February 2021 Letter to the Carleton Community

11 February 2021

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)