Note from Dean on Inclusion Expectations
I have been asked, quite logically, why not put this expectation on academic departments instead of individuals? Isn’t the department level a more effective way to develop comprehensive programming and potential pedagogical/curricular change? I appreciate the question, and it has helped me understand some of the complexities of the issues of inclusion. My goal of making this an individual expectation is not to bypass collective action at the departmental, divisional, or institutional level, but rather to augment those actions. It seems to me that our mission of “enabling students to become independent, responsible, and thoughtful” is unfulfilled if we don’t encourage all of our students to engage fully in the resources of the institution. At a time when the value of higher education in general, and liberal education in particular, is suspect, it seems central to everyone’s job on campus to prepare to engage with all of our students.
Doubt about the value of higher education, and the potential alienation of students on campus, comes from many directions, so I find it essential that the goals of making the campus more inclusive and welcoming include a wide range of perspectives. This is a central justification of individual expectations: to encourage even those minority viewpoints. This will be controversial, and there will be disagreements about what “welcoming” means, what “should count,” and who is being cut out of the conversations. Expect it to be challenging, expect emotions to rise, but expect to grow in the process of these conversations.
Please come to our December 1 Common Hour if you can. I also will continue to post my own thoughts on my blog, which I encourage you to read.