A three-year grant from the Irvine Foundation is touching every facet of the College community.
A grant from the James Irvine Foundation has become the catalyst for a new initiative designed to bolster efforts to build a truly diverse community at Pomona College. A year and a half into the life of the three-year Campus Diversity Initiative, according to Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of English Rena Fraden, the effects of the new programs it is funding are already being felt in a number of arenas.
“What’s really significant about it is that it’s a campus-wide initiative,” Fraden explains. “There’s an institutional research piece, an outreach piece, a faculty piece, a student life piece. What becomes clear is that diversity happens in every part of the institution, and it’s important to every part of the institution.”
The $850,000 grant, one of a number made by the Irvine Foundation to colleges across the country in support of diversity efforts, has made possible a range of new programs, including:
- the funding of new fellowships to reward and recognize the extraordinary efforts of faculty who devote a great deal of time to mentoring minority students;
- the development of intensive summer programming to help prepare high school students from local, underserved communities to succeed in the best colleges;
- the staffing of an Institutional Research Office to evaluate the educational experience of all Pomona students and, more specifically, to assess the effectiveness of the College’s diversity programs; and
- increased, campus-wide discussions of diversity through the Campus Diversity Initiative Steering Committee and other groups, such as a board made up of student leaders of color, organized by the dean of students.
“What’s exciting is that the grant not only allows us to put new programs in place; it’s also enabling us to assess how they’re working, which is an important change,” Fraden notes.