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2021-22 Annual Report on Actions to Advance DEIAR

July 7, 2022

The below message was sent by President Cassidy on July 7, 2022

I write to report on efforts of students, staff, faculty, and administration across the College on actions undertaken during 2021-2022 to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at Bryn Mawr.  The work that has gone forward reflects the efforts and commitment of many people on campus, and deserves our deep appreciation and support.

This year our reckoning with racist anti-Black graffiti and with anti-Asian and anti-Semitic incidents underscored the importance of our collective and individual commitments to address sources of hate, to address barriers to inclusion, and to strengthen practices that build belonging for all.

I have prepared two reports this year.  One reports progress on commitments the College made in November 2020 in response to the student-led strike.  Since those commitments were published, I have prepared mid- and end of semester/ year reports.  Many of these specific commitments are complete, sustainably ongoing, or well underway.  Going forward, continuing items will be incorporated into a single institutional report.

The second report encompasses all actions taken in 2021-2022 that advance goals of the Working Approach to Advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism that was published in November 2021 and informed by consultation with the Campus Partnership for Equity and Anti-Racism.  The Approach identifies four overlapping goals that create a framing for future progress.  The Approach identifies specific actions for the present, but is intended to be a living document that will evolve over time.

While I hope all community members will take the time to review both reports, I want to note a few highlights from each report here.

1.       From the Progress on November 2020 Commitments Report

  • In April 2022, the faculty ratified a new undergraduate requirement in Power, Inequity, and Justice proposed by the Curriculum Committee, which was in turn informed by proposals of a working group of faculty and students and the work students undertook in an independent study led by Professor Alison Cook-Sather.  I am grateful for the deep engagement, thoughtfulness, and collaboration embodied by this process.  The requirement will go into effect for the Class of 2027.  In addition to existing courses that will be proposed to meet this requirement, the Provost is providing course development funding to interested faculty.
  • In summer 2021, the Pensby Center appointed Leslie Castrejon and Joi Dallas to newly established positions:  Assistant Dean for Student Support and Success and Assistant Dean for Intercultural Engagement.  In these new roles, Dean Castrejon and Dean Dallas significantly expanded student programming and outreach and created strong collaborations across campus to advance equity and inclusion goals.
  • Completion of the Student Life and Wellness Building brings three major student services groups into one accessible location, and staff are taking the opportunity to create synergies to enhance support for holistic student development and well-being.  In a spring survey, 77% of students reported the new space has had a positive impact on their personal experience and 81% see a positive impact for the campus as a whole.

2.        From the Progress Report:  Completed DEIAR Actions, 2021-2022

  • In March 2022 the College announced major changes to its need-based financial aid program.  Beginning in 2022-2023, financial aid packages are now no-loan for students whose family incomes are less than $60,000.  Packages for others receiving need-based aid will see $2,000 of unsubsidized loans replaced by College grants.
  • The STEMLA Fellows program for first-generation, low-income students interested in science fields launched in summer 2021.  The College applied for and received an NSF grant of nearly $1.5 million to support the program through 2028.
  • In addition to the Assistive Technology Specialist hired in fall 2020 (replacing a vacant position), the College will hire a new full-time Assistant Director of Access Services in 2022-2023. 
  • The College shared a Campus Climate Action Plan informed by results of spring 2021 student, faculty, and staff campus climate surveys. 
  • Bryn Mawr and the public art and history studio Monument Lab launched a multi-year engagement project, which will include creation of an artwork intended to address stories missing or excluded from the College‚Äôs history.