Despite many months filled with COVID-19 precautions and protocols, something we have not lost sight of is the necessary work related to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In a year of watershed headlines, the Endicott team has been working to balance the needs and safety of the College’s community with the steps we need to move forward. Despite many months filled with COVID-19 precautions and protocols, something we have not lost sight of is the necessary work related to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am reminded that racism exists everywhere, touching even a small College campus, and it is our responsibility to combat it.
The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Task Force is leading the charge in developing strategies and timelines for Endicott to become more representative of the world in which we live. The group is creating an action plan with measurable outcomes that will be our guide as we seek to recruit and retain more diverse and inclusive students, faculty, and staff.
When I first came to Endicott, I charged campus leaders to perform a comprehensive climate survey—an equity audit that asks important questions of our community—to help identify areas where improvement is needed and guide us in making changes and measuring success further down the road. The survey was deployed this fall to various constituents and we are in the midst of gathering and analyzing results.
Over the summer, our DEI Task Force hosted listening forums with alumni, faculty and staff, students, and parents. Monthly sessions are now offered for faculty and staff, and others, to be sure that concerns, suggestions, and stories can be shared in an open and safe environment.
We are also initiating Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and microaggression trainings. ERGs are voluntary groups of employees formed around shared experiences, common backgrounds, or identifications, which serve to strengthen our community. Microaggressions—incidents regarded as subtle or unintentional discrimination toward marginalized group members such as racial or ethnic minorities—are being discussed through virtual workshops that have been repeatedly filled to capacity.
Right now, the DEI Task Force is reviewing student recruitment strategies, hiring practices, and campus-wide academic and social issues, and developing educational forums to confront racism on campus and in our society. I hope you’ll join me in supporting and driving this important work.
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As you read through this issue of Soundings, I think you’ll share my pride in what this amazing community is accomplishing. I invite you to check our website for the most up-to-date announcements, such as the opening of our newest academic building, our numerous recognitions in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 “Best Colleges Rankings,” and inclusion in the 2020 “Great Colleges to Work For” program featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Endicott is truly a special place, and your energy toward continuous improvements inspires me daily.
Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D.