University provides e-mail update on diversity initiatives
Georgetown’s Diversity Initiative working groups have made their verdicts—change should come to the Hilltop.
Last night, Provost James O’Donnell sent out an e-mail that listed the recommendations of the Academic, Student Life, Admissions and Recruitment working groups. This year, the three groups were tasked by President John DeGioia to “develop recommendations about how Georgetown can strength our approach to creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive undergraduate community.”
Out of all the suggestions, highlights include the establishment of an oft-debated diversity requirement, offering a major in African-American studies, a “Diversity Fellows” program, and a push to hire more minority faculty members.
Below, Vox has the complete rundown.
The Academic Working Group suggests:
- Creating a diversity requirement “as part of the General Education requirements for all undergraduates.”
- “[Increasing] the numbers of minority faculty throughout the University,” specifically targeting expansion within the departments of African-American studies, Hispanic/Latino studies, and Asian-American studies.
- Establishing an African-American studies major, to be “followed by” the development of Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino programs.
- A year-long colloquium that brings together “distinguished academics and intellectuals from within and outside our University to discuss and debate current best practices in the study of race, ethnicity, and culture.”
- Focus on “inclusive teaching and learning” by promoting current academic programs and opportunity within the University, such as the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship
The Student Life Working Group suggests:
- Creating a Diversity Fellows program that would offer paid positions to student who are interested in “leading diversity and inclusion efforts in key administrative departments and student initiatives.”
- Expanding the “A Different Dialogue” program, which began in Spring 2010.
- Building a “diversity portal” on the University’s web page to provide the Georgetown community about diversity-related events and information.
After the jump, read the Admission Working Group’s recommendations, plus the complete e-mail.
The Admissions and Recruitment Working Group suggests:
- Working with students to enhance the diversity at events like GAAP and Hoya Saxa Weekend.
- “Enhancing resources and efforts” to create a more diverse pool of accepted students.
- Continue supporting “a new college prep program for students from Cristo Rey high schools,” which will begin this summer.
Below, Provost O’Donnell and Vice President Kilkenny’s e-mail, in full:
Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,On April 20, 2009, President John J. DeGioia announced steps to foster respect for diversity and inclusiveness within the campus community at a student town hall meeting. President DeGioia charged Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Rosemary Kilkenny and Provost Jim O’Donnell with coordinating the Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiative. The initiative is composed of three working groups, Academics, Admissions and Recruitment, and Student Life, whose goal is to develop recommendations about how Georgetown can strengthen our approach to creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive undergraduate community.We are writing to provide you with an update on the work of the Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiative. The co-chairs of each of the working groups have met with and submitted their recommendations to President DeGioia and Provost O’Donnell. As we come to the end of this drafting phase and prepare to enter the phase of implementation, we are pleased to share the recommendations with the members of the Georgetown University community.This working group has met regularly from May 2009 through April 2010, and addressed the student experience beyond the classroom. Areas of focus have included life in our residence halls, student organizations and leadership development, new student orientation, and student culture in general. The importance of a strong community, and of a unity that flows from our diversity, were central in the group’s work. The working group was comprised of students, administrators, and faculty from across the Main Campus. Recommendations involving changes at the institutional level were combined with those aimed at specific student programs and experiences. The development of a more inclusive and respectful student culture was the overarching goal of this group’s recommendations, which include:
- The development of a Diversity Fellows program – an opportunity for a group of students to take on paid positions coordinating and leading diversity and inclusion efforts in key administrative departments and student initiatives.
- The continuation and expansion of A Different Dialogue – a program of professionally facilitated inter-group dialogues around such issues as race and sexual orientation – that were successfully piloted in Spring 2010.
- A new diversity portal on the university web page, highlighting issues of diversity, community, and inclusion for prospective and current students as well as faculty and staff. This portal should portray Georgetown’s values and commitments related to diversity, and should feature an events calendar and information on diversity-related student groups and programs.This working group carried out its discussion at an intensive pace, energized by the opportunity to put into practice in the Spring 2010 semester new ideas and structures that would be immediately helpful as we recruit the Class of 2014. Following an open forum in which draft recommendations were presented, the working group submitted its final recommendations to President DeGioia and Provost O’Donnell in December 2009. President DeGioia and Provost O’Donnell accepted the recommendations and this working group has entered the implementation phase of its work.The first step was the creation of a new advisory group on diversity for the Dean of Admissions. Comprising students, faculty and staff, this group has focused on developing a new optional diversity-related question on the Admissions Application. Other implementation steps this semester include the expansion of this year’s Hoya Saxa Weekend and the establishment this summer of a new college prep program for students from Cristo Rey high schools. As they continue their work in the school year 2010-2011, they will continue working towards implementation of their other recommendations, which include:
- enhancing resources and efforts to improve the yield of accepted students;
- developing additional pipeline programs; and
- working to support and enhance the ways that student-led efforts like GAAP, Blue & Gray, and Hoya Saxa Weekend respond to Georgetown’s goal of enhancing the diversity of our undergraduate community.While the results of our recruitment efforts are not yet finalized, early data suggests that this year Georgetown was able to increase the diversity of the Class of 2014.Georgetown is a university “founded on the principle that serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures, and beliefs promotes intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding.” We reaffirm this mission and our commitment not only to diversity and pluralism among students, faculty and administration but also to the formation of inquisitive, thoughtful students who are “responsible and active participants in civic life, and [who] live generously in service to others.” These are the great virtues of a liberal education, and they are our standards. Yet on our campus, there have erupted troubling incidents of prejudice that have moved faculty and administration to respond so we live up to our best intentions of community and liberal education. The convening of this Academic Working Group, along with the two other working groups, while occasioned by these incidents, is fundamentally designed to adapt our commitments to a changing nation and world.The curriculum represents the core of the university. It is the “blueprint” that reveals both a university’s trajectory and its ambition. The curriculum tells us how an institution of higher learning wants to shape and give direction to intellectual inquiry within its walls. Any discussion of changes to the curriculum invariably leads us to focus on the basic values and mission of an institution. What is the purpose of a university? How should members of the Georgetown University community uphold the principles of a liberal education? How do we ensure that the university remains a place where learning — including vigorous and respectful debate — occurs? In these times of globalization and growing interdependence, how should we prepare our students to be good and informed citizens?We all agreed on how important it is for our university community to understand and confront questions of diversity. We did not reach consensus on a single interpretation of how diversity should be taught. Nor did we wish to impose a specific hierarchy of importance among various sources of identity and diversity. For these reasons the Working Group defined “diversity” as asymmetries of power regarding class, culture, ethnicity, gender, identity, and race (among others) that shape individual experiences and communal interactions.As we listened and learned from one another throughout our many hours of discussion, it became clear that despite our differences, we agreed that Georgetown needs to do more to prepare its students so they can better understand the diversity of the world around them and serve as informed participants and leaders in our increasingly complex and interconnected world. The remainder of this report frames and presents the recommendations of the Working Group.The Working Group proposes recommendations in the following areas:
- Faculty Recruitment and Hires: the Working Group urges the administration to increase the numbers of minority faculty throughout the University. We also recommend expanding the number of faculty in African-American studies program and developing the Hispanic/Latino and Asian American studies programs. These appointments should be embedded within those departments that reflect the disciplinary bent of the candidates.
- University Colloquium on Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in the Era of Globalization: The Working Group also recommends that the President convene a year-long colloquium that would bring together distinguished academics and intellectuals from within and outside our University to discuss and debate current best practices in the study of race, ethnicity, and culture.
- African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic/Latino Studies: Our first priority should be to move beyond the minor in African-American Studies and to establish as soon as is practicable a full major, even as we recognize that a significant investment will be required for this program to attain Georgetown’s standards of excellence. African-American studies should have priority for a number of reasons specified in the report, followed by the development of Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino Studies programs.
- Establishment of a Diversity Requirement in All Four Schools: We recommend the establishment of a Diversity Requirement as part of the General Education requirements for all undergraduates. This requirement is distinctive, based on Georgetown’s history and context as well as on the specific needs and concerns that we have identified.
- Pedagogy: The University should increase its emphasis on inclusive teaching and learning, including more active communication about and promotion of existing programs and resources, most of which are associated with the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS).Thank you for your contribution to this major initiative. Working together, we can create a community that maximizes the blessings of diversity.James O’DonnellProvostRosemary KilkennyVice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity________________________________ Taken from Georgetown University’s mission statement, found at: http://president.georgetown.edu/sections/governance/missionstatement/ Ibid.
This message was posted by Sonia Jacobson on behalf of the Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiative as authorized by the Provost.