Inclusive campus climate: anticipating a change in the “weather”

Inclusive campus climate: anticipating a change in the “weather”

Submission by the Committee on Campus Climate and Culture (“4C”)

Bill Woodson, chair

Hugo Viera-Vargas and Jessica Young,  faculty representatives

Duane Khan and Sheila Foley, staff representatives

Alexandra Barbat and Steven Keshishian, student representatives

Donald O’Shea and David Harvey, ex officio

Many in our community will remember a flurry of Campus Climate-related activity this past Fall. There was a Catalyst article in September (“Campus Climate — Turning a New Page at New College”). Next came Towne Halls focused on campus climate in October and November, along with campus visits from three management consultants specializing in diversity and inclusion. These consultants were auditioning for a contract to guide New College towards creating a campus environment that was more inclusive, cohesive and supportive.

Accelerate Coaching and Consulting, led by Uneeda Brewer, was chosen, based on the quality of their proposal and feedback from the students, faculty and staff who had an opportunity to interact with Brewer and get a feel for her vision for the college. By the end of March, more than 170 New College faculty and staff will have completed a day-long Inclusive Campus Climate workshop, learning skills that will support their ability to engage difference and manage conflict, understanding concepts like microaggressions and implicit bias, and leveraging these learnings to better avoid or defuse the tensions that can result.

But we’re not done yet. And when we say “we,” we truly mean all of us. To move the climate of a college campus isn’t something that can be achieved in a single workshop, or by a group of employees. It will take a concerted, collective effort, including the President and the leadership of the college, and the faculty, as well as every student and employee. Stay tuned for what comes next, and get ready to be a part of it.

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