Diversity and Inclusion at CMC: An Update

Over the past few months, the College has taken a number of significant steps to reinforce diversity and inclusion as a significant dimension of CMC’s leadership mission.

The Personal and Social Responsibility Initiative Steering Committee has intensified its work to develop a comprehensive inclusion strategy that provides tailored resources to students. Recent climate surveys, individual and group interviews, and historical data inform the strategy.

Numerous community-wide programs, a scholarly repository, faculty workshops and meetings have focused on a wide range of issues from academic freedom to training in difficult conversations.

The College is also advancing collaborative work with the faculty administration committee and the Claremont University Consortium on protocols and policy related to bias, harassment, and hate crimes.

This past month, President Hiram Chodosh expanded the role of Nyree Gray, CMC’s Chief Civil Rights Officer since 2014, to work with the Dean of the Faculty and the College more broadly as Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. In this position, she will oversee and support efforts to enrich diversity and promote inclusion across all offices and departments of CMC.

In addition, CMC has launched a formal search for an Assistant or Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, who will be charged with building capacity for students to learn and thrive in a diverse and inclusive community.

Among the other efforts undertaken at CMC:

  • The opening of a temporary resource center for all students to help support and connect those who are seeking to explore diversity and inclusion along multiple dimensions.
  • The affirmation of our standards and free speech, academic freedom, and free inquiry. The Dean of the Faculty reinforced the College’s position in a strong statement of values last November.
  • The introduction of a new Diversity and Inclusion website, which provides a look at many efforts that are underway across the campus to improve understanding and communication in this important area. The website can be found at the top of the CMC homepage, under the “Experiences” and “Life” sections, or at the bottom of the page under “The Student Imperative.”

[For updates on CMC’s progress in these critical areas, simply enter your email address in the box on the right side of the Diversity and Inclusion website.]

On a more informal level, faculty and students have responded to recent events as a meaningful opportunity to learn about what it means to lead in a pluralistic society. Some faculty members have adjusted their syllabi and pedagogy to take full advantage of the level of campus engagement by taking on difficult topics, such as race, in our society.

As one example, Asst. Professor Daniel Livesay is including readings that more accurately reflect today’s views on race in his courses, Early American History and Atlantic World History, two upper-division history classes that examine race and slavery in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Associate Professor Jon Shields also has added more readings on race and diversity in his introductory course in American politics, Government 20.

He also has proposed teaching two new courses next year, one on the political movements of the 1960s, which looks at the deep historical roots of modern-day partisan polarization, and one tentatively titled Black Intellectuals: Debating Racial Inequality in the Age of Obama.

Associate Professor Tamara Venit-Shelton hasn’t changed her curriculum, but she has altered her approach to how she teaches her classes in American history and freshman Humanities.

Dr. Venit-Shelton said she had to remind herself to be more empathetic to how someone who is 18, 19 or 20 responds to reading primary sources so students can engage analytically with the texts and develop their own sense of what these categories of social difference mean to them. 

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