Message from Michael Reed
Dear Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff —
As President Rose noted in his June 11, September 2, and October 23 messages, undertaking education and training to address issues of racial inequities, especially anti-Black racism, is a priority and commitment of the College.
Many of us have been engaged in a great deal of thought and work on these issues over the past six months, and I am excited to let you know about our first college-wide action—a diversity, equity, and inclusion learning program for all faculty, staff, students, and trustees. This program will establish a baseline of knowledge among our College constituents, something that is critical in order for us to engage successfully with diversity and inclusion and begin to build a common foundation for our work together.
The firm we have enthusiastically selected to partner with us on this first step in our broad-based education is DiversityEdu. They have the unique capacity to deliver courses specific to each of our constituent groups and the flexibility to allow completion at the user’s pace.
We selected DiversityEdu after interviewing and/or reviewing the work of more than twenty-five different firms and consultants and recognizing the need to ground all College constituents in an understanding of the importance of engaging with diversity at Bowdoin and the issues surrounding equity and inclusion. We know that campus constituents have differing levels of expertise, and this foundational work will allow those with less knowledge of this topic to expand their proficiency while at the same time assuring that those with more experience in the subject matter are receiving the same basic information, so that all members of our campus community share a common starting point and language for discussion. We believe this educational path will enable all of us to have more skillful conversations as we move through a multiyear process of learning and working with each other to understand and address the challenges of anti-Black racism and racial inequity.
As part of our process of selecting DiversityEdu, we consulted with faculty who have expertise in this area, and we also invited additional faculty, staff, and students to preview the work of DiversityEdu and provide feedback. I am grateful to each of our community members for the time and attention they gave to this effort.
This is the starting point in a series of programming that will build upon itself. As we move through this educational process, we will work with different firms, and we will continue to look for opportunities to expand the knowledge and understanding of these topics for the entire College community.
We will launch the program the week of January 18, 2021, and all College constituents will have three weeks in which to take the online course.
Later in the spring of 2021, we will begin our second step in this first phase of educational work, with a firm called the Racial Equity Institute. Their expertise lies in assisting clients at gaining a shared understanding of the specific issues of racial inequity and anti-Black racism.
As President Rose wrote in June, genuine change will only come from “deliberate, focused, and persistent commitment and action.” I am excited that we are beginning our work together.
You will hear more from me on the details of the DiversityEdu program in January.
Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity