From: "Nicole Stanton and Michael S. Roth" <announcement@wesleyan.edu>
Date: Monday, July 13, 2020 at 5:38 PM
Subject: Cultivating Equity and Building an Antiracist Community

Dear friends,

We are pleased to present an outline of concrete actions Wesleyan will take in striving to build an antiracist community. The steps outlined below focus on faculty and academic affairs, but they impact all aspects of our community. These steps are just the beginning. As we meet with faculty, staff, student, and alumni groups in the coming weeks, there will be multiple opportunities to envision new possibilities, provide input, and work as collaborators in this ongoing process. You can expect further communications this summer outlining concrete proposals.

It is important to acknowledge the outstanding work already underway across the campus. Led by Alison Williams, the Office for Equity and Inclusion continues to make our university more equitable and inclusive. As the new director of the Office of Faculty Career Development, Mary Alice Haddad will be facilitating a number of important initiatives that contribute to undoing racism. The Olin Library is engaging in a comprehensive project on de-centering whiteness in the archive. The Athletics Department is cooperating closely with coaches and student-athletes to build a more equitable community. Numerous student groups are organizing to make our campus more just and antiracist. One of the key dimensions of our proposal is the coordination and lifting up of the good work that is already occurring.

Hiring Initiatives 

  • At least half of all hires in the next three years will contribute to the diversity of the faculty, including a tenure track cluster hire initiative.
  • All academic departments, programs, and colleges either requesting or conducting a search in 2020-2021 will be required to submit an equity and inclusion report, including: a climate analysis; a plan for diversification; a plan for mentorship; and self-assessment procedures. All searches will require a Process Advocate as described by the Office for Equity and Inclusion.
  • Wesleyan will establish a Distinguished Visiting Scholar or Artist Fellowship for teaching and research that centers the experiences of people of color and those underrepresented in the academy. One fellowship will be available per year, and any department, program, or college may apply. In addition to a salary, fellows will receive support for research/creative practice.
  • Wesleyan will establish a Post-Degree Research Fellowship for an emerging scholar or artist whose teaching and research are centered on the experiences of people of color and those underrepresented in the academy. In addition to a salary, this fellowship will feature a focused mentorship program in both research and teaching, as well as research/creative practice support. One fellowship will be available per year and any department, program, or college may apply.

Support for Continuing Faculty

  • Wesleyan will augment its existing mortgage program to provide additional support for faculty from groups that are impacted by legacies of housing discrimination.
  • Wesleyan commits to deepening the mentorship offered to faculty of color. This includes establishing mentoring relationships with alumni; support for professional coaches; support for faculty to work with distinguished colleagues at other institutions; and membership in external mentorship programs geared towards (but not limited to) faculty of color.
  • Members of standing committees and department chairs will be required to engage in implicit bias and antiracist training at the beginning of their term of service.
  • We are establishing a Provost’s Advisory Committee on Equity consisting of faculty, staff and students. The committee will meet regularly with the provost and other members of Academic Affairs to provide input on the ongoing impact of the equity initiatives and advance the needs and concerns of faculty, staff, and students of color. Elected by their constituents, the committee members will also serve as a vital conduit for new initiatives from the University as a whole.

Curriculum

  • Expand support for existing programs that ensure students of color can succeed in all areas of the curriculum, including (but not limited to) WesMASS, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and the Seminar on Race and Pedagogy.
  • Coordinate, support, and highlight existing courses and pedagogical projects that interrogate race, equity, and justice issues. This can include special funding opportunities and course or teaching assistants.
  • Wesleyan will solicit proposals from faculty for curricular initiatives that focus on the experiences of people of color and those historically marginalized on Wesleyan’s campus. The aim would be to fund one per year for the next four years. Ideas that have been presented include developing a minor around existing courses, as well as new graduate programs, institutes, centers, or colleges.
  • Wesleyan will provide funding to departments, programs, and colleges for talks, performances, and other co-curricular activities that feature Black, Indigenous and other scholars and artists of color.

The institutional dimensions of this work are broad, and it will be important to coordinate, support, and highlight the antiracist and justice work occurring across the campus. All members of the President’s Cabinet will participate in antiracism training, and each year centers, colleges, institutes and departments will be asked to jointly facilitate public conversations on topics related to antiracism and equity, inviting experts for workshops and professional development.

We look forward to collaborating with our dedicated faculty, staff, and students in moving forward these important initiatives as we strive to build an antiracist campus community.

 

Sincerely,

Nicole Stanton
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Dance
Professor, African American Studies
Professor, Environmental Studies
 

Michael S. Roth
President