March 26, 2021 | Office of the President

DEI Work: Next Steps (March 26, 2021)

To Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff,

It has been a month since our campus community completed the DiversityEdu courses, the official beginning of our college-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work together. I am grateful for the commitment of our enrolled students, faculty, and staff to completing the course, especially in light of all that has been required of you during the pandemic. There is more information about follow-on activities and learning opportunities from this course at the end of this message.

As I have communicated since last summer, we are working to create sustained, long-term programming and training to understand better the history, context, and lived experiences of those who are of color in our community and society. And the events of this past week have again underscored the importance and urgency of this work.

This programming will involve everyone at the College—students, faculty, staff, and trustees—and will educate us, provide the opportunity for informed reflection and dialogue, and give us all a common understanding of the issues that must be addressed and the changes that need to be made. DiversityEdu was our starting point.
I am pleased to be able to share information about our second campus-wide course: a workshop on anti-racism delivered by the Racial Equity Institute (REI).

REI Workshop

The three-hour workshop A Groundwater Approach to Racial Equity is designed to develop an understanding of structural causes of racial inequity. The “Groundwater Approach” is based on three observations:
  • racial inequity looks the same across systems;
  • socioeconomic difference does not explain the racial inequity; and
  • inequities are caused by systems, regardless of people’s culture or behavior.
We hope and expect that every member of our campus community will participate by the end of the fall 2021 semester in one of the sessions of this workshop. The first two opportunities to attend a workshop virtually are this spring, Thursday, April 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 24, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will be scheduling additional dates for the late summer and fall.
You may use this form to register for one of the two spring workshops. Please note space is limited, so we may not be able to accommodate everyone who is interested in these first two workshops.
DiversityEdu Follow-Up

Based on the feedback we received on the “community conversations” that were held in the immediate weeks following the DiversityEdu courses, we are extending the opportunity to have Benje Douglas, our associate vice president for inclusion and diversity and director of Title IX, and others trained to do so lead team-specific discussions on the course material. If you are interested in scheduling a team-specific session with Benje, please contact the Office of Inclusion and Diversity.

Additionally, in the coming months, all Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff will have access to the DiversityEdu Learning Library, a growing collection of twenty- to thirty-minute self-guided mini-courses that provide a deeper dive into DEI subjects. Information about how to access these courses will come in a separate email.

Thank you again for your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, to racial justice, and to making Bowdoin better.