January 1, 2024

Equity and Inclusive Excellence Highlights 2023

Dr. Jasmine A. Lee

Dear Goucher parents, families, and friends,

On August 7, 2023, I joined the Goucher Community as the vice president for equity and inclusive excellence. I entered the community with a commitment to learn from colleagues and students about the greatness of the Goucher community and the many ways we support and commit to equity and inclusive excellence. 

I am so grateful to partner with many colleagues from across campus to cultivate a deeper sense of belonging as we take shared accountability for growing a more inclusive campus community. Specifically, within the Division for Equity and Inclusive Excellence, we focus on identity, affinity, education, prevention, and care through a lens of radical love and belonging. Across our three areas, the Office of Title IX; the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (CREI); and the LAUNCH Scholars Network, we further the college’s community principles of inclusion, service and social justice, community, and respect. Below, I have shared a few exciting highlights from this year.

Office of Title IX: In the last year, with many thanks to the Stephanie Bernstein ’70 Memorial Fund, the college recognized the 50th anniversary of Title IX by hosting Dr. Chris Linder, who works at the University of Utah as an associate professor of higher education, a special assistant to the president for violence prevention and education, and the director of the Center for Violence Prevention. Dr. Linder hosted a closed workshop for the president and his cabinet; open workshops for faculty, staff, and students; and an opening keynote session. Additionally, under the leadership of the assistant vice president (AVP) for DEI and Title IX coordinator, Goucher College has been a member of Cohort 5 of the NASPA Culture of Respect program since 2021. The program’s mission is to help end sexual violence in higher education through ongoing organizational change. The college began with a critical self-evaluation that led to implementing several recommendations from Culture of Respect. Finally, we are grateful for the leadership of the deputy Title IX coordinator, who works with peer educators to support students in developing safe and healthy relationships grounded in consent and care.

Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (CREI):  Currently supported by our AVP, CREI transforms lives through community building, education, engagement, and the exploration of identities. Students can find friendships through six identity-based affinity groups, connect through shared cultural heritage or lived experience, and engage in culturally competent community care. With a commitment to support social justice education, in the spring semester CREI is excited to offer the LAB Series, which stands for “Learn. Advocate. Be.” Participants will engage in cultural storytelling, generous listening, and identity development while building skills to engage in dialogue across difference. More than programming, CREI provides a safe lounge space for students to gather, study, play games, or share a meal. We are excited to welcome a new team member in the spring who will help us build new infrastructures for social justice dialogues. 

LAUNCH Scholars Network: Goucher is committed to creating access and supporting the success of first-generation and Pell Grant-eligible students. In its third year, the LAUNCH Scholars Network” provides Goucher-bound students the support services, skills development, and community-building opportunities they need to thrive. As a result of the leadership of the LAUNCH Scholars Network director and the work of the student success team, in its third year, we are seeing 20% higher retention rates for participating students compared to first-generation and Pell-eligible students who have not participated. We were excited to welcome our largest cohort of 38 students this fall and are looking forward to the program’s growth. As a part of the LAUNCH Scholars Network, participants have access to additional academic support, a cohort-based community, peer mentorship, and fun connection opportunities. LAUNCH hosted 10 social activities this semester and held monthly one-on-one check-ins, group study sessions, and academic workshops. 

My vision for Goucher is a more inclusive, equitable, and loving community. One of my favorite quotes, by Valarie Kaur, guides my thinking and decision-making as it relates to this work: “Revolutionary love is the choice to enter into labor, for others, for our opponents, and for ourselves.” I am excited to bring this lens and commitment to our community, championing equity across our campus, dialogue across differences, and revolutionary love for each other. I join our college president in acknowledging the fraught nature of this semester as we have sought to create space for free expression and constructive dialogue on the issues of the day while ensuring that all our community members feel safe. I, too, am inspired by and deeply grateful for the conversations and ethic of care I have found at Goucher, despite the day’s challenges. I am proud to be a Gopher and look forward to all the excitement and the work ahead in the new year!

With gratitude,

Dr. Jasmine A. Lee
Vice President for Equity and Inclusive Excellence