Dear Pomona College Community,
I’m writing with an update on our response to the Campus Climate Survey conducted last year. The survey was designed to take a deeper look at the environment for all members of our community, make positive changes and help create a more inclusive campus.
The survey also is helping to shape the implementation of our Strategic Vision. We are moving forward in a range of areas, and today I want to focus on three:
Wellness: The Wellness Task Force appointed earlier this year is creating a plan for embedding a balanced, healthy culture into the daily life of the College. The group is working with students, faculty and staff to create a structure to support and maintain the wellbeing of every member of our community. Over the next year, the committee will:
- Develop a deeper understanding of the current landscape of wellness on college campuses
- Identify ways Pomona College can increase every individual’s sense of agency over their own wellness
- Present a final plan to underpin the Strategic Vision in this area
Task force members are:
Co-chairs: Avis Hinkson (student affairs) and Miriam Merrill (athletics and physical education)
Faculty: Lupe Bacio (psychological science and Chican/o Latina/o studies), Lisa Beckett (physical education), Zayn Kassam (Academic Dean’s Office and religious studies), Sara K. Olson (biology) and Patricia Smiley (psychological science)
Staff: Tracy Arwari (student affairs), Brenda Rushforth (human resources), Liz Ryan (dining) and Janet Smith Dickerson (student affairs, TCCS)
Students: Vaish Siddapureddy ’22 and Lyla Stettenheim ’22
Staff Performance Evaluations: The College seeks to be a leader in helping all employees to thrive. After campus consultations and feedback, the College is crafting a new and more practical system, focusing more intently on career development opportunities for employees and providing more check-ins between supervisors and employees throughout the year. Enhancing the process for recognizing and rewarding strong performance is another key aim. In collaboration with outside consultant Mercer, a working group is completing details and a timeline for rolling out this important initiative.
Inclusive Teaching: Over the summer, more than 40 faculty members submitted reflections on inclusive teaching to the Inclusive Excellence Committee, providing an important baseline of information as we work to make our classrooms places where everyone can flourish. In summarizing the findings, the committee found that “inclusive teaching at Pomona involves a high level of interpersonal connection with students” with the aim of “caring for the whole student.”
Faculty also pointed to work beyond the content of specific courses, such as revising curriculum or major requirements, advising student and alumni groups and mentoring underrepresented students. Faculty noted “the interconnected nature of research, advising, mentoring and service as being deeply interwoven with inclusive teaching and not as separate domains.”
The Inclusive Excellence Committee consists of faculty members Jose Cartagena (Romance languages and literatures) Jo Hardin (mathematics), Jane Liu (chemistry), Zayn Kassam (religious studies), April Mayes (history) and Sharon Stranford (biology) as well as staff members Travis Brown (Quantitative Skills Center), Hector Sambolin, Jr. (Academic Dean’s Office) and Dylan Worcester (Quantitative Skills Center).
The committee plans to hold a faculty forum in spring, and the group also will engage the appropriate faculty committees to discuss the report and next steps.
In the months ahead, we will continue to draw on the Climate Survey to carry out the tangible steps that are, over time, bringing to life Pomona's ambitious Strategic Vision. With our students’ return to campus this semester, the work of building our community’s shared future is in high gear, and we will provide additional updates as we move forward together.
With best wishes,