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Community Equity Updates


As we close the 2021-2022 academic year, we would like to share a few final updates regarding the College’s Community Equity Action Plan:

Search for Vice President for Equity & Social Justice

  • The search committee for the position of Vice President for Equity & Social Justice, in partnership with the national search firm Witt/Kieffer, evaluated a robust pool of candidates and invited finalists for on-campus interviews during the final week of April. Finalists had an opportunity to engage with a broad representation of community members, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, the Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors, Alumni Board, and community partners. We expect an announcement regarding the status of search to be shared in the near future. The search is chaired by Ruthanne Madsen, Vice President for Enrollment and interim supervisor of the Social Justice Center, with Interim President Bill Gilligan as the hiring manager for this critical institutional leader. 

Beyond Racial Equity Strategic Review

  • To accommodate an increased demand and student engagement, Beyond Racial Equity (BRE), the consulting firm hired by Emerson for a strategic review of College practices and policies to identify structural and systemic barriers that prevent BIPOC students, students with disabilities, and students from other marginalized groups from experiencing a sense of belonging and full participation, has extended the timeline of their final report into June 2022. In the final weeks of the semester, faculty offered time in class for BRE to join in conversation with students, leading to critical engagement with a broader representation of students and a deeper understanding of their experience at the College. BRE is now in the final phase of the project, completing a final report with assessment and recommendations. The report and recommendations will be delivered to Emerson leaders, who will determine priorities over the summer and share an implementation plan in September 2022.

Community Equity Action Plan:

  • The Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) for Community & Equity held its final meeting of the 2021-2022 academic year in April. Agenda topics included student representation on a new Budget Planning Priorities and Advisory Committee; an update on the College’s multi-year fundraising campaign; increased efforts on campus accessibility, including the College’s new Digital Accessibility Policy; an overview of coordinating work from the Making Emerson IDEAS Team; updates on staff development and training, including increased focus on equity in New Employee Orientation; results from curriculum audits across all schools and majors; and updates on faculty development and training, including a second-level faculty workshop pilot. Throughout the year, students have expressed a desire for the College to take a more intersectional approach to the work of the PAG. During the summer months, the PAG leadership will consider the best approach to reconvening next academic year.
  • Additionally, the Community Equity Action Plan website has now been broadened to include specific actions and initiatives taken in support of the College’s Commitments to Accessibility. In the summer months, we will revisit how these two sets of actions can be combined into an intersectional and intentional action plan for all areas of the College in support of our students.

During the coming months, updates will be shared as needed, with a larger comprehensive update upon return in the fall. In the meantime, we wish you all a restful and rejuvenating summer.


Community Equity Communications Working Group

Alayne Fiore, Brooke Knight, Iris O’Connor, Jim Hoppe, Michelle Gaseau, Ruthanne Madsen, Sam Woodson

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