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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Columbia College Chicago
on Oct 27, 2014

CONVERSATION CLOSED

All of us in the academy and in the culture as a whole are called to renew our minds if we are to transform educational institutions--and society--so that the way we live, teach, and work can reflect our joy in cultural diversity, our passion for justice, and our love of freedom.” bell hooks (U.S. educator and writer, 1952- )

The Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee invites you to consider how to integrate the voice of “those who have been marginalized, neglected, or silenced” (“Redefining our Greatness,” Kwang-Wu Kim) into the educational, social, fiscal, and administrative fabric and processes of CCC.

A Subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee developed the ten questions that will be posed one at a time in this discussion forum from Oct. 30 to Dec. 8. You can see the members of this Subcommittee listed as moderators for this discussion. They will each periodically assume this role. 

The moderator’s role is to facilitate the discussion by adding relevant information (e.g. data, connections to resources, clarifications), providing some additional deep-dive questions to spur more discussion, and assuring a conversational environment that is consistent with the principles of the Civic Commons platform. 

The moderator is not responsible for summarizing anyone’s comments or making any decisions based on the comments provided. All comments will be collected, aggregated and incorporated into the final strategic plan. 

Moderators (4)

Participants (81) See All

What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2017-07-23T20:53:03+00:00
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Recent Activity

Ramona Gupta
on Dec 09, 2014
"Sorry for the typos. This site is not phone friendly at all! "
Sage Morgan-Hubbard
on Dec 08, 2014
"I know that it is the last day and I am sorry for writing so late. I agree with Fo that I have..."
"We are working hard in this period of change to bring a unified Color Scheme to Columbia. A large..."
Paige Cunningham
on Dec 08, 2014
"This post may be better suited under aligning resources but I also think it could pertain to..."
Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 08, 2014
"This and all the other strategic plan conversations will close tonight at 11:59pm. Conversations..."
Jan Chindlund
on Dec 08, 2014
"We'd love for that lab space (interdisciplinary hub, maker lab, makerspace, whatever it may be..."
Dawn Renee  Jones
on Dec 08, 2014
"Creating and sustaining a professional and academic environment that is inspired by cultural..."
Jane Bishop Lillegard
on Dec 08, 2014
"My apologies, for the numerous typos, due to typing on a small iPhone screen."
Jane Bishop Lillegard
on Dec 08, 2014
"Diversity and inclusion are important in all arenas, in life.  Keeping in mind we would not want..."
Sheila Baldwin
on Dec 08, 2014
"Columbia offers cutting edge programs.  We should offer studies in Hip-Hop culture as well as..."
Sheila Baldwin
on Dec 08, 2014
"A CDO would be great, but would definitely need the support of the administration behind them. I..."
Ramona Gupta
on Dec 07, 2014
"I am increasingly wary of a "conversation" about "diversity" and "inclusion" that does not..."
Ramona Gupta
on Dec 07, 2014
"I'm not invested in the idea of a chief diversity officer, but a starting point could be a..."
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Dec 07, 2014
"We have many international faculty who are clearly bringing a different experience.  Let's not..."
Patricia McNair
on Dec 07, 2014
"Thanks, Norman, for this. When I came to Columbia for the first time in the 80s as a student, I..."
Kate Schaefer
on Dec 05, 2014
"I would like to see a lab space where students can work independently and collaboratively without..."
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014
"As we think about what college-wide core courses are required of all students, I think Kevin..."
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014
"I'm so sorry to be reading this many weeks after you posted, Shanique, but what would it take for..."
Bill Guschwan
on Dec 05, 2014
"And a practical way to teach this is mindfulness or awareness. I teach a book called Conscious..."
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Dec 05, 2014
"Peter - maybe we should do this with all faculty."
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Dec 05, 2014
"I'm sharing this here since I don't know if it has been shared but there's a lot of research on..."
Soo La Kim
on Dec 05, 2014
"I'm also wary of a CDO position and whether one office or position can make a difference before..."
Randall  Albers
on Dec 04, 2014
"If people feel that a diversity officer will help ensure attention and accountability, that's..."
Patricia Olalde
on Dec 04, 2014
"Thanks for the clarification Onye and Jeff.  I still think that we could benefit from a Chief..."
Carol Lloyd Rozansky
on Dec 04, 2014
"(Sorry for the length.) As I reflect on the ideas shared at the Diversity and Inclusion Forum the..."
Jeff Schiff
on Dec 04, 2014
"Welcome to the Diversity and Inclusion conversation. Our final question ("last licks," as we said..."
Ann Hetzel Gunkel
on Dec 04, 2014
"I concur with Louis' observations. It seems critical that we remain commited to a diverse..."
Onye Ozuzu
on Dec 04, 2014
"In our conversation so far some have suggested the the community consider the potential of a..."
Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 03, 2014
"A robust and sustainable diversity and inclusion strategy cannot exist in any institution without..."
Fo Wilson
on Dec 02, 2014
"Onye, a wonderful question! And lovely to imagine in the abstract. i'd like to hear what the..."
Sage Morgan-Hubbard
on Dec 08, 2014 - 11:56 pm

I know that it is the last day and I am sorry for writing so late. I agree with Fo that I have had diversity fatigue and particularly in light of the recent weeks' news and state of the world, it has been hard to "represent" and discuss these issues in a public forum. I was anxious and wary if my voice would be heard. While I am not doubting my own internalized insecurities and fears, I believe that many of my fellow staff members have also echoed similar things and have not felt like they had the time or space to really post or attend these forums and wished that it was more formally permitted as part of their job. I appreciate this space and effort in inclusivity however I know many are still unsure about the state of their own jobs and have difficulty being creative and forthcoming in a climate of fear. 

All of that being said I think it is important to state that many faculty and staff of color that I known across the campus have left this college over the last few years and have not been replaced by people of color (nor have many of their specialized classes been taught again). Thus those remaining have an additional "burden of representation" and are often reluctant to speak up. I think it is telling today that the news article on the front page of the Chronicle today features Dr. Raquel Monroe speaking at our final roundtable about issues of diversity and inclusion and yet the caption labels her as "Raina Terry" a black female student who also happens to work with us at the Dance Center but is very distinctly different from Raquel. We laughed because this happens so often but is a part of the problem. Many of us are mistaken for each other too often and there aren't even that many of us here. I believe it is difficult to "dream big" when you feel like nothing is going to change and don't fully feel empowered and listened to. I wanted to put that out there because I believe certain peoples' silences speak volumes as well. 

What I have been wanting to say but having difficulty properly articulating is that I don't believe that we should only live in the personal narratives however it is important to state them and particularly with these issues, people need to share their stories. I want to say that I had an institutional crush on Columbia long before I came to Columbia because of the diversity and the progaming that was highly visible from my outsider prospective in CCAP, Critical Encounters, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, DEPS galleries, The Ellen Stone Center, The Center for Black Music Research and the Dance Center. These were the spaces that brought me in as a graduate student from Northwestern, these were the interdisciplinary initatives that were doing some of the most groundbreaking collaborations, performances and conferences that I had seen in the City of Chicago. Columbia was by far the funkiest and most diverse campus I had been to in Chicago and I was amazed by Manifest and the saw it as more progressive than the majority white ivy-league campuses I was used to and trained in. I heard the numbers of diverse students and was hooked-- I wanted to teach and work there. Since I have been here however I realize that most of the students that I met here, particularly the working class students of color have attended, racked up piles of debt and left. I don't see the retention levels or reflection of faculty and staff of color in the same way I see the students. I see most of the interdisciplinary centers and programs disappearing and I think diversity and interdiscplinary engagement needs to be a PRIORITY with RESOURCES in order to keep the great reputation that Columbia has rightly earned over the years as being an inclusive school.

I love the "LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE" slogans however I want to see "LEARN WHO YOU ARE, LOVE WHO YOU ARE, LEARN WHAT YOU LOVE, LIVE WHAT YOU LEARN, etc." I think by learning more about our histories and selves especially by people who look like us and understand our lived experiences, we can create an even more dynamic and distinctive educational environment at Columbia.

Some dream suggestions:

  • Have more One Tribe scholars/ People of Color peer mentorship program where there are many upperclass students who mentor younger students in everyday life issues and the "isms"
  • Have more staff and part time faculy be advisors to students and mentors who can help with more life skills advice that is proven to help with student retention and sense of community-- tap into our human resources which is our greatest strength of all
  • Have a Hip Hop studies major and minor that reflects many of our student's interests and background and would help us stand out as a college (and cultuvate these unique majors even more as a strength of Columbia as not like most other schools) 
  • Have more interdisciplinary learning hubs with funding
  • Create post-doc/ recent MFAs rotating visiting faculty diversity positions (such the 2-year diversity title in theater at DePaul which took away our only Latina in theater for instance because she was able to focus on teaching courses to her specialty there and not at Columbia despite having more students of color here)
  • Hire more financial aid officers and have them work closely with all students, international, undocumented, etc. 
  • Have women's history/focused programing
  • Have programing for Multiracial and Native American students at Multicultural affairs (more staff members for that office and work-study student workers)
  • Have Group Independent Study classes that students can organize their own courses with a faculty advisor 
  • Convert one of the floors of the Johnson building to accomidate additional diverse programing with a flexible theater,  hangout space and work space for counselors (peer and staff)
  • Have a micro grant/ funding program for student research within diverse research fields (Gender Studies, Black World Studies, etc.) to further support their work
  • Have student grants for their work with CCAP/ Student engagement programing
  • Have a Mellon Mays or McNair program on campus for underrepresented students to encourage them to get graduate/terminal degrees
  • Have summer programing that focuses on studies of inclusion and students are eligable for financial aid to attend
  • Have an all school orientation that focuses on inclusion in someway such as "Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack" article and small breakout discussion groups: https://www.isr.umich.edu/home/diversity/resources/white-privilege.pdf (this is just an example of an accessible and short text but many are available)
  • Have whole campus student trainings by Dr. Jamie Washington (http://washingtonconsultinggroup.net/jamie-washington/ or http://sjti.org/bios_a.html) who is a more interactive and engaging presentor than the People's Institute and more affordable but still frames anti-racism in a historical context.
  • Have The People's Institute trainings for faculty and staff
  • Have a diversity course requirement that all students have to take (many courses could qualify for it but it makes sure that all students leave Columbia knowing more about the "isms")
  • Have gender nuetral bathrooms in each building and required gender pronoun check in within each introduction to classes at the beginning of the semester
  • Have early childhood education set up a sliding scale childcare facility for students, faculty and staff
  • Have pumping stations for breastfeeding parents in each building
  • Have intensive J-term and alternative spring breaks trips coordinated with CCAP and others around issues of diversity that students could apply for financial aid for
  • instead of paying for a chief diversity officier, invest those resources into multiple people across the campus--peer-counselors, trainings and oreintation programs that help support the diversity that already exists and retain it 
 

Responses(1)

Ramona Gupta
on Dec 09, 2014

Sorry for the typos. This site is not phone friendly at all! 

 
Expand This Thread
Student Athletic Association
on Dec 08, 2014 - 8:50 pm

We are working hard in this period of change to bring a unified Color Scheme to Columbia. A large part of the lack of inclusion at Columbia is the sense of community within the school. If the branding office moves forward with our colors, students, faculty, and alumni will be able to strengthen their connection to each other and to the school. More importantly, it would establish a greater overall community in the South Loop, where we call home. It's important for us to highlight the fact that in a school of incredibly unique individuals, what we have in common is our uniquness as a school. We're out there, we're promoting change with our art, and we love what we do! Let's embrace that together!

 
Paige Cunningham
on Dec 08, 2014 - 8:20 pm

This post may be better suited under aligning resources but I also think it could pertain to ideas around inclusivity - I think as a community we could be more friendly towards working parents and students who are parents. For example, part-time faculty or students who are nursing mothers and perhaps pumping for their newborn child. Where can they go on campus to obtain privacy for this? From what i have seen there are no electrical outlets in the bathroom stalls which leaves very little room to go anywhere else. Any option of affordable on campus daycare would be better than what we have now, as childcare affects a student and/or faculty's ability to get thier work done, attend after school activities, etc.

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 08, 2014 - 7:53 pm

This and all the other strategic plan conversations will close tonight at 11:59pm. Conversations and the comments made within them can still be viewed after this time, but any comments made after 11:59pm will not be included in the final report. Thank you for all your great participation!

 
Dawn Renee  Jones
on Dec 08, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Creating and sustaining a professional and academic environment that is inspired by cultural diversity and committed to cultural inclusion is an arduous endeavor requiring systemic change. If successful Columbia College has the potential to not only enrich the lives of our students, faculty, staff and artists but also to profoundly affect the American landscape for years to come.  I therefore encourage the college to engage outside professionals to do an objective assessment of where we are, the consequences of our current position, and the short- and long term opportunities worthy of pursuit. I would also suggest looking at other institutions that have successfully navigated this terrain, such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, whose amazing work in this area, a multi-year process, literally transformed every aspect of the way in which the institution does business, from the box office staff to the board of directors and including the local community. (The OSF Board Chair met with the local Chief of Police to request that they stop profiling the theater's black and Hispanic male actors. It worked.)

 
Jane Bishop Lillegard
on Dec 08, 2014 - 1:08 pm

Diversity and inclusion are important in all arenas, in life.  Keeping in mind we would not want to be the one that is kept out.   We are all in different levels on our career path, including our creativity that is ever changing and developin.  Therefore, an open enrollment policy with basic skills (reading, etc.,) should be considere, along with achievable goal marks along the way to maintain inclusio.  Obviously, just touching on the basic cornerstone of this topic.  Many accomplished people have struggled academically.  Thank you, for this forum to share our thoughts.

 

Responses(1)

Jane Bishop Lillegard
on Dec 08, 2014

My apologies, for the numerous typos, due to typing on a small iPhone screen.

 
Expand This Thread
Ramona Gupta
on Dec 07, 2014 - 9:13 pm

I am increasingly wary of a "conversation" about "diversity" and "inclusion" that does not address equity and that does not even create equitable opportunities for participation.

I have tried at every roundtable forum to ask the moderators to center student voices, which includes giving the mic to students first, encouraging students to speak, and not allowing faculty and staff to speak over students.

I have tried to demystify the strategic planning process for any student who will listen.

What I have seen is an administration and a process that has largely excluded the voices of students and the extremely dedicated and busy employees who likely have the most (and the most insightful things) to say, by doing the following:

  • Failing to sufficiently and clearly promote the ways students can participate in the process;
  • Scheduling most roundtables at times when a large number of students are in class;
  • Rushing the process;
  • Not providing the busiest employees time away from regular duties to participate (there is a reason I am finally posting on the Sunday night before these forums close);
  • Allowing faculty and staff to take up more space than necessary at the roundtables;
  • Not thinking about other ways to engage students in ways that are accessible to them. (For example, several students have expressed being too nervous to coherently share their thoughts at the roundtables. Many have also complained about the design of the Civic Commons not being user-friendly.)

Scheduling the D&I Roundtable the day after Thanksgiving break, on a busy Monday, and as the last forum, demonstrates the lack of priority for it. The pervasive sentiment I felt at that forum was fatigue--fatigue on the part of participants who have been at every forum and are tired that they have to keep repeating themselves, fatigue on the part of participants who feel they must cry out to be heard by a college that otherwise ignores them, fatigue on the part of people who are losing faith in this process and whether it will lead anywhere good.

I have participated in many strategic planning processes, all for much smaller organizations. All have been plagued by one or more of these problems. What I would like Columbia to figure out is how to do this better. If we are to have any faith in Dr. Kim's words that "Columbia can be the institution that finally gets diversity right," we need to start with the very process that is supposed to get us there.

 
Kate Schaefer
on Dec 05, 2014 - 7:15 pm

I would like to see a lab space where students can work independently and collaboratively without feeling like there will be repercussions on their grade....a space to freely explore, fail, and continue testing new methods in hopes of discovering something truly new and innovative.

 

Responses(1)

Jan Chindlund
on Dec 08, 2014

We'd love for that lab space (interdisciplinary hub, maker lab, makerspace, whatever it may be called) to be in the library. We invite all to come and enjoy the resources here for coursework, scholarly or creative projects, discovery, inspiration. We hear from students the need for more collaborative spaces where one can experiment with technology "outside" their major. We hear that many spaces are restricted to "majors only" due to space and resource constraints. We are a place for all; we want to be a space with even more opportunities to use resources sometimes restricted to "majors only".

 
Expand This Thread
Patricia Olalde
on Dec 04, 2014 - 6:07 pm

Thanks for the clarification Onye and Jeff.  I still think that we could benefit from a Chief Diversity Officer but it isn't about creating a single position that is responsible for the institution's diversity efforts.  This strategic goal requires everyone's participation and commitment to accountability.  Other institutions have not only a Chief Diversity Officer but also a diversity council, for example, to support the CDO and advise the President regarding diversity challenges, accomplishments, and policy recommendations.  The CDO would be responsible for leading this strategic goal via collaboration with the community, creating regular forums where we can discuss issues and recommend solutions, implement educational opportunities, and provide the community with regular updates.  I think we have departments that have made diversity a priority, i.e. Multicultural Affairs engages students by organizing different activities, but we need a position and larger scale effort dedicated to this initiative to coordinate existing efforts and implement new ones.  Most of all I think we need a CDO to keep it a top priority at all times to ensure the successful implementation of this goal.

 

Responses(2)

Patricia McNair
on Dec 07, 2014

Thanks, Norman, for this. When I came to Columbia for the first time in the 80s as a student, I was what we called "nontraditional." That I was not the only nontraditional (at least two GED students with few college options, an African-American mother in her 40s, a doctor who was a Vietnam vet, a few folks like me, 20s, looking for a place that made sense to our art) was what mattered to me. We had diverse backgrounds, diverse stories, diverse areas of interest. Most of us worked, full or part -time, most of us paid our own way or perhaps had some funding. Many people did not graduate in 6 years, some never graduated at all. But we learned. We participated, we wrote (it was a writing class), we read, we talked. I know it was the open admissions policy that afforded us this opportunity; that and a relatively affordable tuition that allowed returning adult students to come part-time, and to work along the way to pay for the education. Isn't there something we might learn from in our history?

 
Ramona Gupta
on Dec 07, 2014

I'm not invested in the idea of a chief diversity officer, but a starting point could be a council of students, faculty, and staff that can begin to peel back the layers of problems Columbia has with regard to "diversity" and "inclusion" and work with stakeholders throughout the college to develop responses. This group would have to be given free rein to be open and honest with the college community about what is really happening here. I'm not interested in having the usual suspects at the table, who will sugarcoat our problems and develop superficial solutions. I want more students than administrators, and more "junior" fac/staff than directors/chairs, because they know what's happening on the ground.

I would also like the college to create a Bias Response Team. As a staff member in Multicultural Affairs, and more importantly, a staff member who students recognize as one of their fierce advocates, I spend a disconcerting amount of time listening to and counseling students who have endured trauma caused by faculty and staff at this college. The bias response protocols we have now are obscured in bureaucracy and are not trusted by our students, at least not the countless ones who have come to me to share stories of horrifying campus experiences. We need a clear-cut, well advertised, and easy-to-navigate system that ensures the college hears our students and leads to justice.

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Dec 03, 2014 - 6:49 pm

A robust and sustainable diversity and inclusion strategy cannot exist in any institution without ongoing attention and accountability. How shall we manage that at CCC?

 

Responses(5)

Onye Ozuzu
on Dec 04, 2014

In our conversation so far some have suggested the the community consider the potential of a "Chief Diversity Officer".  Others have expressed some concern similar officers elsewhere in the academy have had limited success.  Can we speak more specifically about this and perhaps if there are others, suggest alternative structural models for mainainting ongoing attention and accountability to an engaged, positive, and empowered diversity?

 
Jeff Schiff
on Dec 04, 2014

Welcome to the Diversity and Inclusion conversation. Our final question ("last licks," as we said in Queens) is designed to elicit remarks about a viable framework for regular and ongoing self-review. Sure, we can spin plans...; can we, however, create a system that tracks, evaluates, and improves those plans. Have at it!

 
Randall  Albers
on Dec 04, 2014

If people feel that a diversity officer will help ensure attention and accountability, that's fine—though we did not have a good experience the last time we tried this idea and the approach seems to place all of the responsibility for ensuring diversity in the hands of one person or one office. What's more, it's more money spent on administrators.

The attention to this issue begins with attention to the mission, and as the calls for greater and greater selectivity grow louder, we risk narrowing our racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, gender, and cultural diversity. I understand that economic and accreditation pressures may be pushing us in that direction, but we need to be vigilant about guarding the source of our greatness, the vision that has brought storytellers in all media and from wide-ranging backgrounds into contact with one another, hearing each other's stories and learning from one another.  

Getting leadership from chairs who encourage—and demand—that faculty themselves stay conscious of their own biases and work toward validating the full range of voices in their  classrooms—faculty who are working at every moment, in other words, to enact the mission—will do more than any diversity officer could ever manage to accomplish in realizing the goals of inclusion.  Diversity and inclusion are the responsibility of everyone in the college, and strong leadership at the departmental level has been, and will continue to be, key in meeting this responsibilty.

 
Soo La Kim
on Dec 05, 2014

I'm also wary of a CDO position and whether one office or position can make a difference before the groundwork has been laid for supporting meaningful changes. A few days ago, I read this article from my alma mater about the coordinated undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral opportunity fellowships that help create a "pipeline to the professoriate" by creating a network of support and mentoring for promising students.

So, if we're thinking big, along the lines of Onye's prompt below, I'd rather see the money go toward fellowships or visiting artist residency positions that bring a diverse range of faculty to campus (maybe for 2-3 year terms) who would maybe team up with a veteran Columbia College faculty member to design and collaborate on courses (could be interdisciplinary), mentor students, create new works, have faculty development opportunities to hone their teaching skills (esp. if they're recent MFAs or pracitiioners without college teaching experience) and also be eligible to apply for tenure track or lecturer positions at Columbia.

Many R1 schools have similar Society of Fellows programs that bring together postdocs for regular meetings (both formal and informal) and teaching duties -- contributing to the life of the institution but also receiving generous funding & opportunities to create & present new work. I could imagine a similar teaching-focused and practice-focused program that would involve these "fellows" working in shared studio spaces with Columbia students (as part of independent study or practicums) and also teaching a lighter course load (again, maybe co-developed with Columbia faculty). Columbia faculty might also apply to such a Society for 2-year stints (in the form of course releases to participate in course development, mentoring, student advising, etc.) So, a journalist of color working in the field could be a visiting fellow, teamed up with a Columbia faculty documentary filmmaker, offering a course on "Covering the Police" or "Documenting Global Crises" or something similarly topical and exciting that would attract a wide range of students from multiple majors.

Of course, such a program requires investment of resources (financial, mostly, but also adminstrative staff and facilities). There are opportunities for these to be named fellowships so future development efforts could focus on that. In any case it could be an exciting way to attract a range of practitioners, some of whom might join the permanent faculty (and be more likely to be retained because they've been supported and mentored and connected) and some of whom might contribute while they're here and then be availalble as resources & connections for our students out in the world. It would also be a way to diversify the curriculum as our permanent faculty work with and learn from visiting faculty, both in terms of a wider range of course topics and also in terms of course materials and methods in existing offerings.

So, dreaming big - there you have it.

 
Sheila Baldwin
on Dec 08, 2014

A CDO would be great, but would definitely need the support of the administration behind them. I agree with Patricia Olade who referenced institutions that have a CDO and an organizing body to advise the president on diversity affairs.  A similar structure was very successful at a university that had an extremely hostile culture and climate when it came to all things diverse.  Once that institution understood that there would be a change, the walls began to crumble.  Our diversity concerns cover large areas with deep pockets that need to be unpacked.  It would take a team to do so.  This is not a job for the current Multicultural Affairs Office that is under the Student Affairs division.  I would recommend the creation of a Diversity Center that would oversee all diversity matters that would include conducting diversity training for the entire college.  We have to understand the issues—our issues—so that we can move forward.

 

How will departments (academic and non-academic) be held accountable once the diversity initiative is established at the college is also a major concern? Some institutions compensate/reward departments that successfully address diverse issues—hire a diverse faculty member your department is rewarded.  I do not subscribe to compensation because hiring a person of color addresses our mission statement.  It is the right thing to do.  How can we teach students to author the culture of their times if we do not set an example of the culture in the classroom?  As Christopher Metzler suggests, departments should not be set with reaching a quota of minority hires, they should also look at additional ways to include diversity in their divisions.  For example, doing business with minority-owned businesses, establishing a mentoring relationship with an underrepresented elementary or high school.  Those creative ventures also address the concern.

 
Expand This Thread
Onye Ozuzu
From the Moderator: Onye Ozuzu
on Dec 02, 2014 - 8:37 am

Welcome.  Thank you to all those who attended and participated in the Diversity and Inclusion Forum yesterday.  With just under a week left I look forward to a robust offering of perspectives and visions.  This week's question asks us to propose a continuation to Dr Kim's call to be an institution that provides an opportunity for our students to "learn from the experience of the other".  This is intended as a prompt to our imagining what a "mission statement" might sound like for the College's approach to diversity and inclusion or perhaps more specifically equity, plurality etc etc....in the context of our enterprise.  I want to encourage us to THINK BIG, imagine not only what we wish was happening right now but what COULD BE in 5, 10, 15 years.  ENVISION! 

 

Responses(3)

Carol Lloyd Rozansky
on Dec 04, 2014

(Sorry for the length.) As I reflect on the ideas shared at the Diversity and Inclusion Forum the other day, the following comes to mind. To me, diversity and inclusion as topics of discussion could (should) be framed as lived issues of interrogation. How can we deconstruct our life experiences and our participation in our Columbia College community as well as the other communities in which we belong or would would like to belong? Very important - how do we look for and what might we find as areas of potential solidarity rather than of difference? What are the common attributes? Marginalization? Absence of naming that which is marginalizing? How we participate in hegemonic practices (whether or not we realize it)? Oppression? How do we transfer the energy and frustration of individual oppressive experiences to a conscientization that leads to a collective energy that then leads to action? The emphasis is no longer on each individual or each group but on the process of collective understandings of the hegemony of domination that then results in collective action against these injustices.

How can we dialog with those who are marginalized when we are not or when our marginalization is different from theirs? How can we recognize our participation, if any, in that marginalization? Can those who are not marginalized be allies (not messiahs)? If so, how?

To me, a central question about diversity and inclusion explores how we can develop or expand our (the CCC community) critical consciousness. How can this perspective guide the ways in which we encourage students to "author the culture of their times?" How can we all engage in conscientization - a critical awareness - that moves us forward to explore what we don't know, to imagine possibilities?

Here are a few specific ideas about ways in which our art explores and confronts (or ignores) the marginalization of certain people. What can we do about it?

- Watch and deconstruct films by focusing on ways in which people belonging to a marginalized group are characterized (Roger Ebert-like).

- Identify ways in which institutional racism in schools (name it) impacts children and actions we could take.

- Music, visual arts - How do they identify and act on injustices in the community, nation, world (historically, currently)?

Multiple opportunities could be available - Department meetings, new courses, Friday afternoon gatherings, situating discussions off campus, "teaching circles" composed of 8-10 faculty, student organizations (with faculty or staff advisor), book/readings groups, and so on.

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Dec 05, 2014

I'm sharing this here since I don't know if it has been shared but there's a lot of research on gender bias and learning. 

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Dec 07, 2014

We have many international faculty who are clearly bringing a different experience.  Let's not forget them in diversity issues. 

As far as learning from the other goes.  I teach as a scientist about how science has changed.  People who were not independently wealthy could not be scientists in the not so distant past.  Most scientists were white and male with wives who did lots of the work but ended up as an acknowledgement.  Science has changed for the better but women still become faculty in lower rates than males.  It's not hard to make sure to give examples of scientists who are non-white, non-male, blind, trans, gay, etc.  However, you often don't know since as a scientist you are generally judged by your published research. 

That said, I'd like our students to understand that they live in a nuanced world.  That they may have privilege based on who they are.  But that ideally they will be judged by what they do.  Perhaps our big goals can be to help our students be ready to create a world where we don't need to have as many of these discussions.

 
Expand This Thread
Fo Wilson
on Dec 01, 2014 - 2:27 pm

i have not participated on this side of the conversaion thus far and my response may have been mentioned by someone earlier. i appreciate the conversation and the space to have it, but must say i am "diversity" fatigued – a term when i first heard curator Lowery Sims say it, made me chuckle.  i consider words like: "diversity" and "inclusion" misleading monikers to characterize how communities can move forward to address inequitable situations regarding those who are "othered" in society-at-large and on our campus in particular.

President Kim has written, 'If our students are to create that which does not yet exist, they must also have every opportunity to learn from the voice and the experience of the other.'

If there is an "other," then there is a priviledged someone that looks upon the other from a particular vantage point. If someone is "disadvantaged," then someone would have to be advantaged to make it so. I don't believe we can make significant progress without looking at both sides of the equation. Yes, "the experience of the other" is important to understand, but as well, the experience of the priviledged needs to be spoken and made visible along with all that it affords the dominate culture who would take their position in the social order for granted.  In my view, little can change until those who enjoy positions of priviledge and power are willing to acknowledge that they enjoy advantages (an enduring affirimative action) not everyone has.  as bell hooks has cited in one of her many discerning essays, when the priviledge acknowledge and are willing to move from a privileged location from which they view the rest of the world, it is very powerful and creates space in the room for new possibilities. the whole truth - not just one side -  is acknowledged and everyone gets to breathe.

 

 

Responses(4)

Kevin Obomanu
on Dec 01, 2014

I couldn't agree with this more. I had a conversation over the holiday weekend with family talking about having the priveleged understand their privilege, and, yes, to best begin the conversation of diversity, you have to consider all sides, especially those with privilege so they can best understand how their advantages come in to making profound change.

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Dec 02, 2014

Fo, thank you for this.  I hear you bringing a call for awareness to the table.  If those who are privileged become aware of their privilege and "make space in the room", what can we imagine might occupy those spaces?  

 
Fo Wilson
on Dec 02, 2014

Onye, a wonderful question! And lovely to imagine in the abstract. i'd like to hear what the overall CCC community thinks about this. First though, i think we need to do step one - the hard part (awareness of privilege), and would need help doing it in the healthiest and most constructive ways to imagine what a space like that looks like. we need ways that don't just produce happy, feel-good moments, but sustainable change that translates into concrete and achievable policies, programs, and an enlightened culture at Columbia.

 
Bill Guschwan
on Dec 05, 2014

And a practical way to teach this is mindfulness or awareness. I teach a book called Conscious Business by Fred Kofman. It focuses on creating the mindfulness for anyone including the privileged.

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 30, 2014 - 8:16 pm

President Kim has written, 'If our students are to create that which does not yet exist, they must also have every opportunity to learn from the voice and the experience of the other.' Now you finish his paragraph in your own words."

 
Mahalia Jackson Elementary
on Nov 28, 2014 - 10:58 pm

How does the college engage all the students that are reached through CCAP and are there financial aide opportunities for these students to attend Columiba College?

 

Responses(2)

Onye Ozuzu
on Dec 02, 2014

Thank you for this question Mahalia.  I will invite commentary from them on this topic.  

 
Paul Teruel
on Dec 02, 2014

Mahalia Jacksn Elementary, thank you for your question. Our work is rooted in inclusion, with Columbia students working together with public schools, like yours, and community-based organizations in various forms of programs. Most of the students that CCAP engages have been to Columbia for programs, events, tours and workshops. Last year over 6,000 youth participated in CCAPs programs.

CCAP is one of many areas of the college that works with the community through school and community-based programs. Sherwood, Journalism, Columbia Links, Photography, Early Childhood, Creative Writing, Business & Entrepreneurship, and more, are departments that have programs deeply rooted in these types of parnerships.

Columbia offers financial aid to Chicago Public School graduates through the Open Doors Scholarship given to students with a 2.5 grade point average or higher.

 
Expand This Thread
Diana Vallera
From the Moderator: Diana Vallera
on Nov 25, 2014 - 11:56 pm

Are there any other questions we haven't asked that you wish we had asked?  

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 23, 2014 - 7:48 pm

What kinds of partnerships and collaborations do you imagine would support a robust and sustainable diversity and inclusion strategy at CCC or in your department, program, unit, etc.?

 
Monica Hairston OConnell
on Nov 23, 2014 - 6:51 pm

When I first came to Columbia College it was a great point of pride for me to be able to quote its minority enrollment percentage. So I appreciate the legacy of open enrollment here and what those policies were trying to achieve. However, over time I have come to feel that it is sort of a way of communicating (to ourselves and our legislators and lobbyists) that we care about "diversity" without having to put any long term measureable goals in place, without having to link those goals to a clearly stated committment to or real investment in social change, and without having to build the infrastructure that supports those differently experienced and located students across their tenure at the college.

Who exactly do we want to admit (hint: the collective group should "look like" America--the Chicago part) and how will we ensure that the group that graduates looks exactly like the one that we first enrolled?

Once in: mentorship. I'm proud to say that most of the staff members at the CBMR have mentored students in some cases numerous. They often will say that they were so lucky to have found us, or the Center. I know this is the case for so many students with so many of our fine faculty and staff. There should be training and incentives for us, for we must be able to come to where the student is. This could be help with letters of recommendation or employment, reading or writing help, research assistance, professional development, assurance and proof that there is a place for their voice, practical training, or empathetic listening. There should be a clearing house or hub--with information repeated ad nauseum at orientation, in FYS, etc, about where to find us.

 

 

Responses(1)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 23, 2014

Monica,

Thank you for your suggestions and reflections.  The importance of structures including strong mentoring is critical to a successful diversity and inclusion plan.  

 
Expand This Thread
Monica Hairston OConnell
on Nov 23, 2014 - 6:24 pm

With recognition that the terms of this conversation were preset and that they mirror broader narratives in higher ed  (at least since Grutter, 2003), and with the understanding that refusal of the terms may not further the conversation efficiently, I’d like to stay on record as really having little faith in the common usage and concept of “diversity.” Admiral Akbar says “it’s a traaaaap.” We’ve spent a lot of the space here just trying to figure out what we are even talking about when we talk about diversity—Who’s more diverse? What’s the critical mass? I think this is exactly why those in power (nationally) have shifted the conversation over time to one of (frankly easily) shared values around difference and its potential educational role from one devoted to actionable and measureable goals of equity and access (and yes, I too am referring to race here).

 

            Having said that, I agree the conversation is getting interesting and I am grateful to be a part of it. If we are stuck with “Diversity and Inclusion”—what happens when/if we focus on the second, and in some ways more useful term? They are not the same but they seem to get conflated or mooshed together. Is inclusion the same as integration? Can it help us come to concensus around the actionable and measureable? Can it help us leverage the educational benefits of “diversity” regardless of where we or our students are located on campus?

 

 

 

Humans are prone to move in circles of approximate consensus. It seems like the major tracks in most departments really reinforce this rather than try to minimize it—especially for white students. It is super easy for them to not get challenged by faculty, other students or curricula not like them. It is already difficult for students to take classes outside of their majors but I hear so many stories of  students who don’t take classes that stray from “mainstream" or self-reinforcing content. Or if they are required will complain “why do they have to take this class that doesn’t have anything to do with them?” A required “great books” class (or whatever) can and should be structured very differently based on who is teaching it and from what standpoint. Can this give us a more focused way of thinking about the kinds of infrastructure we need to support diverse faculty? What if we paid attention not only to class size but class makeup to insure each instance of the class maximized the educational benefits of “diversity”?...

 

 
Soo La Kim
on Nov 22, 2014 - 12:26 am

I understand the importance of all the issues related to part-time faculty raised here and yes, we should be aware of the intersectionality of the different categories of identity when we consider diversity and what diversity means at CCC.

But, I hope we don't lose the focus on race and systemic racism when we're talking about diversity, namely recruiting and retaining students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented groups, esp. in some of the larger departments on campus.  And yes, in higher education, in Chicago, in this historical moment in America, that means primarily African American and Latino communities. I don't think that means race trumps class or sex or gender, but it's acknowledging the urban reality of Chicago and what it means to engage it in a meaningful and ethical way.

It sometimes seems as if the topic of race is covered in a deflector shield -- when any conversation approaches the topic, it gets deflected in some other direction. This doesn't mean that those other directions aren't also important, but maybe it would be helpful, as Carol Rozansky suggests below, if we define more explicitly the range of diversity issues we are talking about so that none of the important threads get lost:

  • The need for greater racial and ethnic diversity among our students, faculty, and staff
  • The need for expanded support for those populations currently served by the Conaway Achievement Project (minority, low income, and/or first generation college)
  • The need for greater support for all minority groups (including LGBTQIA, veterans, etc.)
  • The need to diversify the curriculum in all sorts of ways
  • The need to more fully integrate and support part-time faculty, including addressing some of the structures and dynamics that marginaiize them.
  • The need for greater cultural competencies in talking about all this stuff productively and enacting meaningful changes

 

 

 

 

Responses(9)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 22, 2014

Elizabeth,

I too have personally seen the benefits in terms of diversity through open admissions.  It has has been central to what Columbia has been and the student success stories are many.  I have also seen the tuition as you say explode and the administration mushroom.  So how can we reclaim our inclusive mission and provide the support structures necessary for the students who are not prepared for the rigors of higher ed and how do we balance all of this with the necessary financial stability and fiscal health of the college?  Regarding those unprepared for college in certain areas, I am familiar with courses required that are remedial, in the areas of reading, writing and math.  Did or does Columbia have remedial course support for students?  Perhaps there are successful models of how to balance all of these commitments and concerns?  

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 22, 2014

Soo,

I find the categories you outlined really helpful for our discussion.  Thank you.  Do others see categories that are not captured here? 

For the following reply I would like to remove my moderator hat.  Any diversity effort that fails to prioritize non white groups with a history of subjugation in a country whose foundational laws advance the supremacy of white people, is a failure in my opinion.  

 

 
Dale Chapman
on Nov 22, 2014

I would add two more categories: age and academic diversity.

It seems a number of people are thinking in order to make way for diversity you have to eliminate things that already exist.  This has been done in both overt and covert ways.  It was suggested that early retirement would be a way to bring in new diverse faculty hires.  It was also suggested that the tier system in the new part-time CBA keeps the faculty from being diverse.

It was also suggested that The Simpsons class should be cut before classes dealing with social justice.  This is not the first time I've heard the poor Simpsons class brought up as a symbol of an inconsequential and easily disposed of class.  Well, The Simpsons is damn important in its field.  If the school had an alum on the writing staff, they'd never stop promoting it.  One of our most highly touted recent grads is Lena Waithe, who is female, African American, and a comedy writer.  I imagine she would say studying comedy in the TV Dept. benefitted her.

I am one of the few faculty members in my department who specializes in comedy.  When I was in grad school at Northwestern, they had no idea what to do with me.  No one in the grad program was doing anything like me.  My instructors recognized that I was accomplished and dedicated, but they couldn't instruct me in depth about my work because they didn't really understand my process, history, or influences.

I used myself as an example, but I'm sure a lot of people out there have had similar experiences in their chosen disciplines.  I'm sure this happens in a wide variety of fields.  As an instructor, I've tried to stay as well rounded as I can so the same phenomenon isn't played out with my students.  My students write and make everything from the broadest comedies to the most sincere melodramas.  I encourage them based on their aesthetic not mine.  And I try to make sure I'm familiar and respectful of the widest array of styles that I can be.

 
Lance Cox
on Nov 23, 2014

To quickly add something about the admissions process that could be detrimental to diversity and inclusion--for quite some time, there was no requirement to disclose a criminal background to Columbia. This has changed--there is a moment in the application where you must disclose if you have a criminal background (I am unaware of the exact wording here) and if you select "yes," and are an admissable student, you will be contacted about a mandatory criminal background check that the student must pay for

None of this sits well with me in thinking about who is criminalized, what means of survival are criminalized, and the overal disenfrancisement of (previously) incarcerated individuals. I don't think Columbia ought to contribute to that.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 23, 2014

Lance,

I was not aware of this policy.  I am wondering if there is a stated rationale for the policy?  Any data that supports it?  It certainly seems questionable and thank you for bringing this to our attention.  It seems to align Columbia with practices of inequality that persuasive in US society.  I'm looking forwarding to getting more information.  

Diana 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 23, 2014

Elizabeth,

Sounds like some effective programs were in place.  What was the rationale and the data supporting the change in policy?  Was there any assessments or evidence to show the success of these programs?  

Diana 

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 23, 2014

How many hours we all used to spend each semester talking about building diverse book lists and assignments, managing a diverse classroom, including the voices of all of our students. All anyone has to do is look at the Fiction Writing anthologies of student work to see the diversity of voices. More recently, though, those voices seem to come from fewer diverse backgrounds than before.

Do any departments offer in-service meetings and faculty development for all faculty anymore? We have been told by our interim chair that it is a union issue, but this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 23, 2014

Patricia,

 

I am not responding as a moderator.  I was shocked as the union president to hear this decision was approved.   No data provided, no notice, no faculty input.   I understood this decision was related to the new policy from the provost, reviewing all stipends.  I asked that the decision be properly vetted by the faculty who teach the courses, review the benefits to students, and make sure decisions are research and data driven.  I was first told the stipends were done unlawfully (direct dealing).  When the union provided evidence that the stipends had been in place well before the union formed, the college changed its position.  I have seen no evidence or support for this decision from the college and I understand the faculty who teach the courses were not included in the decision.  I did, however receive many emails from fiction faculty with support and data to show how valuable these meetings were to student success.   I heard directly from students that shared with me how vital these meetings were to them.   The college presented these meeting to me as part of the normal expectations of any faculty.  I soon understood these meetings to be outside of the normal workload expectations.   I will do whatever I can to advocate for this program.   I have asked for leadership from the provost to end unilateral decisions, ensure decisions are properly vetted by all faculty, make sure there is research provided before decisions are implemented, and to stop trying to blame the union.   We already have a history of union animus at this college.   We need leadership.  I asked the college to reinstate these programs until there is a fair process in place that places students interests first above any cost savings.  The union does have an issue with the removal of the programs.  We filed a cease and desist against the college, we filed a demand to bargain over the decision and the impact of the changes.  We fought hard to get the stipends restored for this semester and we asked for leadership from the provost,  a clear directive that ensures these type of decisions begin with the faculty who teach the courses (all faculty), and the decision when presented needs to be research and data driven.  It is not too late!  I would love to know of others programs in different departments.  

 
Patricia McNair
on Dec 01, 2014

Thank you for this response and information, Diana. I am eagerly awaiting the outcome of this continued concern.

 
Expand This Thread
Kirk  Irwin
on Nov 20, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Although I feel that the issue of Diversity and Inclusion should expand beyond racial diversity, I recommend reading or re-reading Cornel West's "Race Matters," and the Nicholas Kristoff essays recently published in the New York Times, "When White's Just Don't Get it."

 
Kirk  Irwin
on Nov 20, 2014 - 10:01 pm

Diversity itself needs to be inclusive.

 

 
Juliet Bond
on Nov 20, 2014 - 9:15 pm

The Fword (student feminist group on campus) has posted a petition about the loss of diversity and inclusion courses.  It's already generated almost 600 signatures.  You can post your input on the page https://www.change.org/p/columbia-college-chicago-restore-diversity-courses-at-columbia-college-2

 

Responses(1)

Juliet Bond
on Nov 20, 2014

And the update post-forum...

 
Expand This Thread
Chad Wilson
on Nov 20, 2014 - 12:32 pm

I will begin this post by acknowledging that I have not read all previous posts, but understand a desire to insert an agenda about part-time faculty inclusion into this conversation topic.

As a staff member, I understand this desire for inclusion. In fact, I believe staff members feel similarly disenfranchised by the heirarchy of power inherent in a structure that seemingly values the contributions of some members over the work done by others. We can not ignore that power dynamic.

For the purposes of a strategic plan, I believe this conversation can benefit from breaking this discussion into seperate, more manageable sub-topics. Those included could (as a suggestion only) be:

1. Power structures due to position and/or group membership (an example of such is the perceived hierarchy of executive administration > full-time faculty > part-time faculty > support staff)

2. Power structures due to identity (an example of such is institutional racism, though that is not the only example)

They are both important in the topic of diversity and inclusion. And they are not mutually exclusive.

I also think it is imperative that we look at both of the subtopics from the perspective of both those that work at Columbia, as well as from the student experience - a perspective that is sorely lacking so far from this conversation.

If we focus our attention on the students, sub-topic 1 may not be appropriate or relevant as we discuss the strategic plan for the future of our institution. Instead, can we ask the following question:

How are we teaching students to think critically about power and identity in the context of their major discipline?

This is the question that will set us apart as an institution devoted to training students in skilled artistic expression within the context of a liberal arts education. I believe this question is our greatest educational opportunity to help our students "author the culture of thier time".

Personally, I feel that for the purposes of the strategic plan, the more important conversation is what our students are learning than our own differences and positional/political struggles. If we are all going to come together around the topic of Diversity and Inclusion for a common goal and purpose, this should be it.

This is not to say that our perceived positional hierarchies should be ignore. Indeed, they should be examined and address.

 

Responses(6)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 20, 2014

Chad,

Taking off my moderator hat, I believe there is a third break that is missed in your two category categorization of

    1.  power structure and

    2.  instruction

and that is a systemic economic oppression that is a matter of class.  Such a position overlaps with the power hierarchy that you suggest but some at the bottom rung of that institutional power hierarchy are not economically oppressed by  institutional structures.  Many Part-time faculty face not only a bottom rung of the power hierarchy but also systemic economic oppression.  I believe that what we do in the classroom is impacted by the work environment and the treatment of those who provide such instruction.  And it is also important to note that all three of these areas are interconnected.   How can we value our respective work - that of staff, that of faculty, that of maintenance, that of security, and the contributions of students to the community?  How we can we empower each other? 

 
Chad Wilson
on Nov 25, 2014

Diana, I respectfully disagree. I don't think you can hold "class" up as a third category. It is, like race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc an example of an identity group - a lens through which these two category can be seen. Holding class up as more important than any other identity is not helpful in this conversation, unless you have a targeted political agenda.

Though I do agree that intersetionality exists and persons hold multiple identities at the same time.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 25, 2014
Chad I am referencing structures at Columbia College (truthfully at most institutes of higher Ed across the country) that produce class inequality and specifically poverty for the majority of faculty teaching in higher Ed in the United States of America.  My political agenda includes ALL of us who are structurally disadvantaged along race, class and gender lines.   Most sociology departments in higher Ed consistently recognize race, class and gender as structures of inequality that have  both identity components and social structural components.   
Chad Wilson
on Nov 25, 2014

I am not unfamiliar with institutional structure. I was asked to state my opinion here for the purposes of the strategic planning process. I have done so. Your continued questioning of my positon feels like bullying.

It is my understanding that the role as moderator is to be an objective mostly observer of a forum, so as to keep conversations on point. Taking off your moderator hat to steer the coversation to your own purposes, I personally believe is a misuse of your privileged position of power and subverts the true purpose of this process.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 25, 2014

Chad,

 

Please view the rest of the posts.  When doing so you will see other moderators will take off their moderator hat and speak from a personal and political perspective.  That should of been made clear up front that moderators are able to do so.  I would ask that any posts refrain from any name calling as it is not in the spirit of this exchange.  Difference positions are welcomed.  

 
Scott Collins
on Dec 01, 2014

Chad,

The question you pose: "How are we teaching students to think critically about power and idenitity in the context of their major/discipline?" is an imperitive one, and one that articulates the feelings I have towards the lack of critical discussion in the B&E dept. From a students perspective, the answer is: we're not teaching students to critically examine the power or privledge they have and we are not teaching how to use their agency to undo or dismantle oppresive powers. If there is going to be discussion about 'diversity', this question needs to be asked of each teacher, faculty member, and administrator. 

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 19, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Are there any questions we haven’t asked that you wish we had asked?

 

Responses(10)

Christine Rice
on Nov 20, 2014

Why has the new administration dismantled successful existing programs (i.e., Fiction Writing Department, among others) and repackaged them to resemble traditional liberal arts college programs (Loyola's, DePaul's, Northwestern's)?  Why hasn't the former and current administration asked, 'What's BEEN working and what, traditionally, has set CCC apart from the crowd?' Why aren't they asking, 'What's our niche, what has set us apart?'

Also, if CCC wants to look like the aforementioned institutions, we have to admit that there is little to no actual 'governance' at CCC.  In other words, the changes have outpaced sensible and responsible governance (i.e. chairs on/in faculty senate meetings, no adjunct faculty representatives). This seems to be a crucial element to CCC's success.

Also, why have the adjunct faculty been taken off the CCC website?  We make up over half of the faculty.  We are incredibly dedicated and work very, very hard.  We have suddenly and uncerimoniously been labeled as 'them.'  Morale has tanked.  What can CCC do about the tanked morale of the adjunct faculty members who, it seems, have no to very little voice or influence?

 

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 20, 2014

Good questions. I especially like the "what has set us apart?" All of these questions in the Commons seem to be about what we can do to make things better. Better is good. But we are building off a foundation that has been broken; we need to shore that up.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 20, 2014

Christine and Patricia,

 

Thanks for your comments.  It seems that part of your question is asking for systems in place that allow for all faculty voices to be part of curriculum changes or decision.  There are certainly lots of great models to look at and best practices from AAUP that recommend that these type of decisions begin with the faculty who teach the courses (all faculty), and the decision when presented needs to be research and data driven.  What systems need to be in place so your voices are not only heard but valued?  How can we help ensure these decisions are properly vetted?  Any structural suggestions?  Do you have recommendations to help with morale.  Are there other models that you would recommend?  Your suggestions cross over with the curriculum forum.  You may want to post there too.  

 
Juliet Bond
on Nov 20, 2014

Christine, I really appreciate your questions.  I see our removal from the website as another step in the direction of our marginalization and the eventual eradication of part-time faculty.  The department I work for (HHSS) used to be a supportive space under the direction of our former chair.  As an adjunct faculty member, I'm not sure what happened (corporatization?) but the environment has become oppressive. In addition to the reduction in classes, I have difficulty in ordering books, and there are now extra hoops to jump through for field trips and guest speakers. As an instructor, I am dedicated to varying my teaching style throughout the semester to accommodate different forms of learning.  Field trips and speakers are pretty essential to experiential learning.  

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 21, 2014

Diana, thank you for your response. Structures do exist, but seem to be ignored. A meeting of the full faculty of the newly formed, underdeveloped, under-resourced Department of Creative Writing would be a good start. It is difficult to build diversity and inclusion on a foundation that is intentionally exclusive and divisive. That we don't yet have a new chair, that the search for our new chair should be going right now, that we don't have any idea about what is happening there and we have an interim chair who has not been an advocate for the largest program in the department, nor for the adjunct faculty, these are serious issues that can't be ignored (and left uncorrected) in order to just build something "new." 

 
Germania Solorzano
on Nov 21, 2014

So many quick changes have taken place in the college under interim leadership with little faculty input.  As a result, morale is very low, in fact, what will happen as a result of this digital forum?  What will come of it?  I'd be lying if I were to pretend that I trust this process.  I do not.  Regardless, I'm posting this comment.  How can we best serve the students when faculty is ignored or mollified while things just carry on, moving forward...in some mysterious direction?  Currently there is so much emphasis on "change", but no real vision.  Lately, I suspect the entire mission of the college is changing--veering away from the mission.  The mission currently seems to be about changing as much as possible without any regard for historical context.

 
Alex Riepl
on Nov 21, 2014

When we talk about "diversity" should we include people coming from outside of this country, their cultures, histories, languages, experiences, and ideas?

Or are we limiting "diversity" discussions here at Columbia to only include people in this country?

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 21, 2014

Alex,

When I think of Diversity and inclusion it is never fixed and it depends not only on a history of subjugation but the success or not of inclusion at the current moment.  Do others have any further thoughts? 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 21, 2014

Christine, Germania and Juliet, 

There is a lot of important critique here.   Sounds like leadership from the provost is needed in order to salvage these important programs and support the faculty.  What options do faculty have when systems in place are ignored?  In what ways can the college show they value all faculty?  

 
Scott Collins
on Dec 01, 2014

Chad Wilson posted the following question in a different post: "How are we teaching students to think critically about their power and identity in the context of their major discipline?" This question articulates my frustration with the conversation of diversity that's happening. The answer is: We're, or more like you're (I am a student), not challenging students to think critically about the power dynamics of their respective industries or disciplines. This is particularly true in the B&E dept. As future business leaders move through our institution we need to challenege them to think of how they might be perpetuating oppression and none-inclusion through their future or current business practices. If we don't, then my fear is that down the road they will be having the exact same conversation we are having now, proving that Columbia failed to teach them about the importance of "diversity".

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 19, 2014 - 6:05 pm

What supplemental activities, programs, student experiences, pathways, etc. do you imagine your department, program, unit, etc. would need to support a sustainable diversity and inclusion strategy?

 

Responses(7)

Chad Wilson
on Nov 20, 2014

The Dance Department brought in guest faciliators from the People's Institute for Undoing Racism, as well as a guest facilitator on the topic of gender identity. Both of these workshops helped faculty and staff understand the topics inherent in conversations about diversity and inclusion.

Providing training and education for staff and faculty is the first necessary step in providing an inclusive environment. This provides a common vocabulaty and a lens through which to examine and address issues of exclusion within policies, procedures, curriculum design, and student experiences.

in order to teach our students to challenge oppression and inequality, we must be doing it, modeling it,, discussing it. And in order to do this, we must all have common language and understanding. This MUST come with support - support in terms of time, resources, finances, and training.

 
Carol Lloyd Rozansky
on Nov 20, 2014

The first thing I notice in the question is the use of the word "supplemental." That positions these "activities, programs, etc." as "extras," as not part of the everyday stuff we do and think about. But to critically examine what seems to me to be underlying beliefs, that's the very hard - but essential - stuff. It's often difficult to talk about what one believes about diversity, inclusion. People are often worried about being perceived as racist, as elite. Can we have productive conversations about white privilege? Can we seriously address this (hugely broad) topic without talking about white privilege? Can we remain patient and civil with each other as we deconstruct this complex construct?

What does "exclusion" look like? What is "inclusion" look like? What do they look like in my classroom? In my office? In the last meeting I attended? In the textbook I required my students to order?

This topic -  diversity and inclusion - overlap the others. Of course, though, they all seem to converge.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 20, 2014

Carol,

These are terrific questions and concerns.  In my experience, I’ve seen the issue of white privilege addressed most effectively when it is rooted in historical facts.  For example, I learned that the naturalization law of 1790 required that a person be white in order to naturalize as a US citizen and that this was valid law until 1952.  How can Columbia provide a shared historical foundation for these important, often difficult conversations? 

 
Chamille Weddington
on Nov 24, 2014

Securing and having active relationships with community organizations and schools is the most efficient way to bridge the gap between the college and community in the effort to foster student diversity.  For example, CCAP is still a diamond in the rough, in my opinion, in terms of the historic ability of the college to leverage and maximize CCAP's longstanding relationships and connection to Chicago's broader citizens.  The deep development of highschool bridge programming is one immediate way to attractive diverse audiences to our educational offerings and communicate our organizational values.  On an even deeper level, there is a stigma attached to segments of the population that are economically challenged, as there is an assumption that they are also educationally challenged.  This quiet and incorrect thinking serves as a stumbling block for Columbia College decision-makers who would otherwise be apt to communicate with this population in a ready fashion.  As a product of the Chicago Public Schools and welfare system as a youth, I'm familiar with this kind of treatment/disenfranchisement.  I've heard the stigma voiced in meetings and watched the grimmaces form when discussions about the "economically challenged" and "need-based" scholarships are had. The real truth is that sustainable diversity and inclusion will only be possible if we employ educators and administrators who truly hold these as values.  This begins in the hiring process and with the re-training (or dismissal) of those individuals who are contrary to diversity.

 
Peter Carpenter
on Nov 30, 2014

I'm responding here to Diana's comment that issues of white privilege are addressed most effectively when grounded in history.  I completely agree, and (to reinforce Chad's post) this is one of the components of the Undoing Racism workshop by The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond that was so powerful for the Dance Department.  

This workshop completely changed the dynamic in our department, made significant interventions to my pedagogy, and laid the groundwork for sustained and meaningful conversations around race and racism in our corner of the campus.  I've been excited to hear that more department's are considering doing this as a faculty development experience.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Dec 05, 2014

Peter - maybe we should do this with all faculty.

 
Sheila Baldwin
on Dec 08, 2014

Columbia offers cutting edge programs.  We should offer studies in Hip-Hop culture as well as Urban Studies.

 
Expand This Thread
Jeff Schiff
From the Moderator: Jeff Schiff
on Nov 18, 2014 - 9:35 pm

Thanks, Pan; we've discussed this recently in the English Department. I think it is a great idea. Although, finding the appropriate candidates is still likely to be a challenge, especially in STEM areas.

 
Kathleen Loftus
on Nov 18, 2014 - 6:58 pm

One other category of diversity are the non-traditional learners - those students who never excelled at academics, but are gifted artists, dancers, poets, actors and musicians.  I used to refer those students to Columbia, where many let me know they had finally fond their home, had finally found their voice, were finally understood and finally felt successful.  I believe we must continue to welcome these "right-brained" students with open arms.

 

Responses(2)

Jeff Sanderson
on Nov 19, 2014

The thing is that Columbia is a liberal arts environment, and over 1/3 of the classes required to graduate are academic subjects.  If someone is talented and prepared academically, I hope we welcome them to the college, but we're not the right place for someone who only wants to study within their discipline, since this isn't the kind of college that only offers arts training.  I absolutely hope we welcome right-brained people, but we need to acknowledge that all students at Columbia are working toward an academic degree that requires liberal arts.

 
Louis Silverstein
on Dec 01, 2014

Welcoming non-traditional students within the context of a liberal arts college is not to be viewed as an either/or proposition. Utillizing diverse teaching methods and ways of completing assigned work can bridge the two. 

 
Expand This Thread
Pangratios Papacosta
on Nov 18, 2014 - 1:43 pm

Create teaching fellowships for new PhD students of minority. Invite applications and select some to be Teaching Fellows at Columbia for 1-2 years.This program will encourage minority Ph.Ds to start their teaching career with us. This program can also provide us with a pool of potential applicants for future tenure track positions.  

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 16, 2014 - 7:59 pm

What resources do you imagine the college as a whole, and/or your department, program, unit, etc. would need to implement a sustainable diversity and inclusion strategy?

 

Responses(15)

Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 18, 2014

I agree that the question of long time Part Time Faculty at Columbia is a crucial one.  I can see why the issues in that conversation seem like they are diversity issues.  We are dealing with a specifically identified group in a context where there is a systematically articulated difference in power and privilege.  STILL.  I do not think that this is the place for the discussion.  I think perhaps the Aligning Resources with Goals might be better?  If we are to think of the Faculty as an essential resource of the college.  In THIS context given MY interpretation of the issue of diversity and inclusion as beign focused primarily on historically marginalized groups in our culture at large and in our student body and the content of the curriculum I think that the intersection of the PT faculty and the current contract have some profound impacts on diverstiy.  The teir system often puts us in a situation where the most senior Part Time faculty also represent a time where hiring at the college was less focused on people of color and women.  So in applying the letter of the contract which is meant to honor and prioritize the assignment of longtime and loyal faculty who happen to be Part Time... in a season where enrollments drop, we end up with less diversity in terms of race and sometimes gender in the classroom interfacing directly with students.  Its complicated.  But if we are going to talk about PT faculty in the context of Diversity and Inclusion at the college I do not think we can look at them as an isolated group with an isolated experience vis a vis the college mission.  The College's mission is education not employment.  Of COURSE, we accomplish our mission by the recruitment and mainentance of a strong and diverse faculty.  But I am pointing out the 2-step structure of that sentence.  The POINT of it all is what happens in those classrooms.  And the point of this discussion, I think, is diversity and inclusion as it relates to the mission.  If honoring and supporting long time service by the PT Faculty results in less faculty of color and other minorities in the classroom working with students, which issue should take precedence?

 
Jennie Fauls
on Nov 18, 2014

I think that part-time faculty at Columbia would be foolish NOT to connect their struggle to each segment of the civic commons.

When have we ever been asked before, publicly, how their working conditions affect our students' learning conditions?

Respectfully, I credit them for rhetorically tying their narrative (which does not oppose the college's mission) to students, enrollment, diversity, curriculum, community and resources.

 
MaryLou  Carroll
on Nov 19, 2014

 Has diversity been defined to mean “black”?  If so, then let’s drop the goal of inclusion and openly limit (exclude) our attention to just one category of difference.   While we are engaged in exclusion, let’s further define “black” to mean heterosexual, American-born, English speaking, able-bodied, middle-class, not yet middle-age, and Christian.  A pedagogy of the “historically excluded but recently arrived.” 

 

Hierarchies of oppression liberate no one.  However, they do reinforce the culture of domination and preserve existing unequal relations of power. 

 

It is the structure at the top which desires changelessness and which profits from these apparently endless kitchen wars.   Audre Lorde 

 

 The moderator’s references to part-time faculty and to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the faculty union and the college demonstrate unconcealed union animus.  What actions will Columbia College Chicago take to redress these public statements from a department chairperson and forum moderator aimed at silencing, excluding, and discrediting the voices, interests, and experiences of the majority of college faculty and its union leadership?   A commitment to diversity requires nothing less than a “robust” college response, including diversity training for everyone in the college community, perhaps starting with department chairpersons and administrators.    

 

 MaryLou Carroll, History Instructor, Department of HHSS, November 18, 2014

 

 

 

 
Dale Chapman
on Nov 19, 2014

This is the second time that one of the moderators of this forum has suggested that long-serving faculty (both part-time and full-time) are a hindrance to diversity.

Should ageism be more in the forefront of this conversation?

 
Matthew  Shenoda
on Nov 19, 2014

I'm not sure how the original post from Onye leads to this statement:

 

" Has diversity been defined to mean “black”?  If so, then let’s drop the goal of inclusion and openly limit (exclude) our attention to just one category of difference.   While we are engaged in exclusion, let’s further define “black” to mean heterosexual, American-born, English speaking, able-bodied, middle-class, not yet middle-age, and Christian. "

 

Her post is clear about both issues of race (not just Blackness) and gender and says nothing of "American-born, English speaking, able-bodied, middle-class, not yet middle-age, and Christian. "

 

Furthermore, I think it is disingenuous and counter to the spirit of this forum to argue that statements one disagrees with are "aimed at silencing, excluding, and discrediting the voices, interests, and experiences of the majority of college faculty and its union leadership." We must cultivate an environment of debate and critical engagement, it is healthy and necessary for us to have disagreement, especially about issues this significant, but to label a criticism or disagreement as an "attempt to silence or discredit" is frankly an easy way out of having a tough conversation. The real silencing happens when one states that certain critiques are off limits.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 19, 2014

My name is Diana Vallera and I am the president of the part time faculty union (PFAC) and a faculty member in the photography department.   Silencing and redirecting because of blindness to class cannot be tolerated.  Onye, are you suggesting that oppression that results from class structures are inappropriate for a diversity and inclusion effort?  Upon reviewing courses at major institutions I find there are countless courses in sociology or anthropology with the title:  Race, Class, &, and Gender. Class, among other social structures that produce advantage to some and harm to others must be addressed as part of any genuine effort to advance diversity and inclusion.

 

The principal means through which Columbia has satisfied its educational mission, has been and continues to be, through those who are called Part time faculty (working for little pay, no retirement, no employer sponsored health insurance)) and often practitioners in their field.  Part time faculty have been and continue to be essential to the education provided at Columbia.The CBA, (collective bargaining agreement) is a mutually shared and agreed upon document between the college and PFAC.  Recalling that the history of Columbia has been one of union animus and disregard for the majority of the faculty (I can post all the national labor board violations that we won as factual support for my statement if institutional memory fails), the CBA was to put systems in place to help improve these conditions so that our contributions and commitments to the college are recognized and so we can teach freely in the classroom.  We fought for principals such as academic freedom, economic justice, shared governance, and seniority because these principals, put into practice and provide a work environment that supports the kind of stability and support that all faculty deserve in order to best serve students. The CBA is a significants step in the right direction but the most difficult step still lies ahead - changing the hearts and minds of those acting out of a model that divides so as to privilege some and harm others.

 

Onye, what I I read your post as saying is that the part time faculty fight for dignity stands in contrast or in opposition to diversity and inclusion.  There is so much to unpack! That is akin to saying that class stands in opposition to diversity and inclusion. We need to stop the impulse to create a hierarchy of disadvantage. Disadvantage resulting from race, class, gender, ability, sexuality, among others are simply furthered by being pitting against each other.  The only winners are those who seek to preserve the status quo.  Class does not trump race and race does not trump gender.  We must all work together, take responsibility to learn where we are shortsighted, listen to the experiences of others, and be willing to grow. 

 

After attending the LGBTQIA forum yesterday and after reading several responses on this forum and in light of years of troubling experiences at Columbia, I strongly urge the college to bring in professionals to provide diversity and inclusion training for all of us! 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 19, 2014

Matthew, however unintentional comments may be, the results are the same.   The recommendation to go post somewhere else communicates that your voice is not welcome here.   I suggest we allow all voices to post freely.  

 
Fereshteh Toosi
on Nov 19, 2014

Everyone is bringing up some valid points, but there seems to be a missing link between the question posed and the direction the conversation is going. I'm having a hard time following. Onye Ozuzu's first post on this thread says "I agree that the question of long time Part Time faculty is a crucial one" before going on to compare the nature of the conversation here to those in other fora. Maybe I'm wrong but the phrase "I agree that..." makes me think that there were earlier post(s) about part-time faculty that she's responding to, but I can't find them. I'm wondering if there is a context to this conversation that I might be missing. Is there a way to see the posts in chronological order?

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 19, 2014

There were several previous posts.  I am not sure which specific post Onye may be referencing but Janina and Dale are a few posts that speak to this issue.  There are others.  

 
Dale Chapman
on Nov 19, 2014

I think the reason adjuncts are posting under this topic is because of the word inclusion.  Many of us have felt for a long time that we are systemically excluded from the college.  There is a faculty senate that excludes us.  As Diana mentioned we are excluded from health benefits and retirement options.  In many departments we were excluded from curricular decisions (this is something the union had to fight like crazy for).  We are excluded from receiving sabbaticals.  We are excluded from the faculty retreat.  We are excluded from job security.

Many of us have been treated as disposable employees for a long time.  If someone is going to bring up the topic of inclusion...the excluded class might have something to say.

 
Fereshteh Toosi
on Nov 19, 2014

OK thanks. I'll just try to catch up.

There are a lot of intersections between all of the topics of all the fora, so it's important that we find a way to connect the dots. The topics overlap a lot and we won't make much progress if we can't begin to mark the intersections between engagement, inclusivity, enrollment, curricula, resources, student success etc.

Precarity is reflected in the demographics of our faculty and in the demographics of our students. I wish my students had the privilege of being full-time students, but they don't. Rather, many of them are full-time workers and their education gets pushed to the margins. Precarity is overwhelmingly present in the world our students are entering, but it doesn't have to be the condition of their education if we don't want it to be. What do we need to do differently to make this school the kind of place that would be good enough for our students to make a living?

In another forum, people are talking about the ways Columbia can position itself as a leader in training students as artists who teach. Most of these "teaching artist" positions will be part-time and low-wage. In other fields, students work as unpaid interns in order to get ahead. Historically marginalized groups are precisely the ones who don't have the privilege to take on these kind of labor conditions. But as a community of artists and scholars we don't have to accept precarity as a condition for our future. How are we actively modeling the kind of best practices we want for our students as artists and teachers? 

 
Raquel Monroe
on Nov 19, 2014

I am particularly disenhartened by not only this thread but the conversations on this forum.  Perhaps "diversity" is an overused term that allows us to circle around a much needed conversation about the interesections of race, class, gender, sexuality, ageism, and differently abled bodies, without addressing them directly.  To include the part-time faculty as a collective disenfranchised minorty group is offensive to actual people who experience oppression on multiple levels inside and outside of Columbia's doors, many of whom are parti-time facutly.  But if you were to ask a part-time faculty member who belongs to an underrepresented community  about the ways in which they experience multiple "isms", I'm sure "part-time faculty member at Columbia College Chicago" will not be their first utterance. To this end, I believe a real discussion about racial oppression and the ways in which white privilege circulates throughout our curricula and hiring practices will only invigorate discussions about gender, sexuality, class, ageism, and differently abled bodies, because it seems we forget that raced bodies are also women, queer, and any of the aforementioned underrepresented categories.

 
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates
on Nov 19, 2014

I am a person of color, a woman and senior PT faculty and I can say that I unequivocally feel excluded, undervalued and marginalized at Columbia College.The precarity that so many of our students deal with is the same precarity that I face as PT faculty at Columbia. I have dedicated 15 years to  teaching at Columbia and I have connected with my students on many levels. Yet, those connections are often broken because I am rarely given a class from semester to semester so that the  continuity and engagement that's so important for student success is maintained. Students know that we are treated like seasonal workers and that we may not be around in the coming semesters to give advice or to teach another class that will build on the last. If we are not valued as teachers, the most important resource at a college, then what does that say about the students value to the college? That their needs and concerns are unimportant? The issues of diversity and inclusion are absoultely related to the concerns of PT faculty . Privilege takes many forms and in this case, we are collectively the disenfranchised, undervalued other.

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 19, 2014

I appreciate everyone's PARTICIPATION and engaged and expression of

various perspectives!  Happy to be one of the community.  I am

contributing this week as a member of the community, NOT as moderator and

I take the difference very seriously.  AGAIN, I will repeat myself.  I

think that the issue of the Part Time Faculty at this institution is a

serious one and an issue that MUST be engaged and resolved.  And I DO see

why it would be brought up in this forum because the PT faculty are a

group who are being affected by a system that is heirarchical and allows

access to privlege differently for different groups. I also think that as

it has been discussed prior to today it is serving to satiate the

conversation and distract us from discussing historically marginalized and

oppressed people.  There have also been several individuals who have asked

and re-asked what we mean by Diversity and Inclusion in the context of

this forum and I am expressing my personal opinion that we need to be

focused on the student body and the world that they will go out to try and

survive in.  I will go ahead and assert that there is probably no more

central contributor to the "problem" of diversity as it affects us now

than the historical institution of RACISM at the very foundations of our

Nation.  I will quote a colleague of mine, Rachael Sharpe who founded an

organization, Creative Strategies for Change, "There is a widely held

belief that the focus on celebrating diversity killed the civil rights

movement. Diversity of any kind in this country cannot be discussed with

out a framework to understand the role of power and oppression. If the

group is in fact diverse, this is even more important."  My previous post

is not meant to silence the perspective of the PT Faculty.  It was meant

to ask if we are keeping power and oppression with respect our society's

status as a Racist Sexist Capitalist Patriarchy in clear focus?  I

actually do not agree that different types of isms cannot trump one

another.  In the example that I gave at the end of my post I would argue

that a solution crafted with respect to classism actually is resulting in

perpetuating systemic racism.   I actually think that NOW THIS conversation

we are having which is inclusive of PT faculty AND acknowledges multiple

layers diversity and of affect and effect.  It is one of the first truly complex conversations we are

having in the open since I have been at Columbia and I welcome and

encourage us to keep going in deeper.  I have been a black woman in Higher

Education for a long time.  What has transpired on this thread today is a model

of a conversation I have had over and over.  In the context of Diversity

and Inclusion converation I mention "people of color" and suggest that the focus

should go there and the response is to accuse me of oppressing/excluding others.  I

could avoid this reoccurence (which incidentally makes me feel unsafe as I

spend most of my days surrounded by people of the dominant race) by simply

reserving my remarks to share with other members of historically

marginalized groups / with people of color.  I have so far in my career

continued to speak in mixed company what is common and truly elementary

level conversation among people of color because I believe that white

culture is capable of change.  More specifically I believe that sustainability of our current organizational strucutres are dependent on white culture changing.  Further I believe that if we do not have

these conversations with white people, with new white people, with white

people who are not used to them, not ready for them, not yet "trained" for

them we are in for more and more trouble as a society.  I think we all

catch enough of the mainstream media to know that to be true.  And I would

assert that at Columbia College Chicago, if we are not digging IN to a

conversation about power and oppression one that definitely has racism covered in

addition to many many other isms that we (Full Time, Part Time, Staff,

Administrators, Security Guards, etc etc) are perhaps not truly qualified to educate our

 

student population.  Period.

 
Fereshteh Toosi
on Nov 23, 2014

Here's a link to a Washington Post article which cites some data in reference to my earlier post about how these structures impact our students after graduation: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/21/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-earn-a-living-from-your-art-youre-probably-white/

 
Expand This Thread
Janina CIezadlo
on Nov 14, 2014 - 7:12 am

I would like to see more creative and critical thinking directed toward the future of part-time faculty at Columbia College. I would especially like each person to be considered, individually, in light of their long-term contribution to the college and the many, many students who have gained from their carefully developed approach to teaching. I do not think that simply replacing part-time faculty with full-time positions, is either ethical or particularly efficient. Cutting our classes and shifting us out of the classes we have taught for so long is certainly an exclusionary practice, no matter how it is framed. The AAUP advises schools to bring their part-time people who have been with the school for any substantial length of time into some variety of more stable appointments, rather than cutting them back. Many of us, have been earning our (meager) livings at Columbia, without any sustained cultivation by the college, despite the experience we bring and careers in the arts that we sustain. Some departments, such as FYS, seem to invest in their part-time faculty (many of whom were recruited in the first place for their excellent teaching skills) thereby investing in their students.

 

The union has done what it can to protect and restore some stability to Columbia faculty, but it seems to me, that while a cadre of lawyers and others try to either honor or fight the contract, the spirit of the contract has been lost. The union has evolved out of a desire to recognize both the contributions and needs of part-time faculty. I have trouble understanding exactly why or to whose benefit an adversarial relationship has developed. We are people who bring unique and substantial talents, institutional memory and an uncontested long-term dedication to the kind of students Columbia cultivates. I am sure that there is a way the diverse members of this institution can work for the inclusion of part-time faculty rather than treating them as an undifferentiated class of disposable workers. Inclusion is a key concept in addressing this problem.

 

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Responses(2)

Dale Chapman
on Nov 15, 2014

There have been a number of posts where adjunct faculty have expressed feeling marginalized.  I wonder what people in other capacities throughout the community think about this issue.

 
Elizabeth-Anne Stewart
on Nov 19, 2014

To be specific, inclusivity at Columbia must involve respect for the wisdom and experience that, in a conscious adult, can come from "age." Students value both and are short-changed when new hires straight from grad school replace seasoned teachers who are experts in their fields. Has Columbia jumped on the band-wagon of "YOUNG IS BETTER; AGE IS IRRELEVANT"? Is it a coincidence that many of the faculty who have had course loads reduced -- myself included-- are senior in age and status -- and mostly female? Or perhaps this is an economic move -- new hires, with few credit hours in the classroom, can be paid less than those of us who have taught 100+ credit hours. What might make economic sense for the college, however, is certainly economicallydisastrous for those for whom Columbia used to be our primary employer. Here we are, the "almost aged," scrambling to pay rent/mortgage, medical bills and other necessities, while scrambling equally hard to teach well and find additional sources of revenue. Sadly, such a lifestyle is not sustainable at any age.

 

 
Expand This Thread
Victoria Shannon
on Nov 13, 2014 - 2:26 pm

I believe that hiring a diversity coordinator would be a step in the right direction.  Also, I believe that a curriculum diversity coordinator would be prepared to guide the college in creating new diversity-related courses and help instructors currently teaching classes to incorporate diversity issues into those classes.  For example, we do not have any courses that solely address transgender people, we do not have an LGBT psychology course, we do not have a course dealing with disabilities in the academy, and classes we do have that deal with gender issues are being cut at an alarming rate.  A diversity coordinator could insure that these classes are available for our diverse student body.  In terms of incorporating diversity into existing classes, we have a class focusing on the holocaust in which LGBT people, who were frequently victims during the holocaust, are not discussed; I believe that is an egregious omission.  Although the college has an excellent multiculturalism department in place and many other offices to help specific students (e.g., the office of students with disabilities), a diversity curriculum coordinator could provide guidance to faculty who simply do not know how to incorporate diversity into their classes. I know many faculty would like to be as inclusive as possible, and I believe a diversity coordinator would be of massive benefit to the college.

 
CLARA FITZPATRICK
on Nov 13, 2014 - 10:35 am

I am so disappointed that we keep treking along as if we know what diversity and inclusion mean at CCC.  Are we serious about change and what will real diversity and inclusion look like if it's ever achieved?

 

Responses(3)

Matthew  Shenoda
on Nov 13, 2014

Hi Clara and all:

I certainly understand your position and cannot speak for anyone but myself on this. When I speak about this issue in the context of CCC I am foremost talking about race because I see this as the biggest area of need and because I also see this as a foundational point in the United states, which is to say I do not think you can understand much about this society without a true understanding of race and race relations. This of course would ultimately include gender, sexuality, disability and a host of other identites. so to me a real diversity would not only be reflected in the bodies we see around campus but also in the consciousness and work we see as well. 

 
Jeff Schiff
on Nov 13, 2014

Willing to define what it is/should be for the CCC community, Clara?

 
Friedhard Kiekeben
on Nov 13, 2014

I believe that - with the strange and unusual sort of institution that Columbia College is, for better and for worse - diversity, a multitude of positions and approaches has long been the most defining feature of this institution. While not always matching ivy league standards in any particular discipline or program, Columbia used to be regarded as the school that allowed for unusual juxtapositions and cross-disciplinary approaches that would would be hard to accomplish in other institutions; this was at the heart of our 'institutional profile', and some of our best students made the most of interdisciplinarity. There is strong evidence that recent endeavors trying to create more streamlined programs and more distinct disciplines are not achieving what they are purporting to achieve, while helping diminish the multi-disciplinary nature of study at this unique institution; thus possibly explaining the significant drop in student interest?

 
Expand This Thread
Jeff Schiff
From the Moderator: Jeff Schiff
on Nov 13, 2014 - 1:12 am

Welcome to our ongoing conversation about diversity and inclusion. This week, we'll turn our attention to the training and resources you believe are necessary to create, foster, and/or sustain our greater community's commitment to a (more) diverse and inclusive educational environment.

 

Responses(10)

Sheila Carter
on Nov 13, 2014

I would like to put forth to the college community that Multicultural Affairs’(MCA) programming, resources and partnerships are powerful tools in sharing our cultural experiences. Training and learning can happen in many ways. Whether it’s during a luncheon where the topic of discussion is race relations or various cultural celebrations, workshops, cultural student organizations and other co-curricular programming, we strive to engage the college community in topics of diversity and inclusion. We are always seeking faculty and community partners to work with us on our programming in order to broaden our reach and our focus. Multicultural Affairs is an important resource that serves the entire community, not just under-represented students. We all have much to learn about each other and MCA is a student hub where that learning can take place. Please partner with us to help make that happen on a larger scale.

 
Matthew  Shenoda
on Nov 13, 2014

I think we need to avoid the term "training" when talking about diversity  and inclusion, though I understand the ideas behind it. The history of "sensitivity training" in the corporate sector has often confused issues for educational institutions. Ultimately issues of diversity are practiced and embodied, they are lived and experienced. That said, when specifically looking at, say issues of race, which to me stand out as needing some serious attention here, we need to create an environment that contextualizes history and respects both our colleagues and our students as established and emerging intellectuals. Setting a framework for shared language and concepts is critical in setting people on the right path to begin, if they choose, to embody and engage these issues in their work and life. For our students  there are a myriad of ways this can be done including introductory courses on race, gender, sexuality, etc that can be required or embedded into first year curriculum. I do think it's necessary however to ensure that there is a sustained focus on the history of these topics that will give enough of a foundation. At one

of my former institutions I taught such a class as an intro, often to 100 plus students that basically gave an overview of institutional racism from 1492- the present. This allowed them to locate themselves in that trajectory no matter their race or background and served as a solid foundation. As for our faculty and staff there are some great organizations that do something similar in a more condensed and advanced manner.   
Sheila Carter
on Nov 13, 2014

Matthew,

I agree with your thoughts about training. I believe this creative community can exchange and discuss issues of race and inclusivity in much more effective ways. If I could "re-tweet" you, I would!!!! :)

 
Jeff Schiff
on Nov 13, 2014

Love the student-centered approach to this issue, Sheila. Odd to say it, but so often "they" get lost in our considerations.

 
Jeff Schiff
on Nov 13, 2014

Matthew:

I, too, am concerned about the contemporary equivalent of "sensitivity training." Still, even a diverse faculty needs help understanding and integrating core "us and them" issues. Would you please point us to "the organizations that do something similar in a more condensed and advanced manner" for faculty.

 
Lance Cox
on Nov 13, 2014

When we are thinking about MCA (so important), we must also recognize that at least in my experience as a student, MCA is severely underfunded and understaffed. Particularly I want to recognize that the coordinator position for the LGBTQ Office of Culture and Community has been vacant for months. Yes, the issues here are particularly nuance, BUT we should not be in a position where queer students on campus have no office person to go to for an entire semester.

Multicultural Affairs is incredibly valuable to students, much more so than administration and budget generating folks seem to see.

 
Suzanne Blum Malley
on Nov 13, 2014

Thanks to Onye Ozuzu , I have recently become aware of The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. I know she brought them to the Dance Department for a workshop and I beleive this is the kind of thing we could/should all engage in, along the lines of what Jeff Schiff was asking in response to @Matthew Shenoda. Instead of "diversity training," it's an exercise in understanding how "racism is inextricably woven and constructed into the founding principles of the United States." I'm sure we could expand from race into gender roles, heteronormativity... 

 
Matthew  Shenoda
on Nov 13, 2014

The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond is exactly the group I would recommend.

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 17, 2014

The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond stands out (in my experience) as an organization that cuts through the "fuzziness" of diversity training and offers a rigourous, intensive, academically focused and analytically specific workshop on race.

I think that race is crucial to keep in primary focus in engaging the issue of diversity because it gets to that question of why we are talking about diversity as a discrete issue in an of itself.  If there were not some problem with the diversity in our institution, in our nation, in our culture, there would be no need to surface it in a strategic planning process; diversity is our natural state.  We discuss it in these contexts because our diversity is being handicapped in some way and we are seeking to grasp how, why, and what we can do about it.  Understanding race, racism more specifically, and its history, sturcture and operational mechanisms is crucial to effective engagement with issues of diversity.  

 
Kirk  Irwin
on Nov 21, 2014

Perhaps the conversation has moved on to a discussion of intersectionality.

 

  1. Intersectionality (or intersectionalism) is the study of intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.
 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 12, 2014 - 7:46 pm

How can we best educate and train the CCC community to embrace and enact inclusion and diversity?

 

Responses(1)

Chad Wilson
on Nov 20, 2014

I think a topic as sensitive and commonly misunderstood as diversity needs repetition. We need to be discussing it in as many ways and mediums as possible, and as frequently as possible.

Just one person called the diversity coordinator is not enough. We need everyone to be discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, class, ability, age, size... All the time in every conversation.

We need frequent articles, regular training, paid support positions designed to cultivate information, conduct assessment and evaluation, facilitators, counselors, trainers, all devoted to the topic of getting our community on the same page about what diversity and inclusion even IS - how it fits into our mission, what our students think and learn about it, how it impacts their experience, and how our faculty/staff talk about it and present it.

 
Expand This Thread
Robert Hanserd
on Nov 12, 2014 - 1:36 pm

In defining diversity as unique to this institution we need to address parameters of the diversity as rhetoric and action. Regarding the rhetoric it is easy to appreciate bell hooks and many other theoretical discussions of diversity. Should our idea of diversity attempt to wrestle with its meaning to our place and time? What lessons can the history and culture in Chicago and within our institution teach us about defining diversity?  As a creative arts school how can we promote bell hooks vision by conjoining it to the best and brightest ideas of diversity from expertise we already possess? In the classroom and through out-of-class learning many articulate and example real conversation around race, class and gender. Perhaps those marginalized and acted upon most frequently (faculty, staff and students) should take the lead in dismantling the flaws that ultimately marginalize and negate their voice. For example; frequently, those who have most benefitted from racism take the lead in contemporary assertions of the invalidity of race and championing a post-racial vision. What does it look like when non-whites contribute more critically to this dialogue? Regarding action the plausibility of a “Diversity Officer” position that could focus on managing and monitoring statistical data and outcomes is important. But if the position is dedicated to these efforts exclusively, we perhaps downplay an important distinction between civil rights (i.e. voting rights, intentional discrimination and police brutality) and affirmative action (discriminatory outcomes and statistical measures). In a sense this approach may downplay historical and cultural meaning in local, national and international contexts.  Should the diversity position be a faculty person who could authenticate cultural competencies, diversity discourse in curriculum design, and promote student-centered learning, faculty collaboration and school and citywide partnerships? In this way the appointee could craft connectivity with the very students we advocate for. Relative to racial diversity Gene Demby’s article on NPR’s Code Switch “Why We Have So Many Terms For 'People Of Color’ ” is an excellent starting point to address some of the challenges of diversity rhetoric and action.

 

Responses(1)

Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 12, 2014

Robert thank you for this article.  You highlight here the "elephant" in our conversation... We are focused on a discussion of "Diversity and Inclusion", which we all at some level know are terms that have subsumed within them the more charged words, Black, Latino, African-Amerian, Gay, Lesbian, Trans-gender, oppressed, marginalized etc, etc.  As a moderator, I think that the neutralizing affect of the suppression of these more charged terms is inhibiting our conversation.  I wonder if many people with a lot to say are remaining silent because of it.  How can we begin to go deeper?  

 
Expand This Thread
Shanique Palmer
on Nov 12, 2014 - 12:50 pm

As Louis Silverstein mentioned, "Having a diverse student body, if social class is factored into the equation, will prove to be even more challenging in the future". Financially my parents are middle class and financially stable. However, not stable enough to dedicate their whole paycheck to my tuition. Financial aid expects my parents to contribute a substantial amount of money to my tuition. What financial aid doesn't take into consideration is the fact that my parents have: bills, mortgage, car notes, insurance, groceries to buy, etc.

 I'm a minority, and coming to Columbia I'm sure I have a different perspective than the majority (Caucasion). Academically Columbia has a wonderful curriculum; the work is challenging but with enough time and dedication is achievable. I'm transferring once the Fall 2014 semester is over partially due to a lack of diversity. Not having Greek Life, or sports teams contributes to this lack of diversity. Although Columbia is an arts school it's limiting itself by excluding Greek Life and sports teams; these are different outlets and ways for students to express themselves.

 

Responses(2)

Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 12, 2014

Shanique can you tell me more about how Greek Life and Sports could particularly serve minority students on a campus like Columbia College Chicago?  What are the things that organizations like these offer to students who participate?

 
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014

I'm so sorry to be reading this many weeks after you posted, Shanique, but what would it take for you to stay at Columbia?

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 09, 2014 - 11:06 pm

How can CCC foster and sustain diverse and inclusive student, faculty, administrative, and support staff recruitment and hiring?

 

Responses(6)

Luther Hughes
on Nov 10, 2014

I think one big thing is making all students and faculty feel like they are appreciated. And just as important, make them feel like they are represented in a positive way in and outside the classroom. I don't it's necessarily about "fosterting" diversity on campus, but more so creating a community where students and faculty feel included. This could look like having required "diversity" courses in classrooms. Or giving a lot more light to programs on campus such as Multicultural Affairs, Conaway Achievement Program, Honors program, etc. That way students and faculty won't feel alone and indifferent on campus. 

 
Monica Hairston OConnell
on Nov 11, 2014

I think someone mentioned cluster hires. Stats do support that more "diverse" faculty gets hired when it happens in groups or clusters. Mentoring is also important for students and faculty. Can we could brainstorm about ways to instituionalize mentoring? More specific and supportive orientations  (students and faculty) and faculty retreats. Any modes of bridgework and advocacy should formally transfer to deans, department heads, admin--not be the sole responsibility of "diverse" and frequently under-resourced individual members of the Columbia community.

 
Matthew  Shenoda
on Nov 12, 2014
Frantz Fanon once wrote, “A national culture is not a folk-lore [but] the whole body of efforts made by a people in the sphere of thought to describe, justify and praise the action through which that people has created itself and keeps itself in existence.”    If we understand a diverse faculty and student body as part of the "national culture(s)" that Fanon speaks of then we must also understand the collective work necessary to highlight what he calls the "whole body of efforts." By its very nature this means that no singular approach can tackle these issues, but rather that we must think of collective and sustainable practices that can foster this kind of environment. Practically speaking, one example that Monica has mentioned are cluster hires, which have a solid history of being effective. They have been most effective when along with these hires institutions have introduced new curriculum and programming as a result of and in parallel with these hires. In short, this becomes a targeted approach to bring on board a team of people who not only exist within the institution but who are given a focused and collective pedagogical and curricular mission to build and sustain an intellectual and artistic set of cultures that work to "keep in existence” the ideas and approaches we value. Ultimately this must be named and defined. It needs to be explicit rather than alluded to. 
Soo La Kim
on Nov 12, 2014

One way to coordinate efforts around diversity & inclusion (hiring, student recruitment, curriculum & programming, competencies, etc.) is to have a centralized hub or center along the lines of the Center for Race & Gender at UC Berkeley, which came about in response to a 1999 Ethnic Studies Student Strike. The CRG is primarily research driven, but one could certainly imagine a more teaching- and student-centered center. This way, cluster hires would be affiliated with such a center and could develop interdisciplinary courses around certain broad topics, issues, or questions. If the directorship of such a center were a rotating position among faculty, with some established admin support, there could be flexibility in terms of the focus of programming but consistency and visibility for drawing together work with shared interests and goals.

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 12, 2014

These are some terrific ideas.  Monica, Matthew and Soo La, I look forward to brainstorming with you later this week as we start to discuss resources and diversity how some of these ideas might be sustainably resourced.  Matthew, I thought this statement particularly evocative, "no singular approach can tackle these issues, but rather that we must think of collective and sustainable practices ".  I think its interesting because a multi-pronged approach also sounds local, it sounds engaged and it sounds like many small contributions which might not drain any individual unduly but with broad participation could add up to a powerful effective movement.

 
Peter Bagdonas
on Nov 20, 2014

Here are three steps regarding building an inclusive and economically sustainable Columbia College Chicago:

  1. Hire more alumni to work within their graduated major.
  2. Alumni have the opportunity to voluntarily donate a percentage of their salary to pay for student loans.
  3. Alumni work in the industry and have gainful employment.

Finally Federal Work Study should INCLUDE all students with major specific work that builds a students portfolio, reel, etc.

 
Expand This Thread
CLARA FITZPATRICK
on Nov 07, 2014 - 5:50 pm

CDOs go back a long way in PWIs.  Although they were often called by various names, some unprintable, but others such as Student Support Officers, Affirmative Action Officers, Directors of Multicultural Studies, and on and on.  Before the word Diversity entered the lexicon of the academy, the populations served were primarily people of color, who the USDE beleived to bring deficits that needed to be remediated.  Enter "diversity" and we are back to my original question: What do we mean by diversity? What group is going to sit and rationally, scholarly, and honestly hammer out what CCC means by diversity.  One size does not fit all.  Many of the comments have talked about the lack of courses or cuts in "diversity" courses. Does this examine what CCC means by diversity?  Is diversity included in everything we teach and actually practice? We at CCC all believe we bear no bias, but white privilege and the microinequties of those who are not white often cloud judgements.  I would like to see a committe made up of diverse racial, economic, gender, and experential CCC personnel to hash out what diversity means for CCC.  As one of the moderators said, CDOs pepper the academy, all with mixed results, no matter what the model. What do we want CCC to look like and how do we want CCC to act when we have achieved what every college seeks, diversity?

 

 
Onye Ozuzu
From the Moderator: Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 06, 2014 - 10:24 am

Welcome to the conversation.  Thank you for joining.   This first question of the week is intended to stimulate conversation about BOTH engaging diverse populations within classrooms and diverse pedagogical processes among faculty.  

 
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 06, 2014 - 9:41 am

What impact do teaching methodologies have on diversity and inclusion, and how should this commitment be reflected in our teaching?

 

Responses(8)

shawn shiflett
on Nov 06, 2014

It has been my experience at Columbia College Chicago that truly innovative teaching methodologies are paradoxically both embraced and attacked.  Of late, the attack often comes in the form of the phrase “best practices” which often amounts to little more than  “common practices.”  Given Columbia’s mission as well our dependence on tuition dollars, our economic survival will always depend on how successfully we define ourselves through innovation and diversity in the classroom.  In order to get beyond our current institutionalized identity crisis, we must look to our past as we change and secure our future.   

 
Robin Bargar
on Nov 07, 2014

The Nov. 6 question is nuanced, and tracing its full implications identifies a powerful lens to view teaching practice, and through teaching practice view the discourse on diversity. By reflecting on teaching methodologies the criteria for diversity may be applied to examine the diversity discussion. Teaching methodology considers the bidirectional views from instructor to student and from student to instructor, independent of topic of instruction. This mirror of learning transaction may provide an alternative framework that can address the concern raised by George Bailey, that the framed platform of diversity discourse controls the terms of reflection of the discourse, pre-limiting its outcomes (see this forum, Oct. 31).

Forum contributors have cited curricular examples where “diversity” is a subject matter of instruction, which indicates a student will achieve subject matter knowledge as a learning outcome.  To liberate or reframe the discourse as teaching methodology, it will be enlightening if forum participants bring forward examples of diversity-enabled teaching-learning transactions, independent of taught subject matter. Anecdotal examples of diversity as the “way” and “we” of learning experience, not diversity as “it” and “that” subject matter, may foster paths to diversity in thinking and acting through teaching that could be adopted across many fields of study.

 

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 07, 2014

Thank you Shawn and Robin.  I hear both of you pointing to the "way" the "we" the "containter" of the content in the classroom as being a powerful place to locate the presence/impact/import and perhaps the lack thereof of diversity in our work.  I appreciate the reference to George Bailey's Oct 31 post where in many ways he drew our attention to a similar awareness in this very discussion. 

How does our discussion of diverse pedogogical practice connect us back to the root reasons for having the discussions in the first place?  What does it have to do with the questions of "justice/injustice, equity, sense of belonging, sharing of power and other related issues"(George Bailey)?

 
Fereshteh Toosi
on Nov 07, 2014

The short answer to the first part of the question is that the impact that teaching methodologies have is immense. Here are some basic examples of how I incorporate the principles of diversity into teaching a discussion-based seminar:

  • Talk about preferred gender pronouns on the first day of class when introductions are made. Include yourself in this discussion.
  • Vary classroom methods, ie size of the discussion (partnered, small group, and full-class). Recognize that speaking in front of large groups is not a skill all students have yet. Other students have been taught that their voices are important and they tend to take up more space. Including diverse methods of student participation allows space for everyone's contributions to be included. Pay attention and start to notice if there is an imbalance in the ways in which students participate and contribute. Start to make adjustments.
  • Avoid asking students of different backgrounds to "represent" their culture. It's not their job to educate or inform you or the class about the practices of their culture. There are good ways to highlight personal experience, but calling out individual students is not one of them.
  • Don't hesitate to pause the conversation to ask students to reconsider their own language (ie undocumented or illegal?), and be able to question yourself. Don't assume there is a "we" in the classroom. Did "we" all vote? There may be students who are not citizens, who are not eligible to vote.
  • Acknowledge that everyone is a human first, and adjust your language. ie "people who are incarcerated" or "people with disabilities".
  • Recognize that many of our students are working full-time or part-time to get through school, and/or they may be supporting others financially. Others may be struggling with health issues. Get to know their lives so that you can be empathetic to them as a whole person.
 
Paula Brien
on Nov 08, 2014

One tool I would be very excited to see Columbia planners consider and adopt is universal design. Universal design can be applied not only in our physical space but to our technical environment, our processes, and our instruction. I believe it can deliver real inclusion and address the opportunities surrounding diversity, in all facets of “diversity” as a concept.  Read more about universal design in education here:

Center for Universal Design in Education (CUDE) at the University of Washington at http://www.washington.edu/doit/CUDE/

 

 
Timothy McCaskey
on Nov 10, 2014

I appreciate Fereshteh's post, especially the second point.  Though I teach science courses full of "right or wrong" answers framed either in lecture or lab, discussions are critical, and exposing a diverse set of ideas is important at an early stage.

For my first few years here, I would ask students to make a hypothesis about a demo or vote on the answer to a lesson preview.  If I leave the start of the discussion to the "first hand up," I'll often get a correct answer from the student with the most previous science experience and the discussion evaporates soon afterward.  If I reframe discussion starters as a multiple choice "show of hands" poll, I would get silence there as well; many students would abstain, and others would have their votes swayed due to social pressures.

Recently (as is done in other departments), I've used anonymous clickers to run these conceptual polls, and everyone gets participation points for voting.  Anonymity means that no student fears connection of their answer with "wrongness" (unless they choose to volunteer it), and often they will see they're not alone in their thinking.  Though science is not a democracy, I can at least show each group of students that other intelligent peers come to the same hypotheses and focus on similar ideas.  After making sure all the germane incoming ideas are defended, we can see or work out the right answer together in a way that hopefully helps them see the value of critical thinking.

Overcoming silence and trepidation is an important part of the learning process.  Fereshteh's other points help us take care in doing that.

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 12, 2014

Thank you Timothy and Fereshteh,  I hear you both bringing to the table powerful methodologies for engaging the diversity of the student populations in our classrooms.  Do others have similar tools?  

Are there ways that our students need to be helped to recogize and learn to appreciate diversity among their faculty?  

Do faculty who identify in historically underrepresented groups or teach cultural content representative of these groups find that they have to develop particular methodologies to address their classrooms? 

 
Lance Cox
on Nov 13, 2014

Fereshteh--

Yes! More more more. As a student, instructors who have done the things you've listed have been the instructors I have connected to. Really the only ones I can learn from--especially if they can recognize that they are learning too. Learning does not exist in a model that dumps knowledge into the empty student vessel. We all have things that we know, that we need to learn, that we need to teach. In my ideal world, all instructors take their winter break to read bell hooks, but that's probably unrealistic.

 
Expand This Thread
Elise Tanner
on Nov 05, 2014 - 1:56 pm

Please, sign the petition linked below.

"Is Columbia College REALLY committed to diversity? In spring 2015, over 200 fewer students will have access to diversity classes...Every senior adjunct who has lost courses appears to be a female who has been with the department for many years...These college curriculum decisions impoverish the course menu and send a loud anti-diversity message to all.  We respectfully request that Columbia College Chicago stand by its declared commitment to diversity - - including curricular diversity - - and reinstate the race, gender, language arts and LGBTQ courses that have been reduced or eliminated for the Spring 2015 semester."

 
Elise Tanner
on Nov 05, 2014 - 1:46 pm

I am writing here in response to recent cuts to minority-based courses, specifically Gay & Lesbian Studies.

Victoria Shannon's Gay & Lesbian Studies class completely changed my life. For the better. And I have heard many other students from this class express the same sentiment. A response like this to a single class is a rarity, a treasure, that should not be taken lightly

Yet, this class has been reduced to one section starting next spring. So far, the school has released one statement that claims declining enrollment means a decrease in sections to courses with less student demand. This argument makes absolutely no sense when applied to Gay & Lesbian Studies because there is a constant and increasing demand for this class. Many students have to WAIT and try multiple times to gain a place in the class, and this is with the current TWO sections.

By cutting this course and others, hundreds of students will miss out on the invaluable, life-changing lessons these classes impart. This is a downright SHAME.

 
Deb R. Lewis
on Nov 03, 2014 - 7:46 pm

A part of the Fiction Writing Program's approach to teaching has required one-on-one student-teacher conferences, during which an instructor will guide a student through a series of writing/editing/comparing exercises that juxtaposes various samples of a student's own work and leads student writers to discoveries of patterns -- strong or otherwise -- in their own work. It takes an hour of steady work during the conference and it takes an hour for an instructor to prepare for such a conference.

These conferences are so important that full-time faculty could cancel class sessions in order to carry them. Adjuncts have not been permitted to cancel classes, but instead were paid at a conferences rate (less than the contracted teaching rate for classroom work).

On August 25th, Creative Writing Faculty received the following from Suzanne Blum Malley:

Dear DCW Faculty:

Please see this new policy on extra-contracutal pay for meeting with students outside of class. 

*********

Effective immediately, the College will no longer provide any additional, extra-contractual pay for full or part-time faculty for meeting with students outside of class time. Across the college and in best practices in higher education, meeting with students beyond scheduled class hours, whether it is to advise, to provide feedback, and/or to consult on any aspect of progress in a course, is considered part of the regular work of teaching a course or advising for a program.

**********

Thank you.

Suzanne

The faculty were unpleasantly surprised, and through the work of PFAC and the Provost, the following statement was issued by Provost Stanley Wearden, 2014 November 3, 12:45 pm:

Diana,

I have asked Creative Writing to continue making payments for the fall 2014 semester, while you and Terence discuss any effects bargaining, for conferences between adjuncts and Fiction students regarding the students’ written work.  I also have asked the Department to communicate that fact to adjuncts who teach in Fiction.

In addition, I plan to meet with the dean and the chair to learn more about the decision to discontinue additional payments for such conferences.

Best,

Stan

As this conversation continues, I would like to ask that Fiction faculty be treated as equal partners in the Creative Writing Department. Much of the merger that created the department has not been the collegial conjoining of equals. 

In many cases, we have not been granted recognition of our expertise -- to point to an instance among many, the lightened requirements for the MFA Fiction thesis (it was 200 pages of publishable quality, now  revised to 120 pages) occured without the assent or input of the whole of the Fiction grad faculty. In one other example, adjuncts with long experience in certain programs (Writers at Lunch, Young Author Awards -- a high school writing competiton, and others) were replaced or had their program discontinued entirely with no explanation, and in some cases without the professional courtesy of clear and direct communication.

Historically, the Fiction Writing program has  had a better-than-school-wide average of student retention. Our inservice meetings (which we are told there is no money in the budget for), our student conferences, Writers at Lunch, and Story Week have all contributed to those retention efforts. Faculty exchanged information about students and trends in their work, as a unified faculty we adjusted and strengthened our teaching skills through an exchange of ideas, students felt the challenges and a greater engagement in their program, their own work, and the wider writing community (be that departmental, Chicagoland, regional, or national in scope).

The Fiction Writing faculty had a successful, valuable program prior to the merger, with a robust, united faculty who now feels undermined at every turn. "Academic Freedom" has been given as one excuse for these changes, but top-down, unilateral decisions have nothing to do with freedom.

 

 

 

 

Responses(5)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

Thanks Deb for sharing your personal experience with changing curriculi and mergers.  How can we help ensure all faculty voices are included in mergers or the creation of curriculum? 

Matthew and others suggested training.  What might this look like?  

 

 
Victoria Shannon
on Nov 04, 2014

Given Dr. Kim's public commitment to "diversity and inclusion," it seems logical that the college would start with courses we already have that promote diversity and inclusion instead of watching HHSS Chair Steve Corey cut these classes down to the bare bones.  I will speak about Gay & Lesbian Studies, Part I and Part II because it is those classes that concern me the most, and I know more about what these classes offer to students.  These classes are vital to Columbia's curriculum!  For many students, these classes provide the opportunity to learn about the LGBT community for the first time, and students take what they learn in these classes into the world with them as they negotiate their identities and make their way in life.  These courses expose students to many individuals and organizations within the LGBT community and show them how and where to find resources they need now and in the future.  Cutting these classes to one section (when there have been two for several years and three before that - sections that ALWAYS FILL immediately) is a disservice to 50 students each semester.  Cutting these courses also forces students to take classes they are NOT interested in because the classes they want to take are not offered.  Students are our bread and butter, and I think it's time we started listening to them.  It's time to put our publicly stated goals into practice and, to do that, someone with authority MUST start communicating with those of us who are in the classroom already doing what our new president is saying we must do.  To publicly ask in a town hall meeting, "Do you know that we don't even hace a relationship with the Center on Halsted?" ignores 1) that gay and lesbian studies teachers have relationships with most LGBT organizations, and 2) that Columbia College recently hired Precious Davis from the Center on Halsted to work in our Multicultural Department.  These are the kinds of things new administrators need to educate themselves about before they make public statements that are patently false.  We have an Office of Gay & Lesbian Student Concerns at Columbia, but it is currently not staffed.  That office is primarily focused on social aspects our LGBT students.  What we need is a multicultural curriculum coordinator who can 1) bring Columbia up to snuff on LGBT-related courses, 2) advise current instructors in all departments about hwo to include LGBT issues into their courses, and 3) provide classes that cover material our LGBT students need to know as they navigate through college.  DePaul University is a private, Catholic college that offers a MINOR in gay & Lesbian studies.  How many LGBT-related classes does Columbia offer?  The classes listed on the VP's list of "inclusive" classes certainly do not all include LGBT-related material.  The college needs to step up, and it needs to do immediately.  Cutting classes that represent "diversity and inclusion," not only affects students; it affects senior adjunct faculty who, in many cases, CREATED these classes in the first place because of student demands for representation and validation.  Why not consider cutting a class called "The Simpsons" instead?

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 05, 2014

There are at least two very important issues Victoria raises in this post. One is the way in which courses are selected to be pulled.  Specifically, courses that support diversity or inclusion must hold a special status if a commitment to diversity and inclusion is genuine on the part of the institution.  The other is the reminder of the valuable resource we have in the faculty who teach these courses, created the courses, and voices that need to be heard when curriculum discussions are considered.  How can the institution support these values and resources?  

 

 
Germania Solorzano
on Nov 06, 2014

Deb mentioned the one-hour conference that has been an important part of the Fiction Writing program.  I agree that it is an invaluable experience for students. 

The other thing mentioned was the regular faculty meetings.  We used to meet 3s's a semester.  Once before the semester, once around week 5 and again around week 10. We've gone without regular meetings for over a year now and the difference is felt.  

First, we don't have a regular system of checking in with each other, problem-solving, noticing trends in student performance or other issues.  Second, we don't have a good system for communicating information, other than email, which especially in the case of the compensation for conference issues, has been remarkably lacking (for a communications school).  But third, and maybe more importantly, especially in light of the merged programs into one department, we do not know our colleagues.  Much talk was made of this being a real true merger.  We were told that this would be great for collaboration.  But we have had very few opportunities to even sit in the same room together.  This is especially true for part-time faculty.  

I fail to see how this lack of communication is helpful to our students in navigating their educational experience.

 
Patricia McNair
on Nov 07, 2014

A valued, informed, and well-trained faculty knows how to create a democratic and effectively diverse classroom. This takes continued engagement by all parties, and must be supported by the administration, financially and philosophically. Too often the cry of "Academic Freedom" is used to undercut strong, cohesive, progressive methodologies, thereby dilluting the experience for all of our students.

 
Expand This Thread
Kevin Obomanu
on Nov 03, 2014 - 7:35 pm

When I was a TV student at Columbia, one course that helped shape my envolving world view was Culture, Race and Media in the TV Department. This class gave me essential tools to understand my impact as a media maker, improve and widen my critical thinking skills and further develop/enhance my own ethical responsibilities. This was required in my major for graduation, but for many majors it is optional. 

Since everyone at Columbia graduates with a degree in which the will be creating some form of media that will be absorbed by the masses, a course like this is imperative and would possibly ground students in their chosen course work, while giving applicable tools and thoughts for their daily interactions with others. 

This course caused me to look inward before I project outward and consider how one action may benefit the greater good of Columbia's culture and also the society at large. 

The qualities in this course can also be beneficial to faculty and staff as a part of their diversity training. I know it has and is being used for faculty and staff, but if it mandated for everyone, I think this will definitely encourage critical sensitivity in our students and faculty/staff, while additionally providing safer spaces for discussion when issues do arise. 

Overall, this is a resource we already have which, personally, has been amazing. I think if we explore our existing resources and see how to better utilize them, we can be more inclusive as a Columbia body and broaden our understanding of diversity. 

 

Responses(3)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

Kevin,

 

Thanks for sharing your personal experience and reminding us of the many resources we already have at Columbia!   I'd like to connect you with Lott Hill.  You both shared some resources and courses already available at Columbia.  How can we make a commitment that all students have this exposure?  Should certain courses be part of the core curriculum?  Other suggestions?  

 

How can we better utilize the resources already available at Columbia?  

 
Kevin Obomanu
on Nov 14, 2014

I'm very familiar with Lott Hill since he is an active advisor for Common Ground and he definitely is frequently present in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

I think the best way to make the committment for students is make it a graduation requirement, as in a part of the core curriculum. Of course, that would be easier said than done, since currently many of those teaching CRM are part-time. It would definitely involve either hiring more qualified educators to teach these courses of making some of our exisiting part-time CRM instructors full-time. 

A sad part about CRM that I noticed while taking the course was the push back from a particular group that typically does not face disenfranchisement - the white, straight and privileged male. The course does focus on how many of us who do not fit into the description face varied difficulties based on how many societies are socially constructed, which in many cases falls on the political and social decisions made by white, straight and privileged males. Those who do fit the description seems to feel offended and take the subject matter personally, not realizing it is not necessarily their fault that these social constructions exist, but of people from the past and present who share these "isms" to assume, expand and solidify their power, as in not the individual student personally. Many of those students tend to drop out within the first week or so, but not all. This is a greater difficulty than hiring educators: how to best illustrate cultural issues frankly a diverse classroom, but yet express that these issues are not personal attacks on any of the students' character.

 
Suzanne McBride
on Dec 05, 2014

As we think about what college-wide core courses are required of all students, I think Kevin makes a good point about Culture, Race & Media. I've heard good things about this course from both students who've taken it and teachers who've facilitaited it - and hope one day to teach it. My hat is off to Beau Beaudoin, who developed the course, and all those who have been teaching it.

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Nov 02, 2014 - 11:03 pm

Should diversity and inclusion be considered when creating or revising major and minor curricula? If so, how?

 

Responses(7)

Onye Ozuzu
on Nov 03, 2014

Thanks Louis for this commentary.  I think that you bring up an important question.  How do we ensure even as we diversify faculty, who may then diversify curriculum, that the deeper frameworks, that describe those "other" sytems of identity, culture, time, space etc come to bear?  We can invite the fish to come and join our community but unless we resolve the question of water our invitation is mute.  

How can an institution like ours address such an issue given our current situation?  

 
Matthew  Shenoda
on Nov 03, 2014

Of course it should. We are an educational institution so any honest commitment to values MUST be reflected in the curriculum otherwise it is quite literally extra-curicular and therefore not really a commitement. If we do not infuse these values inot our curriculum then we are not in any real way committed to diversity or inclusion, we are at best rhetorically engaged in the idea, but not structurally committed as we must be.

In terms of how we do this, we do this first by making sure that the faculty (those who create curriculum) are not only committed to the ideas of diversity and inclusion, but are actually trained and expert in various elemets of diversity and inclusion in their given field. Commitement is not sufficent, this cannot be stressed enough! We need people who develop curriculum to have expertise and a solid knowldege base. A diverse and inclusive curriculum must come from a base of scholarly/creative/cultural expertiese, not as an "add on" or "tweaking" of exisiting curriculum.

 
Carol Lloyd Rozansky
on Nov 03, 2014

I like this question because there are so many ways to address it that can confront serious issues embedded in "diversity and inclusion." How can we, as Columbia College Chicago's community, discuss what is meant by "diversity and inclusion"? (Obviously, one answer is this - The Civic Commons.) Can we communicate about white privilege and systemic reacism that exists in the schools our students have attended before they get here? Do these exist here at Columbia? (I think yes.) (I wish I had time to continue...)

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

Welcome back to the discussion.  Please not we have a new question to consider.  Should diversity and inclusion be considered when creating or revising major and minor curricula?  If so, how?  Look forward to the discussions!  

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 03, 2014

I think another level of inclusion that should be talked about is inclusion for students with disabilities.  I love the staff and the work they are doing, but would love them to be able to do more.  At other places that I’ve worked, a note-taker was a paid position that came into the class (not a student in the class) who took notes.  They could come on field trips and take notes and assist if needed as well. 

It feels like sometimes the onus is on the instructor to help figure out the best way to modify a class for a particular disability (finding videos with closed captions, etc.).  In addition, we usually do not find out what we will need to help accommodate until after the class has started which is too late to make special arrangements for that class.

 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

 Elizabeth

thank you for sharing your experiences.  These are very helpful critiques.  Could you share institutions or models that address the needs of mental and physical disabilties?

 

 
Jeanne  Kelly
on Nov 06, 2014

I appreciate the concern that Beth and many other instructors share about the lack of knowledge of a student's disability that might impact their method of instruction.  Columbia has no knowledge of any student's disability until the student registers with the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSD).  When the student registers, SSD has no control over when the student delivers the accommodation letter to any of his instructors.  She may do so at the beginning of the semester, or at any time thereafter, quite often after her first test or midterm.  Or, she may choose not to present the accommodation letter at all.  Under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Columbia, including the SSD staff, is legally prohibited from informing instructors about any student's disability; the student must self-identify.

Each year a greater number of students with disabilities attend college, many of whom do not self-identify, which can challenge instructors due to their learning differences.  In every class, it is likely that the instructor has at least one student whose learning style is different from the instructor's teaching method.  Considering the changing student population, the instructor should review his current materials and class presentations to determine what modifications would help address the learning differences now present in Columbia's and all secondary education student populations.

A student note taker is one of the more common accommodations for a disabled student.  The note taker is paid a $75 stipend at the end of the semester.  In essence, the student note taker is paid to attend class, take legible notes and provide a copy to the student.  If the class takes place off campus, the student note taker is expected to take notes.  We encourage the instructor to discuss with the SSD staff any complications regarding a specific note taking situation as well as any other question or concern about a student accommodation.

 
Expand This Thread
Louis Silverstein
on Nov 02, 2014 - 12:52 am

To limit the discussion of diversity to changes in the curriculum, becoming mnore knowledgable of what other institutions are doing,  or the hiring of a chief diversity office is not to address the root cause of Columbia's challenge to do better in creating a diverse community.  Given the college's economic state of affairs., I have been led to understand that we are focusing our recruitiment activities on those who can pay up-front and those who are  most likely to pay off their loans.  Ray Charles told the truth when he said it is a greenback dollar world, and that it is why having a diverse student body, if social class is factored into the equation, will prove to be eveh more challenging in the future.The overwhelming proportion of minority youth in Chicago are either unemployed or high shcool dropouts or both.

We also need to rethink what it means to have a staff, faculty, and administrators of a diverse nature when an increasing number of our students are neither this nor that, but a mix- multi-racial and gender bending. 

And then their is the matter  of diversity of conscioiusness among staff, faculty and administrators to reflect the diversity of consciousness among our students, whether it be due to students having been born as indigo children, the pop culture that has wired their brains in a different way, the food of the gods they have consumed, or the human evolution journey of a transformative nature having taken a road less travelled.  William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, informed us: One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life unsuspecting their existence, but apply the requisite stimuli, at a touch they are there in all their completeness. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. Students in posssession of a consciouness that is different from the "straight world" way of being need those who serve and/or have authority over them to include those whose consciousness is of a different nature than what is deemed as normal of a same mindset if they are to feel at home at/connected to  Columbia

 

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Responses(2)

Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

Thank you particularly for that last paragraph Louis. That's someting we all need to think about. How do we put that diversity of consciousness or altering of consciousness in operation? How do we make it real?

 
Ann Hetzel Gunkel
on Dec 04, 2014

I concur with Louis' observations. It seems critical that we remain commited to a diverse faculty, staff and student body without forgetting the issue of socio-economic diversity. We seem to have done better at CCC with gegroaphic diversity. However, if 21st century learning is to create global citizens and engaged participants in a democracy, then a student body reflective of a pluralistic and economically stratified culture is a necessity.  This is most challenging given the complex institutional questions raised about funding, finance, and tuition costs. What a truly innovate place we could be if we structured an inclusive way to bring and support economically diverse students to CCC. We could be leaders as an urban institution if we could find ways to achieve this goal.

 
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Kirk  Irwin
on Nov 01, 2014 - 8:13 pm

A few years ago a photo crew came to my class to shoot still photographs of my Interior Architectural Drawing 1 class. An image from this photo shoot was the first one that streamed across the college website when folks tuned in to colum.edu. It showed a young African American man drawing. This student disappeared after a few weeks and I do not even remember his name. This class has since been discontinued in favor of a 5-week module, or chunked curriculum. There are a few things to say here. Diversity needs to be more than a PR photo shoot. There is a paucity of African American men in the art and design professions and showing an image of one when he disappeared after three weeks does not contribute to the dialogue on diversity.

Second, diversity can also mean academic diversity; diversity of method, philosphy, professional sensibility, and scholarly focus. When diagreement was voiced concerning the five week module or chunked curriculum the dissenting voices were silenced and accused of attacking other faculty. Those who agreed with the curricular changes were rewarded with course assignments and those who disagreed were not. This does not represent a committment to academic diversity. Meanwhile, other institutions have figured out how to discuss similarly difficult issues in a constructive manner. Perhaps these are the schools to which our existing students have transfered, and in which our potential students have chosen to study. 

 

Responses(3)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 01, 2014

Kirk,

thanks for your comments.  wondering if anyone knows of schools that are doing this well or any models that have proven successful?  I am particularly interesting in considering the Haas Institute for a fair and inclusive society at UC Berkeley.  I believe that it is unique it it's support, scope, and reach.  Link below!  

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

Kirk, thank you for thoughtful comments.

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

Diana, thank you for the information about the Haas Institute. This will be helpful.

 
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Joan Friedrich
on Nov 01, 2014 - 2:21 am

As an alum of Columbia College Chicago, I wanted to voice my concern regarding the recent decision to cut two sections of the Liberal Education department's Gay and Lesbian Studies course. I took this course during my first year as a transfer student at Columbia, and it's not only one of the college courses I remember best, it was also among the top five classes I had during my entire college experience.

One aspect which made it so was the weekly presentations by community members who each discussed a topic relevant to the class. As a bisexual student who was new to the school, these presentations not only made me feel that Columbia (and, in particular my teacher, Victoria Shannon) was open to diversity, but it also exposed me to other potential resources outside of the college. Additionally, the topics covered in that class were addressed in greater depth, and with more knowledge and wisdom on the part of the professor, than was true of many other courses I took while in college.

I feel strongly that it is important that Columbia continue to offer as many sections of this class as were offered previously. Doing so would help to create a more accepting and inclusive environment for LGBTQ students, help connect students with resources, and contribute to the academic excellent of the college.

 

Responses(5)

Diana Vallera
on Nov 01, 2014

Joan, Juliet, and Marylou thank you for your posts.  They raise at least two important issues: 

1. Diversity and inclusion courses.  If courses such as those that have been raised in recent posts reflect a curricular commitment to diversity and inclusion and they are becoming infrequent, whether as a result of lower enrollment across the college or any other reason, how can a genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion be ensured?

At some institutions, students take one or two of a variety of these courses in order to satisfy a college core requirement. The College Core course requirements are a reflection of college-wide institutional values and commitments. I am also familiar with requiring that students take a diversity and inclusion course within the major. Are there other approaches or models for manifesting a commitment to diversity and inclusion within curricular offerings? 

2. Economic, gender and age diversity and inclusion among faculty.  The comments suggest a diversity and inclusion that captures class, gender, and age. The group of faculty that are most economically vulnerable, namely part time faculty and among that group, those that are most senior in their years of commitment to Columbia students, are identified as marginalized.   How can we as an institution ensure that faculty are not marginalized and model an environment of inclusivity in faculty governance, curriculum development, and the creation of a department that includes all faculty in decision making and community building? 

 

 

 
Irene Price
on Nov 02, 2014

I am a previous student at Columbia and I have to say, I find these patterns regarding class cuts disturbing. I know that Columbia strives to provide an environment in which students feel comfortable and prodcutive completing their education at the school. As someone who chose to transfer, one of the points that made me pause and consider staying was the diverse range of classes and professors - something I thought was unique to Columbia and not to be given up without serious thought.

I would like to remind Dr. Kim and the wider Columbia community that the availability of such courses is a factor that students consider when choosing a school, especially in a time when they are disadvantaged and have to make their money count.

 
Havalah Backus
on Nov 03, 2014

I too was disappointed in the college's choice to cut these sections, and also understand the need to be smart about the college's money. The most disappointing part was how the college addressed this problem. The classes cut focused on LGBT issues, and the college's response was to highlight how many courses we do offer. The courses highlighted were mainly Women and Gender Studies courses. Only a few courses specifically focused on Queer and LGBT Studies. Although there are always intersections with identities, it worries me that I work for an institution where people may not know the difference between these studies or do not see it as insensitive to lump them in the same category. 

 
Elizabeth Davis-Berg
on Nov 03, 2014

In addition, I was disappointed to see that other related classes such as Evolution of Sex (which is part of the minor) and Biology of AIDS were not mentioned.  Both those classes have specific sections of the curriculum that discuss issues relevant to the LGBTQ community.  

 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

It is clear that many are dissapointed about the recent cuts in LGBTQI courses and are questioning whether there is an awareness on the part of the institution that LGBTQI can be distict from gender studies.  What structures could be put in place to restore classes cut and ensure that they remain a core part of the institutional offering?  Is this what is needed?  These posts also suggest training is needed for those who are deciding which courses to trim and how.  What might the trainings look like?  Any models out there of which you are aware?  

There is equal concern with class cuts in race, class and gender courses.  

 
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Juliet Bond
on Oct 31, 2014 - 7:45 pm

As a part-time instructor at CC, I'm concerned about the continued reductions of courses whose focus are disenfranchised groups.  We have seen an overall concentration on cuts in gender studies, race and women’s history courses. 

It is important to point out that these courses have been traditionally taught by popular, senior, female faculty that are in high demand from students and which inspire students to seek out more classes that illuminate these topics.  Every senior adjunct who has lost courses appears to be a female who has been with the department for many years. 

The spring 2015, semester will offer five fewer courses on race, gender and LGBTQ content. That's 125 fewer students learning about these topics.

The spring course catalogue for 2015, only offers one section of Race and Ethnic Relations.

 

In a recent letter to the community, President Kim wrote,

 

If our students are to create that which does not yet exist, they must also have every opportunity to learn from the voice and the experience of the other. At Columbia College Chicago, our commitment to diversity is inextricably linked to our educational purpose…

We must educate our community in the often uncomfortable work of hearing and honoring the voice of those who have been marginalized, neglected, or silenced, and we must push ourselves to move this commitment into the very fabric of the institution so that it is reflected in the content of what we do."

 

I hope that Dr. Kim intends to stand by these statements as his employees’ fight to continue to teach a diverse student body about marginalized, neglected, and silenced groups.

 

 

 

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Responses(1)

Juliet Bond
on Nov 05, 2014
 
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Patricia Rios
on Oct 31, 2014 - 2:32 pm

As an HR professional, I certainly appreciate the conversation and attention on diversity and inclusion.

Generally, a Cheif Diversity Officer oversees programs, activities and initiatives desigend to foster a climate that respects pluralism and diversity.  They develop effective strategies to promote diversity in faculty and staff hiring and actively participates in building strong networks and recruitments sources. A key recruiting team member, coordinating recruitment plans and selection processes.  This would be a major change for Columbia!

 

Dr. Kim made a very valid point (at the new employee luncheon) in that this individual is not soley "responsible for the numbers" but is a key person in collecting and analyzing data and helping us all to build strong networks and recruitment sources.

 

Responses(1)

Patricia Rios
on Oct 31, 2014

Interesting to see that UofC  has  the Diversity and Inclusion  position, reporting to the Provost, with a matrixed relationship with HR and Campus and Student life.  That is a model to consider.

 
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Diana Vallera
From the Moderator: Diana Vallera
on Oct 30, 2014 - 6:55 pm

Welcome to the diversity and inclusion conversation.  This is an extraordinary opportunity for a wide array of voices to influence the direction of Columbia College Chicago.  I look forward to an insightful and robust exchange!

 

Responses(3)

MaryLou  Carroll
on Nov 01, 2014

A commitment to diversity would include a generous helping of courses like “Women and Religion,” “Gay and Lesbian Studies,” “Race, Class, and Gender,” “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” “African American History,” “Latin American History,” and “Women’s History,” among many others.  In the HHSS Department, these are courses that have been reduced, limited to one section, or not offered at all in recent years and semesters.     

 

 A commitment to diversity would involve an understanding by college managers that a “robust” discussion of race means more than offering one class on Nelson Mandela.  Similarly, a genuine discussion of gender means more than a few courses on women or sexuality.   Understanding race and gender means understanding privilege, and that means widely discussing history, science, culture, language, art, and business with attention to perspective, unequal relations of power, and cultural inventions of meaning around categories of difference. 

 

 

A commitment to diversity would welcome all faculty - - full-time and part-time - - to department “faculty” meetings where a diverse range of opinion would contribute to academic departments’ planning, vision, problem-solving, and institutional vitality. 

 

 A commitment to diversity would treat part-time faculty like they matter.  It would mean listening actively to part-time faculty needs, concerns, and accomplishments.  Not paternalistically, but as equals with shared interests.   It would drop the pretense that “One Columbia” means full-time faculty only.  That is exclusion and privilege, the opposite of a commitment to diversity. 

 

 A commitment to diversity would acknowledge the extreme financial distress that college practices are creating for experienced and dedicated part-time faculty.  These college choices contradict the institution’s declared commitment to diversity and produce, instead, a mono-cultural environment that pretends to support diversity. 

MaryLou Carroll, Nov. 1, 2014 

 

 

 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 01, 2014

Joan, Juliet, and Marylou thank you for your posts.  They raise at least two important issues: 

1. Diversity and inclusion courses.  If courses such as those that have been raised in recent posts reflect a curricular commitment to diversity and inclusion and they are becoming infrequent, whether as a result of lower enrollment across the college or any other reason, how can a genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion be ensured?

At some institutions, students take one or two of a variety of these courses in order to satisfy a college core requirement. The College Core course requirements are a reflection of college-wide institutional values and commitments. I am also familiar with requiring that students take a diversity and inclusion course within the major. Are there other approaches or models for manifesting a commitment to diversity and inclusion within curricular offerings? 

2. Economic, gender and age diversity and inclusion among faculty.  The comments suggest a diversity and inclusion that captures class, gender, and age. The group of faculty that are most economically vulnerable, namely part time faculty and among that group, those that are most senior in their years of commitment to Columbia students, are identified as marginalized.   How can we as an institution ensure that faculty are not marginalized and model an environment of inclusivity in faculty governance, curriculum development, and the creation of a department that includes all faculty in decision making and community building? 

 

 

 
Dale Chapman
on Nov 01, 2014

Thinking about Mary Lou's comments...a lot of times I feel like I'm teaching in a caste system.  And it does not feel like there is an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion.

How do we take the shadow faculty out of the shadows?

 
Expand This Thread
Columbia College Chicago
From the Moderator: Columbia College Chicago
on Oct 29, 2014 - 8:30 pm

 

What would demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion at Columbia College Chicago, and why should it be our collective goal?

 

Responses(47)

Matthew  Shenoda
on Oct 30, 2014

A stategic effort to hire faculty from various racial/cultural/socio-economic backgrounds in order to bring those perspectives to the curriculum we teach. It should be our collective goal because it is reflective of the global majority and helps destabalize hegemony.

 
Lance Cox
on Oct 30, 2014

The first step, which is seemingly being taken, is to understand that we have a diversity problem here at Columbia. As in, we have students with diverse backgrounds--but what are we doing to support them?

1) Intentionally hiring faculty and staff of underrepresented backgrounds. If a student is not regularly seeing people "in power" that look like them, we have a problem.

2) Fund MultiCultural Affairs. The office is severely underfunded and understaffed. If this is the primary resource for the students we brag about having, we ought to be staffing and funding it adequately.

3) Faculty and Staff Diversity/Cultural Competency Training. It has never, in my opinion, been acceptable to claim that having part time faculty means that we cannot require a training. If faculty want their jobs at this college, they ought to be continuing to learn and be better educators. This MUST include work on diversity. Folks in the CiTE are doing amazing work already, but without a clear incentive for attendance, the folks that need to be in the room simply are not. These are the folks making our students feel unsafe and disrespected.

 
Jessica Davenport
on Oct 30, 2014

The diversity of the student body, faculty and staff should be just as important to fulfill the primary mission of the institution; to provide a quality education. Building a healthy and diverse learning and working enviornment should be reflective of the 21st century world that we live in including variations in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, religion, culture, etc. Diversity strengthens the classroom and the workplace, as it fosters mutual respect and helps to create an environment whose members are evaluated by the quaility of their character and contributions.  

 
Dayle Matchett
on Oct 30, 2014

There has been discussion around the appointment of a chief diversity officer whose job it is to evaluate, educate, and hold the instiutition responsible for its committment to diversity and inclusion. This has mixed success at other institutions. I have been very impressed with our students' perspective on the importance of diversity at the level of curriculum. What are the communitiy's thoughts on this idea of a chief diversity officer? It could just be another level of administration that is not needed or it could be someone that really helps us elevate the conversation and keep it at the center to reflect President Kim's commitment? Also - very struck by how many of our staff and faculty colleagues have expressed interest in being better educated with how to help our transgender community feel more welcome at Columbia  - especially in the classroom. What thoughts does the community have around this?

 

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Oct 31, 2014

Diversity is our given condition, especially in a place like Chicago.  I think that we often engage conversations around diversity without first acknowledging that "diversity" per se is not the "issue", if you will.... At issue are structures, systems that limit it.  Particularly, I would argue, at issue are systems that limit it to the benefit of some and the deficit of others.  So inclusion, access, perhaps plurality, these are the actual issues.  And these are pretty complex ideas that actually require historical and analytical frameworks to address gainfully.  I think that this discussion Dayle brings up about a Chief Diversity Officer is interesting and deserves consideration and I would also assert that for that Officer to step into a job with any more hope of success than the "mixed results" that pepper the academy for people in positions like this accross the country there would need to be a commitment to across the board ongoing training (good training).  We as an institution would need to have some common vocabulary, more detailed and appropriate to the issues inherent in Diversity.  

 

 
Diana Vallera
on Oct 31, 2014

Thank you everyone who has contributed. So far the exchange seems to have raised four general areas of consideration in no order of priority:

1.  Dayle raised the question, Whether a Chief Diversity Officer might be desirable?

2. Rather than conceptualizing our challenge as a “problem of diversity,” Onye has offered a re-conceptualization that encourages us to think about our efforts as challenging structures that confer unearned advantage to some and unearned disadvantage to others. Onye, I hope that I have fairly captured your comments.  How do you (all) believe this way of seeing and thinking may reshape this conversation?

3. The need for faculty training has been raised. Thank you Lance and others for raising this.  Should training be campus wide? What might incentives for participation in this training look like?

4. Thank you Jessica and others for the posts regarding hiring and the desire to have future faculty hires reflect the diversity being sought. Do you think that this sort of hiring commitment should be exclusive to faculty or reflected in the other areas of the college? Do people have ideas about how the college could structure and implement such a hiring commitment? Are there good and successful models out there that we might want to consider?

 
Jeff Schiff
on Oct 31, 2014

While I applaud Matthew's belief that we should engage in a "stategic effort to hire faculty from various racial/cultural/socio-economic backgrounds," I wonder how such can play out in our depressed economic state--especially since hiring credentialed "minority" candidates is documentably more expensive than hiring "majority" candidates.

I wonder if the administration/board has considered implementing an early retirement program--which may both save money and result in new (minority) hiring.

I'd love to hear about other ways we can become a more diverse and inclusive faculty in a zero or negative sum game.

 
Stan Wearden
on Oct 31, 2014

We have to focus on hiring. But that's only the first step. We also need to ensure retention of diverse faculty. We need to make sure we have a culture that enables success.

 
Stan Wearden
on Oct 31, 2014

Diversity is not only a matter of representation. We must find ways to infuse in into the whole culture -- curriculum, events, everything we do. How can we best accomplish this?

 
Soo La Kim
on Oct 31, 2014

Dayle, I'm wondering if you'd be able to provide more information about the Chief Diversity Officer position - at the institutions where such a position is effective, how is it structured and defined? What is the officer empowered to do in terms of changing the systems, structures, and culture of an institution? What kinds of support and resources are in place?

 
Lott Hill
on Oct 31, 2014

We have so many wonderful resources already in place at Columbia College Chicago yet we struggle to connect and harness their collective potential. Many members of the faculty, student body, and staff are interested and committed to exploring and addressing issues of diversity and inclusion yet there is neither a centralized venue nor a collective forum for us to do so. We in the CiTE have been infusing inclusive pedagogical practices into every workshop and program we deliver as well as focusing on issues of identity in programs like our day-long Instructional Development Fest and the Practicing Diversity Series, yet as Lance points out above, without a clear incentive or mandate for attendance, the folks that need to be in the room simply are not.

 

What I would add to Lance’s comment is that we ALL need to be in the room to truly move the College forward.

 

Obviously, it’s not exactly possible to bring every member of the Columbia community together, so how can we create a working group or Provost’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion that includes representatives of every constituency and stakeholders from across the College? I’m talking about a group that brings together faculty representatives from each department and relevant committees and the Faculty Senate, staff from Multicultural Affairs, Student Engagement, PFAC, USofCC, Academic Affairs, Library, Center for Black Music Research, CiTE, HR, Alumni Relations, CCAP, Academic Schools, Learning Studio, and every other relevant area of the College to begin to tackle some of the deep and sometimes seemingly invisible issues we have.

 

Students are anxious to join these conversations. Individual faculty members across the departments are working diligently to challenge their colleagues to diversify curricula. Centers like the CiTE and CBMR are striving to encourage the departments and schools to implement deeply student-centered instructional approaches that value and leverage individual identity toward engaged and inclusive scholarship. Until we can afford to fund new positions, we can begin to bring the folks who are already invested in these efforts together and move forward by coordinating our efforts with the full participation and investment of our brilliant students.

 

 
Diana Vallera
on Oct 31, 2014

Soo, great questions.  I will follow up and see whether we can gather the data you request.

 
Diana Vallera
on Oct 31, 2014

Lott,  I am taking off my moderator hat. Your comments reveal some institutional structures that are already in place at Columbia to support a broad inclusion effort.  I would love to see a culture created at Columbia where diversity and inclusion training is perhaps not necessary to madated but where it is so valued and part of the college experience in curriculi, poicly making, and student engagement,  that failure to attend trainings would cause soemone to clearly see that they are shortchanging themselves and students.  

 
Laurie Lee Moses
on Oct 31, 2014

I think training should be for BOTH faculty and staff--anyone who deals with students, and ALSO for staff-to-staff interactions and faculty-faculty. Supporting retention after hiring of a diverse body of faculty and staff. There are groups out there who specialize in this kind of training, such as CrossRoads, who do anti-racism work.

 
Diana Vallera
on Oct 31, 2014

Laurie, This is great and way for us to bring resources and exptertise to both advance our inclusion efforts and build ties within the broader chicago area.  I hope you will consider posting this communiting building suggestion on the other conversation on community engagement.  thanks!

 
Dayle Matchett
on Oct 31, 2014

Emerson and San Diego State both have very active and committed leadership in a CDO role. You can read more at the links below about their programs.http://www.emerson.edu/about-emerson/offices-departments/diversity  - Emerson’s Office of Diversity and Inclusionhttp://www.emerson.edu/about-emerson/offices-departments/diversity/student-staff-faculty-resources http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/lead/cdo.aspxFor some additional context on the role of a CDO, check out the following articles from “Inside Higher Education”https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/06/forthcoming-standards-seek-define-skills-needed-chief-diversity-officerhttps://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/05/03/essay-evolving-role-diversity-directorFor those who are interested in more of the research component/scholarship around the CDO role:http://www.amazon.com/The-Chief-Diversity-Officer-Management/dp/1579222358There is even an organization focused on the development of this relatively new role in higher education, National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, NADOHE, and recently announced their inaugural chief diversity officers fellows programs to develop more robust and well-versed leaders in this area:http://www.nadohe.org/news#cdofpThere is no lack of information out there on Chief Diversity Officers within a higher education environment, and in fact, it is considered one of the most compeitive areas to recruit talent within. Something for our Columbia community to think about and research further.

 
Matthew  Shenoda
on Oct 31, 2014

In response to Soo's question, I would be happy at some point to speak about my own experiences as a former Assistant Provost for Equity & Diversity, there is a great deal to duscuss both pro and con of such positions. All of my colleagues in that area, no matter their institutions, have seen mixed results for various reasons. 

As to Jeff's question of resources, this is no doubt a significant question and as we know, no institutional commitment or goal can be attained without resources, so in many ways this is a critical foundational question. 

 
Louis Silverstein
on Oct 31, 2014

Diversity of student body reflected at both the faculty and adminstrator level--racially, ethnically, consciousness, etc. 

To serve as role models.

To enhance likelihood of student connection with those who teach them and and havew authority over them. I speak from both my experience at Columbia but also from my college experience. My parents work immigrants, father dropping out of high school to support his family upon the death of his father, mother witih a second grade education, both working in the garment industry of NYC and involved with the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union). Of four sons, I was the only one going on to college. Once there, I felt out of place, believing that I did not have the necessary skills to compete with more advantaged students and just feeling opplain uncomfortavlewith college being so different from the streets of Brooklyn that I knew so well. I was ready to leave and return to familiar grounds until due to my good fortune I enrolled in a history class taughy by Professor Bellush. I failed miserably on the mid-term test, which just reinforced my belief that I dd not have what it takes to make it through college. Well, to make a long story short, he asked me to speak to me after class. I probably would not have shown up had he not been a member of my tribe--Jewish and radical with somewhat of a yiddish accent. In identified with him as a person. I just somehow knew that he would uderstand where I was coming from and was there to help me and not just criticize my performance. And the rest is history./

 
George  Bailey
on Oct 31, 2014

      One critical "task" of engaging discussions of "diversity," is to recognize that the narratives out of which we discuss the conditions for the need to discuss diversity, may be unclear, not very useful or often incorrect. In my estimation, the ways in which diversity has been discussed, in the past, are characterized by "sealed" discourses that we fall back on but continue to move ahead using impotent and circular language. For me, most of the public discourses about diversity remind me of negotiating surfaces rather than the comittments to the "deep dives" in this particular subject area. We need to take enough time to ensure that we gain access to the language that represent the nuanced issues of all parties so that all sides are seen, understood, and respected before rendering judgements.

  We seem to realize the need for such discussion only when the persistent reminders of justice/injustice, equity, sense of belonging, sharing of power and other related issues, rear their heads.

   My concrete suggestion--if in fact it can be viewed as such, is to first recognize the inbuilt controls that claim a desire to platform useful discussions about diversity, also operationalize mechanisms to control such discussions at the same time. Virtual discussion can innoculate us against this but not completely. I will admit that this suspicions arise out of past participation in engaging diversity issues--plus a good deal of Black man genocidal theories.  How do we know when we have processed enough to render action judgements? Who will decide what actions to take? Thanks for the opportunity to begin clarifying my views on these issues.

 
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Lance Cox
on Oct 31, 2014

I want to quickly expand and clarify on the incentive question RE: diversity training. There was a question on how we can incentivize these things, how we can create space where they are not mandatory but so central to the culture at Columbia that not joining the conversation is unlikely, etc.

I think the answer here is simple. Faculty and staff make the committment to be at these trainings once a year, once a semester, what have you (depending on the frequency of the trainings, etc.), and that's that. If they don't, I don't know that they should have a job at this institution. The incentive is that they continue to work here. Maybe this is a mandate, sure. But it is still a choice--do the work, or find another job. If there are people working here who are not committed to honoring the experiences of our diverse students, this isn't the right fit for them. 

This is all informed by one fact--I came to this college thinking that my experiences as a queer trans person would be respected. I have never had a semester here where that has been entirely true, and I find that to be wholly problematic based on our apparent, often vocalized committment to diversity.

(For folks that may have questions about this--I'm not opposed to speaking on my experiences to advocate for training on a more personal level, if folks are interested in mobilizing. But I would appreciate not being asked to expound in a public forum in this moment.)

 
Susan Marcus
on Oct 31, 2014

Hard to add to the valuable points already made.  To manifest the values being expressed we need to indentify and eliminate operational barriers  and we must set measurable goals and be accountable for achieving those goals.   We need spaces to discuss these issues and we need to learn from each other in active ways that challenge us to do better.   We need more than competitive salaries to attract diverse faculty, there are many reasons people take jobs, salary is important but only one determining factor - we also need a plan for retaining all our best faculty hires.  We should look at the colleges that have made great strides in creating a more diverse campus despite the tight resources most of higher education is facing.

 
Susan Marcus
on Oct 31, 2014

I think having a chief diversity officer is esstential - that person's job would be to hold us all accountable for creating and meeting goals. This would be in our hiring processes and practices, in curriculum and to educate and invite dialogue.  We must learn how to productively talk about diversity - which means productively getting into the tough discussions about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.  It requires that we be brave as a community because we understand how important this is to our students, ourselves and our community. 

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Oct 31, 2014

Thanks for speaking everyone.  Indeed.  I appreciate all the various voices around training, hiring as well as the idea of the Chief Diversity Officer.  I look forward to the coming weeks and hope we will be able to perhaps in subsequent weeks choose to dive deep into some of these issues one at a time.  

 
Onye Ozuzu
on Oct 31, 2014

I'd like to say something in contribution to Jeff and Matthew and Stan's conversation about hiring.  At my last institution I was an avid proponent of curricular change as the first and most important step in stustainable diversification.  I, as a minority faculty teaching material in my 3 courses that reflected minority cultural values, histories, theoretical orientations etc felt MUCH more marginalized by my CURRICULAR isolation in an environment where my colleagues courses were high fiving each other conceptually.  I felt much more marginalized by this than I did the fact that my colleagues were culturally "ill exposed".  At that time "climate" was often prioritized by the upper administration with respect to minority faculty retention.  I felt that this was a crucial mistake.  I am an academic.  I am here because I have a commitment to my field.  My primary "climate" is that field.  Hire people around me that my courses can "high five".  So students can go from my course to their course and see relationships, connections.  So that I have colleagues with shared experiences and conceptual frameworks, orientations to value, networks, etc etc so that we can productively collaborate and BUILD together....we will then be able to impact the academic culture and the climate will have changed and we will stay.  Jeff makes a logical point about the competetiveness of making good minority hires in higher education.  Many other institutions have diversity hiring plans and are/ have been actively hiring "cluster" and "special opportunity" hires in order to shift their faculty make up.  I think that the incetivized retirement idea in order to support such mobility is a good one.  In ADDITION I do not think that we should assume that it is just an question of financial competetiveness.  If we became a campus there the our behaviors at curricular and systemic levels communicated clearly that we are actively and consciously anti-racist, anti-sexist etc I believe that faculty from historically and currently oppressed and marginalized groups would come here.  Because, like anyone, we want to thrive.  Yes, we want to make money.  But we also what to see the seeds of our labor take root and grow.  I left a great job to come here.  The diversity of the student body was a major factor in my decision.  Now I would like to see that diversity engaged more pluralistically.  

 
Diana Vallera
on Oct 31, 2014

George, in response to your post the guidelines for this process including when decisions are made and by whom are being posted on the landing page.  It should be available some time on Monday.  I look forward to your thoughts about the process in light of your experience and concerns.   P.S. By the way I love the photograph!  

 

 
Suzanne Blum Malley
on Nov 01, 2014

Onye,

Thank you -- the challenges you've identified in terms of building an activley anti-racist and anti-sexist campus at curricular and structural levels are likley the only substantive ways for us to really engage diversity and probably the most complicated to achieve. I think we need to take active setps as a community in this direction. I would love to see the curricular conversatons directly overlap with the diversity and inclusion conversations. To that end, I will also point folks participating in the 21st Century Curriculum conversation to your post here (I don't see a way to cross-post a single item) and I'd love it if you would repost in that conversation.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 01, 2014

Lance and Louis,

it strikes me that your posts that were so personal reveal how important it is that we get this diversity and inclusion effort right.  We need to get it right so that CCC offers every student the opportunity to see themselves in the faculty who teach them and so that every community member is embraced and supported as valuable to Columbia College.  Thank you for sharing your personal experience as they give depth and nuance to what otherwise can seem like only thought and words.  So let's continue this conversation remembering that what we will do and don't do will significantly influence lives.  

 
George  Bailey
on Nov 02, 2014

Are all of our departments "Culturally Competent?" 

Does the degree and practicrs of inclusivity at all access points of departments and offices of the college communy provide all attempting to access it, the  sense that they could feel welcome?

 
Soo La Kim
on Nov 02, 2014

Dayle, thanks for those resources and links. I'm glad to learn that the CDO's role is distinct from that of a compliance officer or chief investigator into EEOC or Title IX violations. Since this is a relatively new position in academia it seems we have the opportunity to really tailor the job description of a CDO to the needs of Columbia, should the College go that route. For the purposes of clarifying what those needs are and what current resources & expertise already exist, whether that leads to the hiring of a CDO or not, I like Lott's idea of a Provost's Council.

I would also appreciate hearing about Matthew's experiences in his former position.

 
Jonathan Kinkley
on Nov 03, 2014

As we think about the ultimate measurable goals of a diversity policy and/or the CDO's duties a big question comes up. It seems the highest ideal would be students, faculty, staff and board that reflect the economic, gender, nationality and ethnic diversity of Chicago. But on rethinking this I wonder if perhaps instead the demographic data set to aspire towards would be for the U.S. as a whole -- these demographic data sets differ significantly. What data set do we choose to benchmark our progress?

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 03, 2014

Onye, thank you for your comments. I appreciate the thoroughness of your thinking on this topic. You have ideas we can operationalize to move us forward.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

Jonathon 

regarding the benchmark we ought to use, I would love to hear sone pros and cons of some different approaches:  demographic of chicago or demographics of U.S.  

 

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

i am attachmg some current data from columbia college that may useful to our consideration of the questions.  

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

i am attachmg some current data from columbia college that may useful to our consideration of the questions.  

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 03, 2014

One more link below that may be useful with current data.  

 
Myra  Greene
on Nov 03, 2014

Kudos Onye for your comments earlier.  At my previous institution, I was a race hire, explicitly brought on to diversify the faculty and curriculum of that institution and department.  For me, it was a  difficult if not impossible position to work from.  To be a part, but also isolated because of difference. Those who may not feel included in the decisionmaking, or saw no need for such a hire harbored great resentment which was reflected in numerous ways.

 

I hope that if CCC is interested in such hiring paths, it seriously considers and discusses the implications with effected departments, faculty and staff. 

 

I also return to I believe Jonathon and Lott's point.  What does diversity and inclusion truly look like.  How is this measured?  Are we asking members of our community to be concerned about issues that they themselves are unattuned to?   Even with a diverse curriculum, students have choices in their course selection. In the past I have taught courses focused on themes of race, class and gender in photography.  Only those who are interested in such topics will register leaving others with out such knowledge. 

 

 
Sharon Marie Ross
on Nov 04, 2014

I am chiming in as a white irish/czech woman here--and I note that because I think it frankly matters in such discussions to state where you're coming from.

For me, teaching TV from a socio-cultural and historical perspective rooted in audiences, a key element from the student "perspective" is providing spaces in as many classrooms as possible for discussion of how one's own background and lived experience impacts learning, knowing--and then communicating that. Speaking from a TV angle, I have seen a lot of diversity VPS at networks who focus on #s, hiring stats, etc....I would be hesitant to watch CC move that 1990s/early 2000s route of what looks good on paper. Hiring "diversely" is not the same as cutivating an appreciation for the same (and I use "appreciation" lightly...)

To me, diversity and inclusion is multifold--having faculty and staff from different backgrounds is one element, having faculty and staff who might even be hired expressly to focus on the many issues raised here is important...BUT

I am left (given the lateness of the hour and the need to wake a kid up for school soon :D) with two hopefully idea-generating thoughts :D: 

1) In my experience, I don't think many non-minority faculty at Columbia (and choose any minority "demo" you want to if that helps) really have a grasp of what it feels like to be minority faculty here. How can we find a way to make this clearer? Because if WE studiously avoid this...

2) How can we hope to guide our students (and let them guide us) through similar terrains in ways that benefit them growing into adulthood--and into professional adulthood?

This strikes me just "randomly" today when I taught about race in the 1980s in my TV History class, after having also taught about race in my Nickelodeon class 2 weeks back. In my Nick class, which is small at 16, we had a fabulous discussion about how TV networks will market themselves as being "diverse" but publically avoid actually disucssing race. We could have this discussion because there were only 16 of us--and it was an environment in which I could say it was difficult for me to speak about race as a white teacher to a diverse classroom.

But in my History class of 60, suggesting to my students (less diverse) that the Cosby Show walked a fine line between ignoring racial tensions of the 1980s and acknowedging a new reality that was in fact developing in the 1980s for Black Americans led to stultifying silence. With more students I oddly had more power as a white woman--whereas in my Nick class, they were more than willing to call me out on my anxities and that led to a fabulous talk about the responsibilites of TV when it comes to creating content for kids. But in my HISTORY class, where realy "getting" the context of what people have grown up with and come to live with matters, they were scared to death to say "Cosby was good or bad or both..."

My point  is that there are myriad concerns when it comes to diversity at Columbia. It is not just about including a week on something "non-majority." Nor is it just about having non-minority instructors in classrooms--or even bringing in more non-minority students. There is classroom size, there is instructional philosophy, there is a need (that I still see here very much after 10+ years) of allowing for uncomfortable moments in a (as trite as this may sound) "safe space" for learning. 

If it matters, I have taught in Texas and Ohio in environments that were much less conducive to exploring diversity issues than here. So we're eons ahead when it comes to a lot of the "best" state schools by virtue of even having such discussions as part of a strategic plan.

We are graduating students who seek to DO something with their artistry. Can we find a first "easy if uncomfortable" place to start with THEM (and maybe alumni willing to chime in about their experiences here)? Could we find a way to really hash through the multiplicty of issues and messiness per this "topic" that might start with our actual constituents (so to speak)?

 
CLARA FITZPATRICK
on Nov 04, 2014

I am enjoying all of the conversations.  However, I believe that we must define explicitly what we mean by diversity and inclusion.  Diversity and inclusion are such broad terms.  In many colleges with a Diversity Officer, the job is to oversee the college's progress toward admissions, graduation, and activities that support minorities (e.g. ethnic minorities as defined by the USDE, LGBTQ, students with disabilities, etc.)  What specifically do we mean

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 04, 2014

Clara,

great question!  I can share with you that among the moderators we too began our first meeting asking this question.  Would love to hear how you and others define diversity and inclusion At Columbia College?  

 
Dayle Matchett
on Nov 04, 2014

This is something that our board of trustees discuss too, what does diversity mean and does the word itself have inherent value in contemporary discussion? One of our trustees suggested the language "cultural synergy" to consider. Our trustee's quesiton was does the word "diversity" itself create a barrior and imply many different system definitions and prevent any clarity in terms of policy and outcome?

 
Jane Jerardi
on Nov 04, 2014

To chime in, as a member of the Dance Department, I feel lucky to have participated in a series of 'anti-racist' workshops with the People's Institute for Survival. While I think some in our program may have had mixed feelings about it at the outset, by the end of our three-day workshop, I think we all really valued the experience and at the very least, felt like we had some language and tools to really talk about race.  As a white staff person, faculty member, artist and member of the Columbia community, it's really my responsibility to keep race on the table (among other aspects of 'inclusion'). I think as much as it might be great to have an upper level administrator spearheading these types of efforts, it might be even more significant to have faculty, staff, part-time faculty and maybe even some upper-level student leaders have the tools to create really welcoming envrionments that acknowledge the history in our country and the barriers for people of color, and those of lower incomes, to make it possible to talk about these issues. This could be one tangible way that we can create an environment that welcomes lots of different kinds of people to come to Columbia, want to stay, be able to stay, and succeed in pursuing a degree. And also creates an environment where those in privledged positions (through potentially no choice of their own) can talk about and create political change.  Maybe there's some way to do different types of workshops, conversations and trainings on a departmental level to slowly build this type of competency across the college.  I appreciate the Dance Program and Onye pushing to make the workshop happen. I think other things - recruiting more faculty of different backgrounds would also be great - and certainly gives a sign of the school's desire to include people of different races, sexual orientations/gender identification, genders, income, disabilities/abilities in our student population and community.  But, there's also something about creating a space where this is talked about and really taken on in the classroom (and outside the classroom/studio too) that creates a different enviornment. I know I was attracted to working at the school because it clearly _is_ diverse in a lot of ways, and isn't just in name.  Not that many schools can truly say that.

 
Jane Jerardi
on Nov 04, 2014

Also: part-time faculty would need to be compensated to participate in such trainings - often things like scheduling due to other jobs, child care, and truly compensatory honoraria for participating must be considered.

 
Diana Vallera
on Nov 04, 2014

Jane,

 

thanks for the comments.  The trainings Onye brought in to the dance department sound like they were really valuable.  There are several organizations that can serve as valuable resources.  Laurie Moses in an earlier post mentioned Crossroads and there is the YWCA/north shore all of which have a wealth of experience in diversity and inclusion work and helping institutions to create a shared language for successful communication in these areas among other efforts.  Sounds like a good place to begin.  I appreciate your consideration of the economic needs of part time faculty.  

 

 
Sharon Marie Ross
on Nov 05, 2014

So--strategic planning or non :D. Could we agree there is a need for a very real conversation here (student oriented AND faculty and staff oriented?). If we can't agree across various constituencies what "diversity" even means, maybe it's time for a real talk.  Not the kind of talk where everyone who's already been preached to by the choir comes in, but a REAL talk (or more likely, a series). Speaking from TV explicity: One of our stellar alums, a Black woman in both film and TV producing, got a deal with HBO a few days ago (Lena Waithe). She came and gave a talk (she worked on the film Dear White People)...But might it not be worth some moolah to bring her in again and talk about being an African American woman who crossed mediums and "areas of study" (lady was stellar in my critical analysis classes) and really dish on the negative feedback to the HBO pick up (largely rooted in "do we need a gay Black story anymore? kid you not...). Can we maybe from a diversity and inclusion angle get folks in who can really tell the tale of breaking in as a minority professional versus the "tried and true" of "if you just are smart and hard-working it will happen?"

 

 
Alex Riepl
on Nov 06, 2014

I think that role of language in emphasising diversity here at Columbia is not stressed enough. If we really want to push our students to experience and understand a multitude of cultures and worldviews then we must look beyond the borders of the Anglosphere.

An expanded offering of language classes here would be wonderful, and paring them with strong cultural content will make them much more interesting and deepen our students' cultural awareness.

Not only does the world not think and speak in one language, but neither does Chicago.

 
Lott Hill
on Nov 06, 2014

In the modern context and at Columbia College Chicago in particular, we can no longer be thinking of “diversity” as related to numbers, demographic data, or as a destination. We must move away from thinking of ourselves as a “diverse institution” and ask ourselves what practices we imbed through our institution that embrace the inclusion of all identities and intersections of identity.

I call this “practicing diversity” because I see it not only in relation to what (recruiting, staffing, strategic planning, human resource, curricular, instructional) practices we engage but in how we practice the behaviors and interactions that foster and nurture environments where diversity is core to everything we do.  As with the ever-evolving needs and identities of our student population, culture and issues of identity are not stagnant and are always developing in ways that are difficult to anticipate.

To put it differently, when I think of the term “diversity” I hear what some members of my caucasian tribe have been known to say: “Some of my best friends are black!” When I think of “practicing diversity” I think of a something that would sound more like, “I make a conscious effort to expose myself to and learn with people who are different from me.” It’s wonderful if we have friends that are different from us, but it’s more important how we allow those who are different from us to influence how we view and understand the world.

Until we stop abdicating responsibility as individuals and start recognizing that the process of learning from the other is ongoing and life long, I think we’ll find ourselves in this trap of trying to define what it means for Columbia to be “diverse” or “inclusive”. Yes, we have a diverse student body when you look at numbers, but there are many many students who feel that their identities are not honored, not recognized, and not included in the curriculum, instructional approaches, and institutional practices at Columbia.

As Onye points out, we need courses that can “high five” those which she teaches and through which students can move and continue building on their body of knowledge in these areas.

We also need to embrace and insist upon inclusive instructional practices and curricular design where, as bell hooks would say, “no student remains invisible in the classroom.”

This takes practice. This takes time. We cannot expect to get from here to there, because as soon as we get there, there will have evolved. And thus we must continue to practice.

In a conversation earlier today, Precious Davis (Our new Assistant Director of Diversity Recruitment Initiatives) introduced the language of “cultural competencies” and I think that strikes right to the heart of what we’re talking about. Our goal is not to create a singular culture at Columbia but an environment that embraces all cultures out of recognition that to do so only makes each of our individual learning, growth, and development stronger and deeply meaningful.

We are not in pursuit of diversity and inclusion because some people are currently left out or feel invisible, we are pursuing this complex and challenging aspect of our institutional culture because it makes each of us more competent human beings. Let’s insist that all members of the Columbia College Chicago community are constantly engaged to increasing our individual and collective cultural competencies.

 
Monica Hairston OConnell
on Nov 11, 2014

Hi all. Apologies for being late to the conversation (conference season!). I think this initial post will be a bit general/big picture. I will echo some previous statements though, only because it seems that points of resonance will be measured as a part of this exercise at least as much as range of ideas.  To follow Onye, diversity is our given condition. It is also, by extension,  the always/already of the arts. It's what the arts do and it's what they are. This is at the core of the power they have to inspire, elevate, mobilize.  Historically, there have been structural, cultural, and political challenges and obstructions to everyone having access to that power and we reinforce this state by acting like diversity is a limited resource (a quality some people have some of the time--like say in February) and an optional value, somehow a matter of choice. It's easy, I think, for diversity to become what Sara Ahmed calls "non-performative."

To me, to really "do" diversity the way(s) in which Dr. Kim says we want to do it, it has to be about more than values--it has to be about practices we are willing to commit to. A start to the demonstration in the question above would be a shift in the language we use FROM "diversity." Not only in race-based instances, but in some ways, it seems what we want to do is more akin to affirmative action than anything else. Unlike diversity and inclusion, the latter phrase implies that there would actually be some outcome. What about a Chief EQUITY (and Inclusion) Officer? At any rate, whatever policies we end up adopting as a result of this process, I hope they are consistently evaluated, reported transparently, publicized widely, and that there are clearly defined consequences involved with not following them. ---Again, shifting the terms of the conversation from diversity. For example:  "how do we assess a (faculty, curricular etc) contribution to diversity" to "how does this faculty member's work or this student's experiences or this course etc  actually grapple with the specific kind of social disadvantages or marginalization we have clearly stated we are trying to address?"

 

 

 

 
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