Lafayette strives to implement policies and practices that build and support inclusion within our student body, faculty and staff.

For some time, the Lafayette community has been engaged in ongoing conversations about how to be successful in building a positive climate for all members of the campus community. We have had some successes, and we have identified many areas where we have important work to do. A critical component of developing strategies to fully support diversity and inclusion is developing an objective understanding of the current campus climate. We conducted such a survey in 2010, and we plan to launch a campus climate survey in 2017.

In the meantime, here are some updates on our progress:

Inclusion in the Curriculum

There are learning outcomes for all Lafayette graduates, as well as courses in multiple disciplines, that address aspects of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. A few examples include. . .

  • Global and Multicultural learning outcomes – Understand the social significance of at least two dimensions of identity and/or difference (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion, etc.) that exist (or have historically existed) in hierarchical relation to each other. And understand the social significance of dimensions of identity and/or difference in a global context or through a process that brings people outside of their domestic context (e.g., regional/social movement, immigration, colonialism, forced migration, linguistic diversity, etc.).
  • General Skills learning outcomes — Construct and evaluate answers to questions of moral and political concern (e.g., questions of morally correct conduct, justice, and social policy) via rational deliberation and based on solid evidence.
  • Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Area studies programs (Africana Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Asian Studies)
  • Various courses in Religious Studies, Philosophy, English, Film and Media Studies, Government and Law, History, and other disciplines.

Strategic Hiring Initiative

  • As the College looks to grow the number of faculty by almost 20 percent, Provost Abu Rizvi and Dean of Faculty Robin Rinehart have announced a program of “strategic” or “opportunity” hiring. The goal is to add faculty positions that have an impact on the strategic goals of the College, including recruiting more women in STEM fields and more members of underrepresented populations to positions in all disciplines.
  • A task force has been meeting since spring 2016, and three faculty appointments are expected to be made this year as a result of the program. Read more here.

Student Support Task Force

  • The Task Force met regularly throughout the summer and fall of 2016, including a dinner with students representing Student Government and other groups, to solicit feedback on some key recommendations regarding advising and mentoring, programs that help students make the transition to college, and programming associated with the Connected Communities program.
  • The Task Force held a series of open meetings in spring 2016 to solicit input from students, in addition to conducting a survey and holding focus groups with student organizations. Topics of exploration include enhanced academic advising and mentoring, and help in making the adjustment to college.
  • President Byerly has appointed a Student Support Task Force consisting of faculty and staff to examine ways in which Lafayette can better support new students, especially first-generation students or those from traditionally marginalized backgrounds.

Support campus-wide events that encourage inclusivity and build community

Accomplishments to date:

  • Connected Communities Program was launched in 2015. New students are assigned to one of five Commons, or teams, for housing purposes and orientation, as well as academic and social activities. Commons serve as the foundation for students’ first-year community.
  • A variety of campus events, including convocation, first year orientation and the President’s picnic, have been reassessed and designed to be more inclusive and welcoming.

Make Lafayette a more welcoming environment for international students

Recommendations:

Desegregate the Campus Climate Survey responses from international students to better understand the concerns of that group

Accomplishments to date:

  • Shared the data and discussed with the Diversity Committee
  • In 2015, Office of Institutional Research desegregated the data and compared results of international students with domestic students

Increase support for LGBTQ students

Recommendations:

Provide additional resources and identify staffing needs required to build educational programming related to LGBTQ issues, including on-going Safe Zone training sessions, for the entire community

Accomplishments to date:

  • Launch of campaign in athletics partnering with NCAA You Can Play initiative
  • Assessment of the Safe Zone program indicates that both groups saw significant changes in their understanding of the issues pertaining to this population.
  • By end of spring 2015 term, 161 faculty and staff and 151  students had completed a three-hour Safe Zone training program. Programs are offered 4 times per semester.
  • Added new position in Campus Life Division for Gender and Sexuality Programs

Increase the knowledge base and skills that enable members of our campus to address issues of diversity and inclusiveness effectively

Recommendations:

  • Hold a student leadership retreat
  • Infuse diverse perspectives in the curriculum
  • Targeted activities for management and staff, including academic department heads

Accomplishments to date:

  • Fall 2016: Launched Strategic Hiring Initiative to focus on increasing faculty diversity
  • Nov. 2015: Workshop on bias for administrators and staff
  • Fall 2015: Instituted implicit bias training for all faculty search committees
  • Various programming has been accomplished (e.g. academic department heads learned about how to enhance the diversity of applicant pool for faculty searches)
  • Revised Common Course of Study includes Global and Multiculturalism (GM) requirements: completion of two courses that examine the structure of identity, diversity and differences in domestic and global contexts.
  • Lafayette received a grant from the Teagle Foundation to infuse diversity and inclusive pedagogies; more than 40 faculty participated and infused more than 30 courses. The College continues to sponsor this initiative, and will host a workshop on curricular diversity in January 2017.
  • Transitioned to Social Justice Retreat in 2013, 2014. Posse facilitated day long retreat for campus held in spring 2016, plan to repeat and expand.
  • Kaleidoscope and Student Coordinators of Peer Education (SCOPES) programs
  • Jan. 2012: Hosted the inaugural student retreat, called Finding We (240 participants).

Address perceived faculty service inequities

Recommendations:

Investigate and address perceived faculty service inequities, particularly as they relate to gender and ethnoracial identity

Accomplishments to date:

  • Dec. 2015: Governance Committee again issued a report that considered issues of gender and diversity broadly
  • Data shared with the Governance Committee of the faculty which issued a report
  • Office of Institutional Research entered and analyzed data on faculty service on elected committees, Provost-appointed committees, and College-wide committees

Review sexual assault/harassment policies and improve communication campus-wide

Recommendations:

VP for Campus Life and Senior Diversity Officer lead review of sexual assault/harassment policies to determine how they might be amended to better protect the victims and, ultimately, reduce sexual misconduct campus-wide

Accomplishments to date:

  • Revision to Sexual Harassment Policy approved by faculty and Board of
    Trustees in 2016
  • Gender Violence Prevention programming added to portfolio of Gender and
    Sexuality Programs in July 2016
  • Revisions to Sexual Assault policy approved by faculty and Board of Trustees
    in 2015
  • Full-time Title IX Coordinator added in July 2015
  • POCSASH worked on improving sexual harassment procedures in 2015-16
  • Mandatory training workshops for all faculty in 2014-15
  • Presidential Oversight Committee regarding sexual misconduct (POCSASH) reestablished in 2014

Change the name of the Faculty Dining Room

Recommendations:

Name change to something more inclusive and representative of the entire Lafayette community

Accomplishments to date:

Renovated and reopened fall 2015 as Clay Ketcham Room in honor of the first tenured female faculty member

Create gender-neutral bathrooms

Accomplishments to date:

  • Project is in final implementation stage
  • Gender inclusive restrooms are being incorporated in all new construction and renovation projects. New signage was ordered to identify current restrooms that are gender inclusive.