After engaging in dialogues with several members of the Elon community, in summer 2020 President Connie Ledoux Book and Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence Randy Williams announced the steps in a deep agenda that will make Elon a more equitable and welcoming community.
A progress report on some of these diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives is available here.
Action Item: Commit to University-Wide Growth and Change in the Areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence
Establish a Senior-Level Position to Lead DEI Efforts
Randy Williams was promoted to the new position of Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence. As Elon’s chief diversity officer, he reports directly to President Book. His responsibilities cross all divisions of the university and he provides transparent leadership on Elon’s progress in the important goals related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Require DEI Education for Students in All Majors
President Book called on Elon’s faculty, Provost Aswani Volety and the academic deans to revise the curriculum and require students in all majors to take courses that drive deeper understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion. Book committed to providing the resources to fund this faculty initiative, including the addition of faculty, as needed.
Develop and Implement a New Procedure for Naming and Renaming Campus Spaces
As an institution that emphasizes inclusive excellence, the university must have a clear process for deciding whether and how to rename buildings, as well as specific criteria for future decisions about naming. As recommended by the Committee on Elon History and Memory, the university will proactively provide a fair and transparent process.
Redesign Elon’s Bias Response and Reporting Systems
President Book called for a redesign of Elon’s bias response system to be as effective and transparent as the law allows. She also asked for a public dashboard that provides the Elon community with data regarding incidents of racism on campus as well as the actions taken by the university.
Further Promote DEI Professional Development for Faculty and Staff
Going forward, all future merit pay increases for faculty and staff will be based in part on their commitment to professional development related to diversity, equity and inclusion. That includes President Book and all of the vice presidents.
Provide Anti-Racism Education for All New Students
In fall 2020, Student Involvement, New Student Programs and the Center for Race, Equity & Diversity Education implemented anti-racism programs and offerings for new and returning students. These efforts were incorporated in new student orientation and student leader training. Other efforts include faculty and staff professional development of skills and attitudes for working effectively in a diverse society.
Infuse Anti-Racist Content and Pedagogy throughout the Curriculum
Building upon existing efforts in the Core Curriculum and Elon 101, Academic Council launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Team to examine processes and practices across the university with a goal of remedying areas where inequities exist. This DEI team will explore ways to increase intercultural consciousness, hold all faculty responsible for making their teaching more inclusive and assess and reward positive efforts so that further progress can be made.
Engage In a Sustained Partnership with a Racial Equity Organization
Within the university community, there are numerous sources of expertise in anti-racist and racial equity work. In order to optimize both internal and external resources, leaders among identity spaces, academic programs and administration have begun organizing on-campus anti-racist and anti-bias education efforts. These efforts will be supported through a sustained partnership with a racial equity consulting organization.
Revamp and Promote the Diversity Course Database
Elon’s existing Diversity Course Database will be retooled and organized with courses that include substantial content related to social identity and social justice related to systems of oppression in the United States. This tool will be promoted in course advising sessions and programming related to inclusive excellence.
Develop Equity-Minded Hiring Protocols for All University Divisions
All vice presidents and academic deans will work in collaboration with Human Resources to create, publish and implement equity-minded hiring protocols. These guidelines will be modeled after protocols already in place in some administrative units. The goals are to undertake recruitment strategies and search committee practices to identify a diverse pool of excellent candidates for positions and be successful in expanding the diversity of Elon’s faculty and staff.
Implement Harassment and Discrimination Prevention and Anti-Bias Training For All Employees
The Office of Human Resources will immediately enforce the university policy of requiring all faculty and staff to participate in an online training program titled “Preventing Harassment & Discrimination for Higher Education.” This training includes modules that address discriminatory behavior, inclusivity, microaggression and bystander intervention.
Re-Establish the Pre- and Post-Doctoral Program Aligned with University Needs
Once the COVID-19 budget restrictions are lifted, Elon will re-establish a previously successful pre- and post-doctoral program to promote hiring of exemplary faculty in areas that align with institutional needs. Historically, this program has increased faculty of color and expanded the diversity of Elon’s professoriate. It also complements the significant impact of opportunity hiring funds which have attracted faculty of color at the assistant professor rank. Having greater racial diversity among the faculty provides students with more diversity of thought in teaching and mentoring.
Action Item: Commit to Inspired Engagement with Alumni, Parents and Friends to Recruit and Support Students
Enhance Recruitment Efforts for Underrepresented Students
Elon will widely communicate its new test-optional admissions policy to prospective students who are historically disadvantaged by standardized test systems and will measure the impact of this change on our efforts to enroll a more racially diverse student body. Additionally, greater efforts are underway to expand partnerships with community programs that prepare K-12 students for college. Our inspired Elon alumni ambassadors will be called upon to assist in recruiting and enrolling Black first-year students. These strategies among others will be included in an updated Black Student Recruitment Plan.
Expand Aid for Black Students to Attend and Experience Elon
The Elon LEADS Campaign, begun in 2019 and scheduled to conclude in 2022, promotes as its top priority the stewardship of donor support for the expansion of annual and endowed scholarships to support Elon students. Elon will adjust its fundraising targets to include reaching 200 Odyssey Scholarship commitments by 2022, tripling the endowment of the Black Alumni Scholarship fund by 2025 and expanding internship support by at least $1 million by 2025.
Expand the Black Life Advisory Council
Established in 2017, the Black Life Advisory Council advises the president and senior staff. Its membership consists primarily of a small group of parents and alumni. The council will be expanded to include faculty, staff and students. The council will annually be invited to a joint meeting with Elon’s Black Alumni Network, one of the university’s most engaged and active alumni affinity networks.