The steering group met with President Poskanzer on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, to formally launch the IDE Planning process. The effort will continue into fall 2021, so that Carleton’s new president will have a meaningful opportunity to put their own stamp on the final plan.

The group’s first order of business is to hire a consultant skilled at helping organizations achieve inclusion, diversity, and equity. We believe our learning, evaluations, deliberations, and eventual choices will benefit from a fresh, external assessment that comes from outside the college.

With the help of this consultant, we will develop and run an IDE Planning process that is transparent and inclusive. We will draw upon the experiences and perspectives of the entire Carleton community. This process will include opportunities to hear the voices of all our stakeholders: students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends of the college. Including these diverse voices will help ensure that the final plan will have greater impact and legitimacy.

We will provide opportunities for you to share your thoughts and ideas throughout the planning process. Stay tuned.


Updates from the Steering Group

  • May 24, 2021 Update

    Cambridge Hill Partners is nearing the end of their data analysis for the information shared via the questionnaire, focus groups, interviews, and from Carleton’s Institutional Research office.  They expressed gratitude for the openness and helpful attitude of everyone involved.  

    CHP conducted two meetings with members of the IDE Steering Committee and Senior Leadership (Tuesday Group) this past week to share preliminary themes and to identify gaps where additional data is needed.  Next steps will be finalizing the landscape analysis report and presenting their findings to faculty (June 3), staff (June 8), trustees (June 10) and alumni (June 17).  Based on the insights and suggestions from the findings along with discussion feedback from the various groups the steering committee will then begin to develop the draft plan over the coming summer.

  • April 21 Meeting Update

    The committee welcomed new member Jenny Lopez ’02, Co-chair of the Multicultural Alumni Network (MCAN) Board as a new member.  Discussion with CHP focused on collection of existing data that can be informative to assessing the current landscape. Of particular interest to CHP is longitudinal data that speaks to trends over time.  Campus participation in the input questionnaire from faculty and staff was encouraging but to date responses from students was low.  Social media efforts are being undertaken in an effort to boost student response to the questionnaire. 

  • April 14 Meeting Update

    The committee was joined by President Poskanzer for a productive discussion on what the “special focus on Black experiences” means for the planning process.  The committee is receiving input on a wide range of issues that need improving for Carleton to be a truly inclusive community.  President Poskanzer reminded the committee that a special focus on race must be at the center of the planning exercise referencing this language from the charge:

    In this plan, Carleton must examine all of our policies, processes, cultural norms, and personal and institutional assumptions. We must ask whether they are rooted in racism, either consciously or inadvertently. And where needed we must change them in order to heal, strengthen, and even re-envision a fully inclusive community.

    Following this discussion, the committee furthered our commitment to prioritizing race and racism – at all levels ranging from interpersonal to structural – as one of the most pressing areas for change. The IDE Steering Committee was born out of the heightened focus on race both in the national conversation and in the conversation at Carleton. Our committee’s special focus on race does not preclude us from addressing other areas of inequity that people have brought to our attention: the 10-year strategic plan is a starting point for addressing issues of IDE in our community, and this work is ongoing. As such, we will still be addressing other aspects of identity in our plan, but race will remain the primary focus.

  • April 1 Meeting Update

    The IDE Steering Committee met with our consulting partners from Cambridge Hill Partners (CHP) on April 1.  CHP provided an update on the data gathering currently underway via the 29 focus groups, small group interviews with key campus stakeholders, questionnaires distributed to faculty, staff and alumni, and existing data sets tracked and maintained by Institutional Research.  The objective of this phase is to obtain a clear picture of the current landscape for strengths and weaknesses of campus climate with regards to inclusion, diversity, and equity. This assessment and report will be completed by CHP by the end of May.


    Discussion then turned to the timeline.  Over the summer the committee, in concert with CHP, will work to develop a compelling vision for desired outcomes over the next ten years based on the landscape assessment.  The work will focus on “what” should be accomplished with the “how” to follow.  It is anticipated that small groups will be assembled to bring additional voices and expertise into the discussion on formulating the steps to accomplishing the goals of the plan.  Additionally, measurement criteria will be developed before the plan is completed.


    Finally, the committee began a discussion on how to address the charge given to the committee for a “special focus on Black experiences”.  A follow-up meeting  is scheduled to continue this discussion. 

  • Provide Input to the Committee: Link to IDE Questionnaire

    Since it is not feasible for everyone to be in a focus group, and some may not feel comfortable speaking in such a group, we are offering an online option for providing input to the committee. We recognize that this is a time commitment, and for some this may also be a source of emotional stress, but the goal is to create as full and accurate a picture as we can of how various community members experience or have experienced Carleton.

    We invite you to fill out the linked questionnaire to tell the committee more about your experience of Carleton’s campus and your priorities for an IDE strategic plan. Any information or responses you provide will be confidential and the data gathered will only be used in the aggregate by the IDE Steering Committee and our consultants with Cambridge Hill Partners.

  • March 15 Letter to Students

    Hello Carls,

    A few weeks ago Carleton’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) Strategic Plan Steering Group reported to you that we would begin our data gathering in the near future; that future has arrived! Here’s what you should know:

    • On March 1st all Carleton alumni and staff received a questionnaire regarding priorities for the college as it moves forward with its work on inclusion and equity.  At this point we have received over 1000 responses, with many more expected. Students and faculty will receive the same questionnaire at the start of spring term.
    • Focus groups of alums and staff have begun to be formed and interviewed by our consultants, Cambridge Hill Partners. Student and faculty focus groups will be interviewed in the first weeks of spring term.
    • In addition to the survey and focus groups, the committee will use data from many other sources. Carleton’s Office of Institutional Research is working with CHP to analyze other climate surveys, reports, and data that the college has collected that are relevant to inclusion, diversity, and equity.
    • The current ongoing antiracism training for faculty and staff, while not part of the IDE Strategic Plan’s charge, is also generating feedback and suggestions that are being shared with the Steering Group.
    • We estimate that our data gathering and analysis will be complete by the end of May with the expectation that this will allow us to begin formulating specific recommendations and action items in a draft strategic plan that will then be shared with campus in October. We are aiming to produce a plan with specific and measurable outcomes that will let us monitor how the college is  progressing in the critical areas of inclusion and equity.

    The IDE Plan Steering Committee is committed to a transparent process. We look forward to having robust student input with the start of spring term, and we invite you to visit our website for continued updates on the progress of our work.

    On behalf of the IDE Plan Steering Group,

    Chico Zimmerman, faculty co-chair

    Jeninne McGee ‘85, Trustee co-chair

    Maya Rogers ‘22, student representative

  • March 11 Update

    The IDE Strategic Plan Steering Group met to discuss data gathering and coordination with the campus anti-racism training.  Consultants from Cambridge Hill Partners (CHP) provided an update on their discussions with Institutional Research at Carleton focusing on climate surveys, retention and graduation rates, and other research that focuses on the scope of the IDE Plan.  CHP estimates this analysis will be completed by mid-April.  Additionally, the focus groups led by CHP consultants kicked off with two sessions on Wednesday, March 10. One session was devoted to alumni volunteer leaders and the other was devoted to exempt staff.  A total of 29 focus groups are scheduled which will include alumni, students, faculty, staff and parents.  Some of the sessions will be targeted to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, and other subgroups within the Carleton community. The Focus Group sessions run through the end of April.  CHP estimates the summary from the focus group part of the data gathering will be completed by the end of May.  Meanwhile over 1000 community members have provided input through the questionnaire.  

    Dr. Bryana French and Dr. Stephen Brookfield, who serve as the trainers for the anti-racism initiative, joined the IDE Steering Group and CHP consultants.  While the two projects are different – one focused on providing hands-on training for faculty, staff and volunteer leaders and the other to develop a long-term plan for broad based inclusion – the two are interrelated.  Dr. French and Dr. Brookfield provided a summary of the training program and perhaps more importantly the feedback and concerns raised by participants. 

  • March 1 Update

    Today all alumni with an active email address on record were invited to provide their input to the steering group via a web-based questionnaire.  Information provided through this effort will be used in the aggregate to inform the steering group of the lived student experience of our alumni during their years at Carleton. The campus community (students, faculty and staff) will receive a similar questionnaire inviting input for the steering group along with an opportunity to rank the priorities for focus in the IDE Plan.

    In March and April, approximately 30 focus groups will be conducted by our consulting partner Cambridge Hill Partners. The focus groups will include our key constituencies (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) and include some special areas of focus (race, gender, income level and ability).

  • February 2021 Letter to the Carleton Community

    Carleton’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) Strategic Plan Steering Committee has been meeting since Mid-November. Its charge is to develop an institutional strategic plan for inclusion, diversity, and equity that will guide the college’s efforts in the coming decade

    What we are

    Our committee is charged with engaging the Carleton community in an IDE strategic planning process that will result in  a clear vision of where the college needs to go over the course of the next decade and what will be required to get there. In developing this vision, we also need a clear assessment of our current efforts. As such, our mission is to understand what is and is not working for our various stakeholders and, using extensive input from stakeholder groups, shape recommendations for actions and policies that will allow the college to become a place that embodies the ideals of our Statement on Diversity for everyone who joins our community. 

    This also includes looking back at where the college has been and acknowledging past shortcomings and harms. You can see a full list of the objectives and the outline for the execution of our planning process on the committee’s website.

    Anti-Racism Training 

    The current anti-racism training  is not part of our charge. The training efforts for faculty and staff, reading and discussion groups, initiatives by various campus organizations and offices are valuable and critical parts of the IDE landscape at Carleton. We appreciate and acknowledge this ongoing work and our intention is to make sure that our efforts align with them. 

    What we have been doing

    To prepare for this task and to develop a better shared understanding of what the terms inclusion, diversity, and equity mean for our campus, the committee has been reading and reviewing a number of articles and reports. We have also been speaking, and will continue to speak, with leaders on other campuses that have recently engaged in similar planning efforts. On our website you can see who the committee has spoken with so far, as well as the material we have been reading that will help inform our deliberations and recommendations. The committee has also undertaken the work of identifying and selecting a consulting firm to assist us in our project.

    Our partnership

    With the help of the firm Cambridge Hill Partners, we are now turning our efforts toward listening and information-gathering on Carleton’s campus. We recognize that there are many voices we need to hear. We would like to provide the opportunity for all to share their thoughts, experiences, hopes, and concerns with us, as we think about how Carleton needs to shape its practices in the area of IDE over the next ten years. We are, therefore, asking for your help and input.

    Community input

    In the coming weeks, people in each constituent group will be invited to participate in a focus group. Cambridge Hill Partners will conduct listening sessions for all of the many stakeholders of the college: students, faculty, staff, alums, parents, and trustees. 

    Since it is not feasible for everyone to be in a focus group, and some may not feel comfortable speaking in such a group, we will also offer an online option for providing input to the committee. We recognize that this is a time commitment, and for some this may also be a source of emotional stress, but the goal is to create as full and accurate a picture as we can of how various community members experience or have experienced Carleton.

    So please participate in whatever way you feel able. The IDE Steering Committee website will post periodic updates, and you are always welcome to contact any of the members of the Steering Committee, who are listed below.

    • Trustee Jeninne McGee ’85 – Co-Chair
    • Professor Chico Zimmerman (Classics) – Co-Chair
    • Vice President for External Relations Tommy Bonner
    • Multicultural Alumni Network Chair Jessica Brooks ’09
    • Administrative Assistant for the Arts Sally Bell Pierce (SAC)
    • Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Art Rodriguez ’96
    • Student Maya Rogers ’22
    • Associate Professor Cherlon Ussery (Linguistics)
    • Trustee Alison von Klemperer ’82 P’16
    • Director of TRIO/SSS Trey Williams (Forum)
  • Further Conversations

    In addition to choosing a consulting group to help guide the planning process, the IDE Steering Committee has held information-gathering conversations with others in higher education who have facilitated similar processes.

    Those who have shared their expertise and experiences include:

    • Lisa Scott, Luther College
    • Anita Davis, Trinity College
    • Cheryl Chatman, Concordia University
    • Crystal Williams, Boston University
    • Jennifer Ward, Luther College
    • Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, Kalamazoo College
    • Tanya Odom, global consultant, writer, coach, and Diversity and Inclusion, equity, and civil rights thought leader
  • January 27 Meeting Update

    The IDE Steering Committee held an inaugural kick-off meeting with consultants from Cambridge Hill Partners. Participating from Cambridge Hill were consultants Debra DeMeis, Mary Grace Duffy, Wilbur Herrington and Ed Hudner. Discussion focused on the timeline for the project, desired outcome from the planning process, methods to seek input on the experiences of our major stakeholders relating to diversity and inclusion.

    Work over the coming weeks will focus on the development of a web-based survey and input form to solicit input from all stakeholder groups. This will likely be followed by focus groups and town hall meetings in March and April for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents.

  • IDE Planning Consultant Retained

    IDE Steering Committee co-chairs Jeninne McGee and Chico Zimmerman are pleased to share that the consulting firm of Cambridge Hill Partners (CHP) has been selected to partner with members of the steering committee on the development of the ten-year plan. Co-chair Zimmerman noted that Cambridge Hill has extensive experience and knowledge gleamed from their work with other forward looking and highly selective colleges including Brown, Smith, and Trinity to name just a few. Over the next twelve months, CHP will help the steering committee develop a strategic plan to guide the College in matters of inclusion, diversity, and equity.

    Mary Grace Duffy, a CHP partner, explained their role as guiding clients through the process of creating a DEI strategic plan while simultaneously building critical capacity and infrastructure required for sustainability and success.  Mary Grace added, “We look forward to partnering with Carleton to provide a high level of support for the IDE Steering Committee in developing a compelling and feasible IDE strategic plan.”

  • RFP Released for Planning Consultant

    The month of November was spent drafting and finalizing a request for proposal (RFP) to engage a consultant to work alongside the committee on the planning process. The RFP outlines the scope of engagement for the consultant as well as the committee’s expectations of the consultant’s deliverables. During the drafting process a list of potential consultants was developed from a national pool of individuals and firms with expertise in higher education diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

    The RFP’s were sent on December 1, with an expectation that interviews of the finalists and the selection of the consultant or firm will be completed by December 31, 2020. This will allow the Steering Committee and consultant to begin the engagement as Winter Term 2021 begins on campus.

  • First Meeting

    The IDE Plan Steering Group had its first meeting on Thursday, November 5th. Discussion centered on the immediate task of identifying and vetting potential consultants to help the committee design its study, develop goals, and engage in research and outreach for the overall planning process.

    The general timeline is approximately one year, with the bulk of the information gathering and community input coming during Winter and Spring term, followed by time and opportunity for a new president and members of the community to provide additional input on the emerging elements of the plan.

    A smaller working group was tasked with the initial information gathering on potential consultants at the end of the meeting.