I’m writing to share my thinking and next steps in response to conversations over the past year with members of the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity (PACD).
PACD has been in place for 14 years, and during this time Pomona has become more diverse and more reflective of our larger society. I am grateful for PACD’s years of service and contributions to our community. The committee’s work has been truly indispensable to keeping Pomona focused on key diversity goals.
Now I believe we are at a point where we have some new work to do in this area. As we continue to push forward in essential efforts to attract diverse students, faculty and staff, we also need to take a deeper look at the actual living and learning environment on campus for all members of our community. Diversity and inclusivity are not the end points. We need to strive for a campus climate in which everyone can flourish—academically, emotionally, physically, spiritually.
PACD and I have been discussing how to get there. Our next step is get a more complete picture of the current climate on campus. On the advice of PACD, we are bringing in additional expertise, from the firm of Rankin & Associates, to assist with gathering data, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and offering solutions that fit Pomona.
Rankin & Associates specializes in assisting educational institutions to maximize equity through assessment, planning and intervention strategies. The firm is run by Sue Rankin, senior research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education and associate professor of education in the College Student Affairs Program at Penn State. She is an expert on multiple forms of inequity in higher education.
These consultants will work in collaboration with members of our community. We are working now to convene a Climate Survey Working Group (CSWG) of approximately 15 members, and will include faculty, staff and students who represent the breadth of our diverse community. The CSWG will begin work this summer with the Rankin team to conduct on-campus meetings with our community starting in the fall. We should expect to receive our first set of action items by the end of the calendar year.
I am pleased to announce that our CSWG co-chairs will be Seth Allen, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, and Zayn Kassam, professor of religious studies, coordinator of gender and women's studies, and director of the Pacific Basin Institute. As PACD takes a pause, several leaders from PACD will be joining the working group to help advance this next step. I appreciate their willingness to contribute as Pomona’s diversity efforts continue to deepen and evolve.
More information will come in the fall semester, including how you will be able to participate in this important work. I am excited to move forward in our goal of fostering a community in which all can flourish with the help of the CSWG, Sue Rankin and with you over the next year as we begin to incorporate the data we receive into our strategic planning. Our goal in this important next step is to make Pomona a place where everyone can flourish.
With best wishes,