Volunteer Hours, Land Acknowledgement Proposed in DEIB Plan

One year ago, Alicia Richardson, diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging officer, arrived at Hartwick College with the goal of making the campus a space centered on equity.

Now, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee (DEIBC), co-chaired with Tessa Yang, assistant professor of English, is one step closer to that goal with the creation of the College’s first DEIB strategic plan.

“This document is an important signal not just to the Hartwick community but also to Oneonta, parents and future students that this matters to us beyond a surface level,” said Richardson.

The committee was created by former President Darren Reisberg and charged with developing DEIB terminology, promoting inclusive pedagogical practices, making recommendations that support the recruitment of employees with diverse backgrounds and the elimination of hiring barriers, and creating training for both the campus community and external partners.

The committee was divided into three sub-committees: Community and Partnerships, Teaching and Learning, and Campus Environment, with each sub-committee developing its recommendations for goals, strategies and action items to get the work done.

Some of those recommendations included increasing usage of the paid volunteer time off program, reducing fees to rent laptops, and developing a formal land acknowledgment in partnership with regional Indigenous leaders.

Three campus community forums were held to get employee and student input. With that feedback in mind, Yang and Richardson will present a draft of the committee’s final recommendations to Hartwick’s board of trustees in May.

And Richardson stressed that the document is flexible. “There’s nothing wrong with saying we didn’t achieve a goal,” she said. “We need to be able to look at where we struggled and reconsider how we might be able to achieve the goal going forward.”

She hopes that, as the strategic plan becomes embedded in the campus community, people will be motivated to engage in the work of making our campus a more inclusive and equitable place.

 

Alicia Richardson, Hartwick College

“We all have the capacity to do this work. And it’s optimistic work. It is connected to our capacity for growth and change.”

Alicia Richardson

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging Officer

Article updated 5/23: “Land Agreement” corrected to read “Land Acknowledgement”

April 18, 2024
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