DEI Faculty Launch Community Outreach Initiatives

3 min read

Jack P. Carroll ’24

News Editor

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Faculty Fellows outlined plans to connect with staff, students, and faculty to compile information on “initiatives across campus that are focused on racial injustice and broader DEI issues” in an email addressed to members of the Trinity community on Thursday, Mar. 4. According to the email, the Fellows’ plans are a part of a broader effort to “communicate about the work that is being done and to foster connections” on initiatives related to these matters. 

Launched by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in fall 2020, the DEI Faculty Fellows program was created to “provide support to individual faculty, departments, and programs in their diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice efforts.” For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Fellows include the following faculty members: Professor of Political Science and Department Chair Stefanie Chambers; Eric Galm, Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department; Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Sarah Raskin; Associate Professor of Chinese and International Studies Yipeng Shen; and Head Swimming and Diving Coach and Assistant Professor of Physical Education Carlos Vega.

In an emailed response to the Tripod, the Fellows clarified that each of the appointed professors “serve as liaisons and help connect people to resources. If we are approached by students, faculty, and staff we will help direct them to available resources.” When asked about their past work on racial injustice and DEI issues, the Fellows highlighted their efforts to run an equity certificate program for Trinity faculty and staff, create a record of DEI groups, programs, and initiatives at Trinity, and to connect P.R.I.D.E. leaders and DEI Faculty Fellows. 

With regard to the certificate program, the Fellows stated that “In January, we offered a four-part virtual Equity Certificate Program facilitated by two nationally recognized DEI experts, Amy Bonomi at Michigan State University and Nelia Viveiros at the University of Colorado at Denver.” The Fellows noted that “approximately 200 faculty and staff participated in this training and received certificates upon completion. In feedback surveys, 90% of the participants recommended this program to their colleagues.”

The Fellows also indicated that they are currently soliciting information from faculty, departments/programs, students, and staff to fulfill their goal of creating a record of DEI groups at Trinity. Regarding their February meeting with student peer leaders in the Promoting Respect for Inclusion and Diversity in Education (P.R.I.D.E.) leadership program, the Fellows stated that the “goal of these ongoing meetings is to share information and find opportunities to collaborate across the two groups.” 

Furthermore, the Fellows noted that they have not been in direct contact with the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which was formed over the summer in response to student concerns about equity issues on campus. The Fellows added that they are “in constant communication with Dr. Anita Davis, Vice President for DEI, who serves as a Cabinet-level liaison to the committee.”

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