What does “inclusive excellence” mean for Pomona College?
Inclusive excellence is Pomona’s recognition of our shared experiences on campus. Ensuring that students, faculty, and staff, all feel a part of the Pomona community and are able to flourish in their individual and collective pursuits, is the ultimate goal of the Institute for Inclusive Excellence.
We want to make sure every member of our community feels that they belong and have access to every resource they might need to succeed.
Aren’t diversity, equity and inclusion all the same thing?
No. Think of diversity as our community’s different identities, beliefs and life histories. We usually quantify this in terms of race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, etc. Equity means giving people what they need to be successful, recognizing that each of us are individuals that might need something different than another. Inclusion is not only the act of connecting our diverse lives to a common endeavor (the classroom, for example), but it is also the process of engendering feelings of belonging and a Sagehen identity. This is what the IIE means when we say inclusion, and the pursuit of excellence is just what Sagehens do.
How is the IIE different than the work of the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
The Office for the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is tasked with, for example, ensuring that searches and recruiting are carried out correctly, addressing grievances and concerns related to DEI, and serving as the primary contact for several national programs related to faculty development.
The Institute for Inclusive Excellence, however, will focus more narrowly on ensuring faculty have the tools and knowledge to more effectively create inclusive classrooms.
What will the IIE focus in its first year?
There are many people, offices, and programs currently working to create an inclusive campus, and we do not want to reinvent the wheel or duplicate efforts. During our first year, the focus will be:
*Collect and consolidate resources to ensure easy access to information.
*Partner with various offices and committees, including the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Inclusive Excellence Committee, the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and many others.
*Connect faculty to professional development opportunities through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, and our campus partnership with USC’s Race and Equity Center LACRELA initiative.
*Create bridges that connect faculty to the resources we have, and work with them to develop new ones as needed.
As an aside, one of the few programs the Institute for Inclusive Excellence will run this year is our New Faculty Cohort (NFC). The NFC is designed to welcome new faculty to the campus in a structured year-long cohort mentoring program. This program is modeled after our student Academic Cohorts that feature regular meetings, connections to resources, community building, and creating a space where we can openly and honestly discuss life as a new professor at Pomona.
How does the IIE interface with Lighting the Path and the College's Strategic Vision for Pomona College?
The Institute for Inclusive Excellence will be dedicated to interrogating those aspects of Lighting the Path, and the College's Strategic Vision, that are specifically committed to inclusion and equity.
We know there are differences across demographic groups in how students (as well as faculty and staff) experience the campus, and the Lighting the Path’s goal of “creating a dynamically diverse community,” along with the Strategic Vision’s focus on flourishing require that all of us are able to bring our true selves to the campus.
Being welcomed, valued, respected and supported are paramount to inclusion. Asking key questions, preparing reports, consulting on initiatives, and programs, and having those difficult discussions via many different avenues will push the campus to address our “inclusion gap” and become a better college for everyone.
How will we know that we’ve been successful?
Ultimately, our goal is for Pomona College to become a community where every student, faculty and staff, feels a sense of belonging to, are able to do their best work, and can develop a strong sense of identity as a Sagehen.
This does not mean everything will be perfect. It means that when the imperfect moments happen, we remain committed to our community, know that we are all here to support each other, and have the ability to work through the situation. We seek that the values and principles related to equity and inclusion are included in every aspect of our day-to-day work. This, of course, will be an ongoing process, but movement toward this goal (assessed in many dimensions, quantitatively and qualitatively) will be considered “success”.
How can I connect with the IIE?
For more information, contact Travis Brown, Co-director of Pomona's Institute for Inclusive Excellence.