Timeline of Our Progress

Spring 2015

  • Leaders of the United Students of Color Coalition (USCC) returned early from the holiday break to screen applicants and conduct telephone interviews in the national search for the new assistant dean of students for intercultural affairs position. The purpose of this new assistant dean position was to build our capacity for race and equity work with students, as well as to provide support for marginalized students - all through a center dedicated to such efforts.

  • Students of color created a video about their experiences on the Goucher campus, sharing incidents of racist behavior and concerns about the campus climate for students of color.

  • Faculty and staff held a semester kickoff retreat, with an afternoon devoted to raising awareness of issues facing students of color at Goucher. As part of this retreat, faculty and staff watched the aforementioned video created by students of color. This provided faculty and staff the opportunity to reflect on their roles/commitment in fostering a campus climate that is more equitable and a just community.

  • After a comprehensive national search process with substantial student involvement, Luz Burgos-Lopez, previously director of the ALANA center at Vassar College, was hired as assistant dean of students for intercultural affairs.

  • Based on students of color citing the need for a dedicated physical space on campus, the Mary Fisher Library in Pearlstone was established as an intercultural lounge. USCC leaders worked with the college to configure the lounge with furnishings and computers for student use.

  • The college, with leadership from the Diversity Standing Committee, interviewed organizations to assist faculty and staff in building capacity for racial equity and justice initiatives and ultimately hired Baltimore Racial Justice Action (BRJA) for a multi-year engagement with Goucher. BRJA then began an assessment process with the college by conducting focus groups and submitting a five-point proposal for the work in which it would engage with our community, including:

    1. Identifying and building on current strengths.
    2. Linking racial equity education with a deeper assessment of needs and training with those involved in Goucher's current change processes.
    3. Assisting in developing programs to meet the needs of students of color, as well as white students committed to supporting racial justice efforts.
    4. Identifying and addressing the racial equity issues related to curriculum, pedagogy, and co-curricular learning opportunities.
    5. Identifying barriers to achieving racial equity goals and developing strategies and plans to overcome such barriers.

Summer 2015

  • Recognizing the importance of strengthening our capacity for diverse religious and spiritual traditions, five students, two staff, and one faculty member attended the Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC) Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago.

  • BRJA conducted initial racial equity training for faculty in June and for staff in August and continued to identify and meet with key constituents in the campus community.

Fall 2015

  • At the recommendation of Luz Burgos-Lopez, the name of Intercultural Affairs area was changed to the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (CREI), and Luz's title was changed to assistant dean of students for race, equity, and identity—both changes were made to more accurately represent the needs of our community and the work in which the center is engaged.

  • The CREI and intercultural lounge were relocated to the former Office of International Studies space in Pearlstone, with lounge space, a kitchenette, seating area, and television.

  • The CREI's mission and objectives were specified as facilitating experiences that address issues of power, privilege, and oppression regarding all social identities, including but not limited to: race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, citizenship/ nationality, and veteran status. Further, the CREI coordinates programs and services designed to promote and increase the awareness, knowledge, and skills of the campus community about cultural competence and social justice; and it promotes an affirming campus climate for marginalized populations.

  • CREI launched its severn-week "Whiteness: Understanding and Challenging Racism" workshops for white-identified students to explore anti-racist work through a critical race theory and identity development lens.

  • Dayvon Love joined the CREI, working part-time in a specially funded one-year role as program coordinator. Dayvon is director of research and public policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS) in Baltimore. In his CREI role, Dayvon is providing student training, social justice workshops, and mentorship to both individual students and student organizations to connect theory to practice, leadership, and advocacy, as well as focusing on matters relevant to Baltimore.

  • Dayvon Love designed workshops to help facilitate dialogue around issues of advocacy, power, privilege, and justice to develop a greater sense of consciousnesses around issues of social justice in Baltimore and in the Goucher community.

  • International student advising also relocated to the CREI, with Karen Sykes continuing as the international student adviser.

  • A national search was launched for a new assistant director in the CREI to focus on support for LGBTQIA students, as well as community education about LGBTQIA issues. The anticipated starting date for this position is spring semester 2016.

  • The CREI began hosting a series of affinity-based student caucuses as an opportunity for students who identify with a specific affinity group to share thoughts and reflect on academic, co-curricular, and social experiences, and with the objective of using these caucuses to inform the resources the CREI will ultimately provide throughout the academic year.

  • As part of a larger overhaul of the First Year Experience Program, a new approach was taken to the race and equity education component of the program for first-year and transfer students, in consultation with BRJA and Luz Burgos-Lopez.

  • Students who attended Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC) Interfaith Leadership Institute started an interfaith club on campus, in partnership with the Office of the Chaplain/Religious and Spiritual Life. This growing organization, with an interest list of 70 students, is focusing on support for—and education about—various religious and spiritual traditions, specifically traditions that are not as commonly affirmed due to the social norm of Christianity. As part of this overall initiative, a prayer and meditation room was created in Conner House (Stimson) for use by students with diverse religious and spiritual practices.

  • More than 100 faculty and staff participated in a faculty-led, eight-week seminar titled "What Is Race," learning about the history and construct of race in the United States.

  • BRJA continued to meet with key constituents (including senior leadership of the college, Public Safety staff, and others who plan various programs on campus) to provide coaching and training around racial equity issues. In addition, BRJA conducted training for first year mentors and assisted with facilitation of first-year student discussions on race.

  • The planners of the Spring 2016 mindfulness theme semester, in consultation with BRJA, were intentional in their efforts to create conversations and activities for the theme semester that reflect an awareness of the ethical dimensions, historical roots, and social implications of the contemplative arts for all Goucher students.