Advancing Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
"Equity and inclusion serve as the engine for excellence and innovation. A commitment to racial justice and to equity across all aspects of diversity propels our students, faculty, and staff to reflect upon and work to build fair, open, and welcoming institutional structures, values, and culture." — From the College’s mission statement
This vision of change at Bryn Mawr College outlined in this document draws on principles and values in the College’s mission statement and that resonate with the campus today. This is a living document that is ever-evolving as the needs of the campus change and as we learn from our experience.
The College sharpened it focus on diversity, equity, inclusion. and anti-racism in 2015, taking steps to advance this work over time. The student-led strike in Fall 2020, in particular, inspired action and accelerated change. New, additional investments build on these previously existing efforts in synergistic ways. To maintain a forward focus, the College has developed a proactive, work-in-progress approach to frame higher-level goals and aspirations and actions to support these goals. Through this ongoing work we aspire to be a campus where all community members have a sense of belonging and where all community members experience the Bryn Mawr community as a place where they can grow and thrive.
Bryn Mawr’s vision for change centers on four main goals to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism (DEIA).
Chief among these overlapping and synergistic goals is to enable community members to develop a more complete and nuanced understanding of the processes by which power, privilege, and oppression are sustained at the College. This understanding will help us to address structural barriers to equity and inclusion effectively and empower members of the campus to thrive and contribute their gifts and strengths to build strong narratives of belonging at Bryn Mawr.
Investing in the College’s work together as a learning community that supports the respectful and rigorous exploration of diverse viewpoints is critical to this approach. These actions are offered with openness and humility and with an awareness that they will evolve and benefit from the input and implementation of students, faculty, staff, and administrators as we do this important work together.
The College began publishing annual DEIA plans and year-end reports of work by students, faculty, staff, and administrators in 2015. Since many of the actions listed below are framed as continuing, please see the July 2022 progress report for more details.
AY ’22-23 Action Steps
GOAL: The Bryn Mawr College community will have a deep and nuanced understanding of structural racism, and the processes by which power, privilege, and oppression in many dimensions are sustained.
- The President’s Office will continue to support teach-ins through compensating presenters and providing organizational support.
- The President’s Office will offer larger scale community opportunities for learning such as invited speakers for the full campus or facilitated discussion around important issues.
- The new student engagement coordinator and the new student programs coordinator will work with colleagues across the College to support first-year students in understanding the Honor Code and community values and expectations. First-year programs will also teach social tools to promote positive social interaction and reduce harm caused by ignorance or bias.
- The Provost’s Office and the Faculty will prepare to implement the new curricular requirement on “Power, Inequity and Justice” in AY ’24. For AY’23 the Provost’s Office is offering faculty grants to modify existing courses or develop new courses that satisfy the requirement.
- The College will encourage and support professional development within academic and operational departments via LACRELA (Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance) and other resources that educate about structural racism, about the intersectional elements of oppression, including racism, ableism, gender bias, homophobia, etc. and about the ways in which these elements may impact one’s work at the College.
- Human Resources will explore and pilot a diversity, equity, and inclusion module for new faculty and staff orientation --- similar to modules we use for information security and work-place harassment recognition and prevention.
- The President and Provost will work with the Chair of the Faculty to facilitate small-group faculty discussions about the results of the campus climate surveys.
Measurable Outcomes: Campus-wide participation in programming; positive impact and learning of programs as measured by impact surveys of programs; improvement in perceptions of campus climate.
GOAL: Address structural issues and barriers to equity and inclusion for students, faculty, and staff.
- The President and Acting Dean of the Undergraduate College will explore the creation of a Social Justice Fellow in Residence program that would bring a social justice advocate to campus to collaborate with administrators, faculty, staff, and students to advance the College’s mission to build fair, open, and welcoming institutional structures, values, and culture. By sharing professional expertise and supporting learning and exploration, the Fellow would facilitate the progress of equity and anti-racism initiatives at the College.
- The College will continue to improve the physical accessibility of the campus and campus spaces through ongoing Facilities projects.
- The Title IX Officer will revise the Title IX Policies manual so that it is simpler to follow and provides timetables and outlines or procedural steps. She will also provide regular training to student affairs, athletics, Campus Safety, and other staff who may hear concerns related to possible policy violations.
- The Title IX Officer in collaboration with staff in the Undergraduate Dean’s Office will revise education and training provided to students and student leaders about Title IX and sexual misconduct.
- The Acting Dean of the Undergraduate College, the Director of Access Services, LITS, and the Provost will collaborate to ensure that programs and the curriculum are inclusive and accessible through increased staffing in Access Services, technical support for faculty efforts to make course materials accessible, and, in collaboration with the Curriculum Committee, continue work toward College-wide adoption of universal design principles.
- Building on the recent increases in financial aid and significant positive changes to the financial aid policy, the President, Chief Enrollment Officer and Senior Staff will evaluate possible additional modifications to need-based financial aid policies.
- The Faculty By-Laws Committee will review and address structural and procedural issues that impact equity and inclusion in Faculty By-Laws.
- The Provost’s Office will continue to assess practices and policies to ensure that faculty equity and inclusion work is valued and supported.
- The Bias Response Group has revised the Bias Incident Response process to make it more visible and clear, and will improve communication so that those who use the process understand the outcomes as much as is possible.
- The President’s Office will continue to support the efforts of the Workplace Advisors in assisting staff and faculty to find resources to address workplace issues.
- The Chief Information Officer and Collections’ Staff will complete the current NAGPRA repatriation process and the Departmental Collections Working Group will ensure that our Collections’ policies across the College for acquisition and use of collections are ethical and consistent with best practices.
Measurable Outcomes: More transparent processes and procedures. Students, faculty, and staff perceive structures to be more equitable. Representation in structures and processes reflects the diversity of our community. Equitable outcomes across all identities.
GOAL: Create a campus environment where all students, faculty, and staff have a sense of thriving and belonging
- The College will continue to support the work of the Assistant Dean for Intercultural Engagement and the Assistant Dean for Student Support and Belonging into the College in leading innovative and impactful programming.
- The Acting Dean of the Undergraduate College will hire and support the new full-time Assistant Director of Access Services, who will work closely with the Director of Access Services and the Assistive Technology Specialist to support student learning.
- GSAS will continue to organize DEIA workshops for new graduate students and inclusive pedagogy workshops for TAs, open to all graduate students.
- The Directors of the STEMLA program will assess the initiative as they prepare for the third cohort.
- The Dean’s Office will continue to partner with faculty to develop a strengths-based approach to advising.
- The Bi-Co Executive Director of Campus Safety and the Bryn Mawr and Haverford Chief Financial and Administration Officers will reimagine approaches to student safety and student support with student input. Bryn Mawr will hire a trained social worker to support departmental responses and expand programming. The Chief Communications Officer will help to better communicate the department’s ethos of care.
- The Provost will support faculty labor in DEIA areas using course releases for junior faculty and three for tenured faculty; TLI partnerships; and sharing resources across departments.
- In collaboration with the Committee on Appointments and the Committee on Academic Priorities, the Provost’s Office will share a high-level summary of the information gained from faculty exit interviews to educate the community about behaviors that impact belonging and will address structural obstacles to inclusion where possible.
- Human Resources will improve adherence to revised recruitment and hiring practices intended to increase diversity among the College’s staff.
- With Haverford and Swarthmore, the College will invest in a Tri-Co training program for supervisors to include best practices in supporting work-place environments that promote thriving for all employees.
- Supervisors will support and recognize staff contributions to institutional DEIA goals.
Measurable Outcomes: Reported sense of belonging increases and gaps in a sense of belonging based on identity become smaller; higher retention rates and graduation rates for all students; higher retention rates for faculty and staff of color; course evaluations reflect inclusive classrooms; more diverse staff and faculty at all levels.
GOAL: Create narratives that support belonging
- The President’s Office will launch the Dialogue Project in collaboration with faculty and staff convenors to build the capacity of students, faculty, and staff to engage in difficult conversations and support that deep engagement by others.
- The President’s Office, faculty and staff from LITS will continue support for the work of recovering stories about the College’s history and helping to create more inclusive narratives of Bryn Mawr’s identity and trajectory through the Who Built Bryn Mawr? Project and other learning opportunities offered through the curriculum and LITS internships.
- The President’s Office will sponsor a campus event (in partnership with Monument Lab) to share the campus input gathered in AY’22 about stories that are missing from our institutional history. This work will inform the commissioning of an artwork or monument that responds to the College’s legacy of exclusion and contributes to a reparative vision for the future. The College will ensure that all of these stories and interviews continue to be visible and available to future generations in the College archives and elsewhere.
- Members of the faculty, staff, and students will engage in conversations about monuments, memory, and public art in classes and elsewhere to build an intellectual, historical and social context for the College’s work with Monument Lab.
- The Board of Trustees’ Institutional Monuments Group will engage the campus through focus groups around the significance of Old Library and its inscription, in light of ongoing work to share a deeper and transparent history of the College.
- Chief Communications Officer will develop a comprehensive communication plan so that there is proactive communication about DEIA work and its impact.
- The President’s Office will use PoV (Point of View) Surveys to measure campus impact of DEIA efforts and share these findings with the community.
- The College will continue to look to the Campus Partnership for Equity and Anti-racism as a think-tank to support the College’s DEIA work and to support accountability for progress across all areas of the College.
Measurable Outcomes: Continued development of this working approach that has community buy-in and support; a shared understanding of deep commitments; a sense of greater understanding and trust that allows us to move forward on deeper transformation; greater community knowledge of DEIA efforts and progress; a shared understanding of the College’s complex and varied history among our students, faculty, and staff.
Input on approach, goals, and actions can be sent to EquityInclusion@brynmawr.edu.
Pensby Center for Community Development and Inclusion
Campus Partnership for Equity and Anti-Racism
Co-Conveners: Dee Matthews (Creative Writing) and Ann-Therese Ortíz (Pensby Center)
Ruth Lindeborg (President’s Office)