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DEIJ Annual Report for 2022-2023

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice > Updates

Dear Goucher community, 

With our fall semester now well underway, I thought I’d provide everyone with a brief update on the progress we’ve made this past year on the diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice goals we spelled out for ourselves in our strategic plan, Cultivating Global Changemakers. While diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice may be under attack at many other higher education institutions across the United States, at Goucher we remain fully committed to these principles and our goals.

DEIJ Coordinating Committee

Over the past year I have met monthly with a cross-functional Coordinating Committee from across the College to ensure that we achieve our DEIJ goals. Almost 70 action items have been completed or are in the process of completion, including ensuring that our recruitment and advancement initiatives incorporate and reflect our DEIJ principles, that we develop a robust schedule for affinity months, advance Goucher’s Hallowed Ground Initiative, and share, create, and periodically report on a whole host of faculty- and student-led DEIJ initiatives to our community.

Members of the DEI Council from last academic year include Juan Hernandez, associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and Title IX coordinator; Isabel Moreno-Lopez, associate provost of undergraduate studies; Harry Bielas, assistant vice president for advancement; Tiffany Justice, director of campus safety; Melissa Alexander, director of the LAUNCH Network; Lillian Snortland, marketing manager; and Summer Torres, assistant director for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hugh Dennis, director of risk management and contracts joins the Committee for this coming academic year. The DEIJ Coordinating Committee will continue its essential work this year, but now led by Goucher’s new Vice President for Equity and Inclusive Excellence, Jasmine Lee, M.S.W., Ph.D. If you want to know more about the work of the DEIJ Coordinating Committee, please contact Dr. Lee at jasmine.lee@goucher.edu.

Faculty Work to Advance DEIJ Initiatives

Goucher faculty have been advancing DEIJ in several ways, including reviewing and strengthening the guidelines for all Race, Power, and Perspective (RPP) courses. A total of 36 courses from across Goucher’s curriculum now fulfill the RPP requirement. As part of the multi-year RPP Goucher Commons Requirement, students are required to read and discuss a relevant summer reading as first-years; take an approved RPP course in their second year; and reflect on race and power in the context of their study abroad experience in their third year. The faculty will continue to review and update course guidelines as well as introduce new courses into the curriculum on an ongoing basis.

In addition to the work focused on deepening our commitment around the Race, Power, and Perspective curriculum, the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching (CAST) is supporting faculty in creating and delivering courses that are equitable, inclusive, and accessible. This past year, CAST hosted numerous workshops including: a Language, Power, and Positionality roundtable for students and faculty, multiple faculty sessions on anti-racist writing assessment and pedagogy, and a session on the intersection of antisemitism and racism in the college classroom. Academic Affairs also offered “Broad, Humane Perspective” mini-grants to faculty and staff for DEIJ theme-related programming. These mini grants funded a reading group that explored the relationship between culture and the environment, a Linguistic Justice faculty workshop, and a “Gopher Trailblazers in STEMM Alumni Speaker Series.”

Also, this past spring, the Mellon Foundation and Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) awarded Dr. Isabel Moreno-Lopez $5,000 to support three student-led DEIJ initiatives, resulting in several events on campus that attracted anywhere from 20 to 75 students at each event. Moreover, this support will continue throughout the fall 2023 semester, so keep your eye out for more information.

Our faculty and staff also continue their important work on the Hallowed Ground Project. A Hallowed Ground “featured findings” brochure is now available. Also, the Goucher College Library Special Collections & Archives will feature an exhibit this coming academic year about the process of creating Goucher’s land acknowledgment statement. Public programming, some developed in coordination with indigenous peoples, is also planned throughout the coming academic year.

Finally, we have redoubled our efforts to recruit faculty from historically underrepresented groups, this year focusing on new strategies that involve employing target-of-opportunity hires, an expanded outreach effort to doctoral students at HBCUs, and potentially an interdisciplinary cluster hiring in Africana studies.

Enrollment Management Efforts

While the recent Supreme Court decision on race-conscious affirmative action in college admissions runs counter to Goucher’s community principles, our commitment to incorporating DEIJ principles in everything we do will not waiver. We have consistently admitted a diverse population of students and that too will not change. 47% of this year’s incoming class self-identified as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color (BIPOC) for whom our focus on social and racial justice is deeply meaningful and a major reason why they choose to attend Goucher. We will adhere to the law but will stay laser focused on the principles and values that make us Goucher proud.

With this in mind, it is heartening to report that the Enrollment Management Team continues to focus their efforts on enrolling a diverse class; they hosted Glimpse of Goucher in April — an event for admitted students of color — and ensured that  staff attended educational sessions about equity and inclusion offered by the Liberal Arts College Racial Equity leadership Alliance (LACRELA) and National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC). Goucher has also joined Greenlight Match, a national recruitment initiative that involves community-based organizations (CBO) that support access to a college education in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Within the State of Maryland, the admissions team is also actively working to ensure that all eligible students receive the Guaranteed Access Grant and Maryland Scholars financial aid packages. This year, a record number of entering first year students received this Guaranteed Access Grant.

Finally, this year’s first-year class saw an increased number of students opting to join the college’s LAUNCH Network. Founded in 2021 the LAUNCH Network offers historically underrepresented Goucher-bound students the additional support services, skills development, and community building opportunities they might need to thrive at Goucher. The LAUNCH Network, which begins with a two-week summer residential program prior to orientation, has already produced strong results, with past participants posting a 20% increase in retention over the first two years of the program.

Student Affairs Initiatives

The Division of Student Affairs led several DEIJ initiatives this past year, including innovative programs in the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (CREI), which strives to improve the institutional advancement of all marginalized students, specifically students of color, first-generation students, LGBTQIA+ students, as well as students with disabilities.

CREI also provided support for Goucher’s Affinity Graduation Ceremonies this past spring including the Donning of the Kente, the Lavender Ceremony, the Latinx Trifunos Ceremony, the Interconnect Ceremony, and a ceremony that celebrated our graduating Goucher students with disabilities. More than 200 students attended these ceremonies this past spring.

Also, this past academic year, the College took several key steps towards implementing recommendations from the Hillel Campus Climate Initiative designed to address the concerns of Jewish students at Goucher. Some of the steps included creating and implementing an entirely new procedure for students to request support for religious observances, an update to policies to ensure a more systematic review when scheduling major events on campus to minimize conflicts with religious holidays, and faculty training planned for this spring entitled “Deepening Equity at the Intersection of Racism and Antisemitism on Campus.”

The Goucher College Athletic Department also continued its work with two organizations to better support student-athletes: the Black Gophers and the Gopher Ally Coalition. The Black Gophers focus on creating a network for student-athletes, coaches, and athletic staff of color across all sports. The organization seeks to provide a safe space and platform to advocate for action against anti-Blackness at the College and in the Athletic Department, and to empower Black student-athletes to share their experiences as student-athletes at Goucher. The organization also seeks to create a network of Black alums who current students can reach out to for career advice and opportunities, and to invest in community service projects that speak directly to them.

The Gopher Ally Coalition comprises both student-athletes and coaches who have come together to promote access, equity, and social justice within the Goucher College Athletic Department, the campus community, and the world at large. Working alongside the Black Gophers, the Gopher Ally Coalition meets to educate each other through intentional discussions, programming, and reading, and to identify areas where members can help promote a more inclusive athletic experience for all Goucher student-athletes.

Advancement and Alumni Engagement Update

This past year, Advancement and the Alumnae and Alumni of Goucher College (AAGC) established the Goucher Black and African American Alumni Affinity Group, which continues to grow its membership. The group hosted an event in late spring for our LAUNCH Network students, the Dancers of Color Coalition, and any student identifying as a Person of Color. The AAGC is also exploring the creation of other affinity groups, such as those for Latinx/Hispanic and LGBTQIA+ alumni.

Partnerships Drive Progress

Goucher is a founding member of the Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). Our work with LACRELA has included administering the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) student and staff surveys, and more than 80 Goucher employees attending workshops and sessions this past year with experts and representatives from other institutions to share best practices. This fall we will administer the NACCC faculty survey and come spring semester, assess the lessons learned from all three surveys and identify next steps.

Last year, Goucher also joined the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS), which was founded to address concerns raised by Black and Latinx students about their academic and social experiences at highly selective liberal arts institutions. Six Goucher representatives were a part of the Consortium, and benefitted from attending conferences, networking, and other professional development opportunities designed to create positive institutional change. In June, Goucher hosted the annual three-day CHAS representatives meeting, where several Goucher faculty and administrators moderated, contributed to, or led breakout sessions.

Affinity Month Celebrations

Finally, throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, Goucher College made a concerted effort to celebrate affinity months across campus, from Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October to Black History Month in February to Pride Month in April. More than 20 events, lectures and gatherings were held during affinity months with even more ambitious plans for this year starting with the Hispanic Heritage Month events scheduled for this month.

I hope this gives you an idea of the extent of activities occurring across our college, all designed to promote greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within our community. I’ll continue to share updates periodically, or to learn more at any time please visit https://blogs.goucher.edu/deij/updates/.


Kent Devereaux