next meeting is scheduled for this Friday, April 14.

The Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement has a full calendar of student-focused diversity and inclusion programming. Learn more about their events and programs.