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Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, I want to thank all of you for your participation in Ignatian Heritage Week events last week. Though it was a record cold week, our hearts were warmed by the opportunity to celebrate our mission and Ignatian heritage together as a community. I offer my particular gratitude to all those who coordinated IHW programs across campus. I am writing today to give you a brief update on the progress we have made so far this year on our Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence (SPIE). As you will remember, last year our community developed this two-year plan as a constitutive part of our larger University Strategic Plan, Promise and Prominence, and it was endorsed by the University Strategic Planning Group, SLT, and Board of Directors. Since last spring, leaders in each division have been working to adopt and implement tactics to bring this plan to life. A number of new initiatives are already in place and more are in development. I would like to share with you a few highlights here.
  1. Institutional Leadership: At the President’s request, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee has recently submitted recommendations for the development of new institutional leadership and accountability structures for diversity, equity and inclusion.
  2. Discrimination Complaints: A workgroup of the DEI committee, with support from other University stakeholders, has reviewed the Bias Reporting System and made several changes to improve the consistency of reporting and response processes. More information on these changes is available on the Bias Reporting System website.  The Bias Response Team continues its commitment to transparency by sharing data and findings from this system on a biannual basis; the Fall 2018 data report is being produced now and will be available shortly.
  3. Training for Executive Leadership: The Senior Leadership Team and other key University leaders are completing a year-long training series on Leadership for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, also developed in partnership with the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. Two sessions this fall covered racial identity development, diversity and inclusion issues in the higher education landscape, and structural design for equity and justice. Spring sessions will include the development of inclusive excellence goals within each division for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  4. Training for Hiring Managers: The Human Resources Department has been working with the TAMS group to improve the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in our hiring processes. Since beginning this work, we have seen a 5% increase in the diversity of our applicant pools. As part of this ongoing partnership, HR is also offering training for hiring managers to explain the requirements related to Affirmative Action Plans and hiring for diversity.
  5. Training for Staff: We have partnered with the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio to design a series of required trainings on diversity, equity, inclusion and implicit bias for staff at all levels of the University. Eight training sessions were offered in Fall 2018 for University staff across all divisions, including an advanced training program for the division of Student Affairs. See below for some preliminary numbers from these trainings. In addition, the Human Resources department partnered with the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion last month to offer two sessions of Safe Zone training for JCU employees. Six more training sessions are planned in Spring 2019 as follow-up to the fall sessions. A full staff training calendar for Spring 2019 may be found on the Inclusive Excellence Website.
  6. Training for Faculty: With the encouragement of the deans and director of the library, a group of faculty are working with the DEI Committee to design professional development opportunities for faculty on topics of diversity and inclusion. We are exploring multiple options for future faculty opportunities for ongoing professional development, dialogue and skill-building in these areas.
  7. Trainings for Students: Several training workshops on implicit bias, diversity and equity have been offered this year for student organizations, athletic teams, CSSA student liaisons, and other key student leaders in order to eliminate, prevent, and respond to discrimination and harassment across campus, and to support a culture of care here at JCU.
  8. Plans in Progress: Future planning efforts include more opportunities for recognition of individual and group efforts that contribute to the goals of the SPIE; new divisional diversity, equity and inclusion plans; and initiatives to recruit and retain a more diverse student body, faculty and staff.
In closing, a reminder that February is Black History Month. I encourage you, during this month and beyond, to take the time to attend some of the events and programs on campus that are designed to celebrate the many ways in which the African Diaspora has enriched human history and culture worldwide. In particular, please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7:00 pm in the Donahue Auditorium of the Dolan Science Center for the first of several Black History Month events: “Redefining National Security and the Need for Diverse Perspectives,” a talk by U.S. Ambassador (and Cleveland Heights native) Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley. New events continue to be added regularly to the Inclusive Excellence website. Finally, I wish to thank each one of you, for the many ways in which your own presence and participation in the life of John Carroll continues to help us grow into a community of care where the full diversity of each person’s experience is welcome, honored, and celebrated. Sincerely, Edward J. Peck, Ph.D. Vice President for University Mission & Identity John Carroll University