I hope you are enjoying a relaxing Easter Weekend! It is such a great relief to start to see some real spring weather…though the old adage “if you don’t like the weather right now, don’t worry—it will change soon” seems to be in full effect.
A Great Honor
Rebecca Meier-Rao, a lecturer in Religious Studies, was chosen to participate in a seminar titled Teaching Interfaith Understanding. Rebecca was one of 26 faculty members chosen to participate after engaging in a competitive application process conducted by the Council of Independent Colleges. Our identity statement describes, “Edgewood College is a community of learners that affirms both its Catholic heritage and its respect for other religious traditions.” This opportunity both reflects that commitment and deepens our ability to deliver on it. Congratulations to Rebecca!
Civic Engagement Moves Forward
Our College’s commitment to civic engagement is a distinctive aspect of our identity—and our recent selection to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement classification supports that claim. The planning work of various individuals over the last couple of years, along with funding provided by the recently-approved Engaged Learning Transformation Fund, means that we are poised to make civic engagement an even more important part of our students’ educational experience at Edgewood College. I am pleased to announce the formation of the Civic Engagement Coordinating Council under the leadership of Tricia Dusick, our Civic Engagement Coordinator. You can expect to hear more from this group as they continue to define focus areas for advancing this important work, coordinate communication and planning around civic engagement, and support tracking and assessment.
You should also know that Edgewood College’s commitment in this area is increasingly evident both in higher education and our broader community. I recently attended a seminar conducted by Wisconsin Campus Compact, a seminar Tricia played a substantial role in developing and executing. During that seminar, John Leonard (Religious Studies) and Lisa St. Louis Allaman (COR) presented to their colleagues from around the state. In addition, we are hosting a reception for many of our community partners on April 16; please contact Megan Gossens (email@example.com) for more information or if you would like to attend.
Next Steps in Inclusion
I promised in early January an update on next steps regarding this important topic. I’d like to share a few steps we have taken and are in the process of undertaking:
- I have asked the Inclusion Council to work on an operational definition of diversity, outlined in their comprehensive plan as Challenge #1.
- I have convened a Steering Committee, led by Vice President for Academic Affairs Dean Pribbenow, to coordinate execution of the key areas of emphasis that emerged through discussions this fall and January. In particular:
- Developing of campus-wide educational opportunities around developing greater cultural competency.
- Revisiting recruitment guidelines and conducting appropriate, practical educational opportunities for hiring managers and committees
- Exploring partnerships as a way to achieve this work.
- I will be convening by the start of the fall semester an advisory board to me on the topic of inclusion. This board will consist of members of the campus community as well as the Greater Madison area.
- I have asked Vice Presidents to report to me at the end of each semester report on implementation of the division plans prepared as part of this process. In addition, I will ask the Steering Committee to share an update twice a year on the status of their work.
The Madison community is certainly waiting with great interest to learn the next steps in the legal process following the shooting of Tony Robinson, and I know many of us are watching that closely as well. Obviously, I don’t know any more than any of you about the timing or results that will emerge from the District Attorney’s office.
We do know, however, that whatever decision is rendered will likely cause some reaction across a variety of dimensions—emotional, intellectual, personal, academic, etc.—for many in our community and our campus. I have asked Vice President for Student Development Maggie Balistreri-Clarke and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dean Pribbenow (in consultation with a group of faculty members, Student Development staff, and staff from Diversity & Inclusion) to coordinate the College’s efforts to provide appropriate student support, opportunities to engage in community, resources to support learning in and out of the classroom, and assistance to the greater Madison community.
The final College Assembly of the year will be held on Monday, April 20 at 4:00 p.m. in the Anderson Auditorium. We’ll have an agenda out by the end of this week; please make note of this final time to engage in a dialogue as a campus community!