Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives
In 2021, Derrick Gay, a diversity and inclusion strategist, conducted a campus-wide survey of students, faculty, and staff designed to assess community members’ feelings of inclusivity at Loomis Chaffee. While the overwhelming majority of respondents reported a strong sense of pride in the school and that Loomis is an inclusive environment for them, the results also offered insights into aspects of community life that could be improved. Based on that information, Dr. Gay’s recommendations, and additional ideas offered by community members, the center is working on several initiatives during the 2022–23 school year. Below is a representative sample of the center’s efforts.
DEI Education for Students
To increase support for our students of color and students who identify as LGBTQIA+, the center collaborated with the Norton Family Center for the Common Good to incorporate DEI curricula into the Seminar in the Best Self and Seminar in the Common Good. All freshmen and sophomores, respectively, enroll in those seminars. In addition, the center has implemented DEI curriculum for all students, which is delivered through the advisory system and residential programming.
The center, in collaboration with the Norton Center and the Counseling Department, will host student forums on issues of current interest. Recent forum topics have included:
- Reparations Bill in Evanston, Illinois
- Unconscious Bias of Latino Community
- An Evening with Maurice Moore
DEI Training for Faculty & Staff
The DEI team provides ongoing DEI training sessions for faculty and staff that emphasize both education and self-reflection. In addition, the DEI team will continue to support faculty participation in SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) on campus. SEED work develops ways of understanding complex relations between self and system with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and cultural experience.
Professional Development for Faculty
In the summer of 2021, all faculty read and discussed The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Jack. Mr. Jack, a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, visited campus and spoke to the community in January 2022 as the keynote speaker for the school’s MLK Week celebrations.
In summer 2022, all faculty and students read Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta. Among the themes of the book is the intersection of race and gender. Ms. Okparanta spoke at an all-school convocation in late September 2022.
Bias Incident Reporting Protocol
Loomis Chaffee is committed to creating and maintaining an atmosphere where all members of the community — students, faculty, staff, families, and visitors — are treated with respect and dignity. Acts of bias are unacceptable and antithetical to this commitment as they demonstrate interpersonal intolerance and disrupt the community trust. Such acts can negatively impact the creation of an inclusive community that fosters academic excellence. In 2022, the school implemented a bias incident reporting protocol pilot program for faculty. The long-term goal is to expand this program to staff and students.