College Goal: Instilling commitment to our inclusivity and equity statement
Hello Albright colleagues!
Since my arrival, one of Albright’s institutional priorities has been a thriving, equitable, and fully participating community. We have made some slow progress towards this outcome. Last February, we achieved a significant milestone: both the faculty and board of trustees endorsed our inclusivity and equity statement! Please follow this link to read the statement in full.
It is now time to do the hard work of putting this statement into action! This is work for our learning community that will be ongoing for years. It is challenging work, and we have much to learn, and we will not always get the work right. But, we must continue to engage and dialog with each other, and continue to evolve towards the ideal of an equitable and fully participating Albright community.
For our work this year, the Cabinet and I set one of the College’s Annual Goals for AY20-21, as follows: “Instill an active commitment to Albright’s Inclusivity and Equity Statement into Albright’s broader community.” I write today to share an update on the four aspects of this work that we will tackle, and I include opportunities for you to be an active participant in accomplishing this college goal. Additionally, I encourage each of you to include in your own annual review this year one professional goal that aligns with the larger college goal.
Ongoing learning and dialog. CITE-C will continue and expand their current work, which includes supporting reading groups for faculty, staff and alumni, and community conversations that include CITE-C socials and discussion forums. In addition, CITE-C is supporting training programs, including the LGBTQ bias trainings and Whites Confronting Racism workshop (please see yesterday’s email from Professor Beth Kiester on this workshop). Reading groups are currently discussing “How to be an Anti-racist” by Ibram Kendi, and Chaplain Ibi Bangura and CITE-C are continuing to lead community discussions each month on various topics concerning racial bias and racism on our campus and in the world around us. Please look for emails from co-chair Beth Kiester and faculty-elected representative Kami Fletcher on the many CITE-C-sponsored opportunities available. CITE-C will also be highlighting and celebrating many of our curricular changes focused on diversifying our course offerings that seek to embrace inclusivity and equity in the classroom.
On-campus Equity and Diversity Training. Albright-specific training will be offered through Albright Excellence, HR’s new training program. The programs, which are currently being developed by expert consultants, will include, but are not limited to, bias/unconscious bias/implicit bias/micro-aggression training; how hiring, evaluations and promotions are impacted by biases and biased practices; and more. Be aware of announcements from Human Resources and Albright Excellence, once these training opportunities are developed and scheduled.
Administrative work on policies and procedures. Now that we have an inclusivity and equity statement, it is essential that we examine policies, procedures, practices and outcomes to ensure they align with this statement. This year, each Cabinet member will lead the examination of policies, procedures, practices and outcomes, so that our policies and procedures achieve alignment with the equity and inclusivity statement. Specific policies to be tackled will be clearly defined in each Cabinet member’s second quarter goals. Cabinet members will dialog with Faculty and Staff of African Descent to help identify policies and procedures that most need to be addressed. Input from this group on needed modifications will be gathered, as well. If there is a particular policy that you believe should be addressed to come into alignment with these institutional priorities, please reach out to your supervisor, CITE-C, or myself.
Knowing and learning from our history and our current practice. Albright has a history of racial injustice, racial bias, and racist incidents, which continues to this day. It is important that we know this history and current practice, and use that information as a foundation for dismantling institutional racism at Albright. I have, thus, initiated the work of a task force that will look at our history as well as current barriers and activities, and evaluate their effectiveness. I am pleased and honored that Professor Brenda Ingram-Wallace has agreed to co-chair this task force with me. Through a survey to Chaplain Bangura’s forum participants and with input from both Albright’s Society for Black Alumni (SOBA) and Albright’s Faculty and Staff of African Descent, we have developed a charge for this task force. Scheduling for an initial planning meeting of those who have expressed interest in participating is in the works. If you are interested in being part of this work, please let me know.
These focuses for the coming year will enable us to take concrete steps in implementing our inclusivity and equity statement and, perhaps, to truly begin to dismantle Albright’s institutional racism. My thanks to each of you for your commitment to making Albright College a more inclusive, equitable, and fully participating community!
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry