DEI Committee Progress on Strategic Diversity Goals – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

DEI Committee Progress on Strategic Diversity Goals

After a semester examining recruitment and retention practices and goals, the committee convened by the HWS Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion presented its latest recommendations.

The Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CODEI), comprised of elected and appointed members of the HWS community, has developed a series of goals to aid in the Colleges’ efforts to recruit and retain diverse cohorts of faculty, staff and students.

CODEI, which includes faculty, staff, students, alums, and Geneva community partners, is part of the DEI office’s overall Strategic Diversity Plan.

During the fall, the emphasis on recruitment and retention “is one area where the Office of DEI did some agenda setting,” says Vice President for DEI Khuram Hussain, also an Associate Professor in the Education Department. Campus climate surveys, data from town halls with students, and archived information collected by the DEI Taskforce and Commission on Inclusive Excellence all show “that recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students are critical priorities across campus and across time,” Hussain explains.

“We’ve had very interesting and productive conversations with the subcommittees on how to improve the plan, especially on retention,” says Alejandra Molina, director of Intercultural Affairs, who co-chairs CODEI with Hussain. “We’ve always been concerned about these issues, always had that energy, but we now have Trustees very involved and there’s a renewed commitment and interest across the HWS community.”

CODEI’s work around recruitment and retention will be reflected in an updated Strategic Diversity Plan, to be presented in March to the campus community. Progress to date was released on Feb. 1. During the spring of 2021, in conjunction with the Office of DEI, the committee will turn toward refining and implementing recommendations around teaching and learning, campus spaces, student relations and community development.

Throughout the spring, the Office of DEI will develop and implement resources for faculty around inclusive pedagogy so when students arrive in the fall of 2021, professors are equipped “to enhance student relations and capacity to engage across difference,” Hussain explains.

In January 2021, the Office of DEI, in partnership with Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), co-hosted an inclusive pedagogy workshop to “build out some priorities and recommendations for the wider faculty, and also make sure there’s a rich resource base for CTL and DEI webpages for faculty to draw from,” says Hussain.

The spring semester also marks the launch of the STEM Scholars Program, which offers opportunities for academic support and financial aid to encourage more inclusion of racially and ethnically underrepresented scholars in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Meanwhile, the Office of DEI and CODEI continue to coordinate with the HWS Board of Trustees’ committee on diversity, equity and inclusion to support the Colleges’ Strategic Diversity Plan.