Advancing Campus Climate
January 25, 2018
I am writing with two important updates about our sustained work on inclusion, diversity and equity.
First, we begin the spring semester with a terrific new member of the Smith College Cabinet on board: David Carreon Bradley, vice president for inclusion, diversity and equity. Many of you met Vice President Carreon Bradley during the search process last fall, and I am grateful for your help in bringing him to Smith. You are all invited to a reception I am hosting from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 1, at the Alumnae House, to welcome him as he joins our community. I look forward to seeing you there.
Second, members of the Cabinet are using the results of the Pathways Campus Climate Survey to guide new and expanded initiatives. For example:
- The vice president for enrollment and her staff are evaluating outcomes of financial aid awards to ensure that students eligible for financial aid have the same opportunities as our student population at large to enjoy all elements of the Smith experience, for example study abroad and research opportunities.
- The dean of students has formed a task force on belonging and loneliness to address some of the concerns raised by students in the survey. Students, staff and faculty are serving on this committee.
- The provost and the vice president for information technology are collaborating on an open textbook initiative, with the library and educational technology team, to ensure that all students have equitable access to curricular materials and textbooks. In addition, the Committee on Educational Technology is exploring ways to increase students’ access to technology devices for use in and out of the classroom.
- The vice president for information technology has set up a platform, Namecoach, to help faculty and staff learn to pronounce students’ names.
- The provost is working with faculty to recruit an exceptional cohort of scholar-teachers from underrepresented groups, using regular searches as well as targeted senior faculty searches.
- Smith is enhancing professional development offered by the provost and dean of the faculty’s office through the college’s institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.
- The Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning is dedicating its year of faculty programming to developing and supporting more inclusive classrooms.
- The dean of the college and her staff are working with the JED Foundation to assess and strengthen our mental health programs and services.
- Vice President Carreon Bradley will be collaborating with the provost to host faculty and staff of color socials each semester, to build community.
Our most important, sustained goal is to continue our progress toward building an inclusive, diverse and equitable Smith College. I look forward to your insights and partnership as we move forward.