Pomona College Launches New Institute Promoting Inclusion in the Classroom

algebra classroom from behind

Pomona College is launching a new institute devoted to greater inclusion in the classroom and throughout the campus experience.

Opening today, the Institute for Inclusive Excellence will serve as the hub for existing campus programs that foster inclusive environments, develop new, complementary programming supporting these efforts, and provide program assessment and outcomes reporting.

The institute will help Pomona continue to develop a campus community in which everyone knows they belong and are valued, while supporting the resources and relationships they need to fulfill their potential as scholars and leaders.

The new institute will help Pomona put into practice key aspects of its Strategic Vision.

“Our aim is to make Pomona a place where all students have the opportunity to flourish—academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually,” says Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr. “Starting in the academic realm, the institute will support our mission to lead the way in inclusive practices that benefit all students.”

The institute will include programming (such as workshops, reading groups and faculty learning), support for implementation of high-impact learning practices, collection and sharing of both online and physical instructional resources related to inclusive teaching and mentoring, and creation of a database of expertise and initiatives fostering environments of inclusion.

Travis Brown, director of the new institute, says it will initially focus on faculty and staff professional development in inclusive teaching and mentorship. “The academic experience is central to students’ overall experience of the campus,” says Brown. “And assisting faculty with effectively creating inclusive classrooms will create a sense of belonging – and support academic achievement as well.”

As part of its initial work, the institute will administer a New Faculty Cohort Program designed to build community and foster inclusive pedagogy for our new professors.

Next steps, Brown says, will be to engage more broadly with students and the Student Affairs division to think creatively about strengthening community and fostering a lasting sense of identity with the College.

The institute came about through the work of a group of faculty members interested in fostering inclusive practices in the classroom, supported in part by a learning grant of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence initiative.

“Over time, we will build up the infrastructure and support for engaging our always-changing community, fostering full inclusion and helping everyone reach their full potential as scholars,” says Jane Liu, an associate professor of chemistry who led the working group that prepared the groundwork for the launch of the institute.

About Pomona College

One of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation, Pomona College is a close-knit and creative community of accomplished scholars and artists, scientists and entrepreneurs. The College holds a unique role in upholding opportunity in American higher education, offering need-blind admission for all domestic students and meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all students who enroll. Located about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, Pomona is the founding member of The Claremont Colleges, a consortium of seven independent institutions on adjoining campuses.