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Community Equity Welcome

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Welcome to the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. We hope the first days of class have offered moments of joy as you embark on opportunities to deepen knowledge, skills, and passion in pursuit of the future. We know this year arrives in the midst of ongoing change at the College and in the world, and we are grateful you are a part of this Community. We thank you for your presence and engagement, and are so glad you’re here.

Over the summer months, the Presidential Advisory Group for Community & Equity continued advancing commitments the College has made related to the #ESOCWeekOfAction Student Demands and in support of Access: Student Disability Union’s Access Advocacy Project. Details on the demands and status updates can be viewed on the Community Equity Action Plan website.

As we launch the academic year, we would like to share a few recent updates to the work of addressing equity at the College:

Administrative:

  • The Presidential Advisory Group for Community & Equity will resume regular meetings during the academic year. It is expected that the first meeting will occur in October. Students who are matriculating will be invited to continue participation and an application process to fill vacant positions for students who have graduated will be released shortly. 
  • On August 17, Interim President Bill Gilligan and Vice President for Enrollment Ruthanne Madsen announced the College will engage a national search firm to support the appointment of the College’s next Vice President for Equity & Social Justice

Financial Aid:

  • Additional updates in the August 17 announcement included:
    • The launch of the Emerson Circle of Creative Scholars, a new scholarship program designed to support historically marginalized students throughout their entire Emerson experience;
    • Increased financial aid and an update on the College’s 3-year, $10 million fundraising mini-campaign, including commitments for two, full need-based scholarships for future students; 
    • A new unit within the existing Office of Student Success focused on Student Success, Access, and Belonging, which will guide the development of students from historically marginalized backgrounds; 
    • The Deans’ Fellowships for Racial Equity, which will provide increased financial aid and enhanced opportunities for peer leadership, personal and professional development, as well as academic and career networking; and
    • A cross-sectional, inter-divisional working group that includes Enrollment, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Social Justice Center charged with the goal of coordinating institutional support to improve learning, satisfaction, retention, and a sense of belonging for diverse students.

Faculty Development:

  • Artist and educator Steve Locke spoke to all full-time faculty at the Fall 2021 Faculty Institute. Locke’s work focuses on issues of race and queer identities, and is often presented in the public sphere. Recent work includes a memorial to Freddie Gray on the side of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  
  • At the Academic Cabinet meeting, attended by Deans and Chairs from all academic divisions, Yavilah McCoy, CEO and Executive Director of Dimensions Educational Consulting, spoke on leadership, intersectionality, and diversity.
  • This year’s faculty ambassadors in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) have planned enhanced workshops focusing on diversity and inclusion, faculty support for students, neurodiversity, and mental health. The CITL Ambassadors program is an application-based two-year appointment. Ambassadors lead and participate in workshops and other events, and are available for one-on-one consultations with faculty.

We expect to provide regular updates on the College’s continued progress and commitments over the course of the academic year. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact communityequity@emerson.edu.

Best wishes for a wonderful fall semester.

Sincerely,

Community & Equity Communications Team

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