Usually a time of quiet reflection and rejuvenation, summer at Proctor took a different form this year. Navigating simultaneous pandemics of racial injustice and COVID-19 within the context of financial uncertainty and a politically polarized nation has reminded us our work connecting with, supporting, and educating our students never stops. Neither does the institutional work required to safely welcome students back to campus next week, while actively addressing the need to dig more deeply into the work of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at Proctor.
An update to the greater Proctor community on June 29 stated Proctor’s commitment to meaningful evolution in the school’s approach to building a community that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice as central to its mission. The following initiatives were set forth as promises to Proctor’s students, faculty and staff, parents, and alumni earlier this summer, and today we share an update on the progress made over the last two months, acknowledging this work does not end, but rather must serve as an on-going priority for the school.
#1) Creation of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Mission Statement
A committee of faculty, staff, administrators, and students crafted the following mission statement that will guide Proctor’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice work into the future and to hold ourselves accountable to this work:
Proctor’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice leaders engage and empower the community to become architects of equitable and inclusive systems by promoting the following initiatives: increasing diversity among students, faculty, staff, and leadership; advancing the understanding of intersectionality and how individual actions and organizational systems influence student outcomes; and providing community members from marginalized groups a sense of belonging by having dedicated faculty coordinators and integrated programming throughout our curriculum.
#2) Hiring a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator
Proctor is excited to welcome Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator Will Wamaru (below) to campus. Will joins Proctor alongside his wife, Katie, as dorm parents in MLS Dorm. Read more about Will’s journey to Proctor HERE.
#3) Diversifying Proctor’s Board of Trustees
Proctor continues to lean into the important work of diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels: faculty and staff, administration, and within the Board of Trustees. The formation of a DEI Committee will provide important structure to support efforts across the school community, while the appointment of six new Trustees at this fall’s Annual Corporation Meeting will further diversify the perspectives, talents, and voices at the Board level. We will share more details about these appointments after these new members are officially voted in at the Corporation Meeting on September 25.
#4) Audit of inclusivity of Proctor’s academic curriculum by Academic Department Heads
Department Heads have worked with teaching faculty to audit course content, including the addition of two new courses for Fall 2020: Voices of Color (English), Epidemiology (Science), and Modern China (Social Science). Additionally, Proctor’s ninth and tenth grade wellness seminar classes have revamped their curriculum with a focus on exploring anti-racism. This curriculum audit will continue throughout the year by all academic departments, with new courses added each term.
#5) Engage in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice training for employees.
In addition to start-of-year all-employee training around diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice efforts, Proctor contracted with Dr. Liza Talusan (slide above taken from one of the training sessions) to engage in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice training for Proctor’s leadership team over the summer. These training sessions will continue throughout the year as well.
#6) Commit to a Continuing Education DEIJ requirement for faculty.
Proctor launched a new professional development expectation for all faculty this week that includes the pursuit of continuing learning “credits”. Each faculty member will be asked to earn four credits over the course of each two years, with credit opportunities varying from running summer service trips to taking graduate courses to engaging in in-person and virtual training sessions.
#7) Build content on website to directly support five centers of DEIJ work: domestic diversity, Native American issues, gender and sexuality, international perspectives, and religion.
This content development and website reorganization will be on-going throughout the course of the year. Proctor’s communication’s team will collaborate with the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice committee and student committees.