An Update on Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

July 22, 2020

In line with our resolute commitment to make continued progress in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Franklin Pierce University, this message provides an update on ongoing initiatives and includes the broader context under which institutional efforts will continue to take shape.

Beginning with discussions at the 2018 January Professional Development Day and led by Strategic Planning Chair Ken Ferreira, constituent groups across our campus and centers, including students, faculty and staff, provided feedback on a range of topics to consider for their elevation in our new strategic plan.

Diversity Initiative
Endorsed by the Board of Trustees in March 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic moved all of us to remote work, ‘Franklin Pierce at 60,’ the University’s latest strategic plan, bears the fruit of two years of University-wide discussions and diligent work. Notably, this June, we transitioned to the implementation phase of the plan, which includes important updates to the University Mission and Vision statements, and the creation of a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Statement for Franklin Pierce.

All three statements, the four overarching strategic goals and their objectives serve as an important guide in our collective efforts moving forward. The full strategic plan will also be published prior to the new academic year.

Notably, under Goal 4, Living the Franklin Pierce Experience, Franklin Pierce University emphasizes and commits to the creation of a comprehensive and integrated framework designed to achieve greater diversity, equity and inclusion. Through current efforts and new initiatives to come, we will develop and introduce practices, educational programs and resources to move the University forward and to strengthen a welcoming and inclusive learning and working environment where all are treated with compassion and respect.

One significant step is to establish and staff an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, led by a Chief Diversity Officer, to support Franklin Pierce’s work with undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff and local communities. We are pleased to share that the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) position has been posted and applications from a pool of candidates arrive daily. President Mooney has asked the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, established in the fall of 2019, to serve as the search committee for this critically important position.

Additionally, the Office of Human Resources has implemented changes to our search and hiring processes, including amending the language in job postings and descriptions by removing words/statements that may inherently discourage candidates by inadvertently focusing too much on degrees and certifications rather than on their experiences and accomplishments. We are also advertising our job openings in diversity-focused locations and connecting with community partners to ensure we reach a wider audience. These changes will ultimately assist in creating a workforce that better reflects the diversity of Raven Nation.

The University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council is also engaged in bringing together, under one body, the combined contributions of the African American, Latino/a, Native American, Asian American Diversity Initiative (ALANA), Safe Spaces, Students of Faith, and groups focused on gender identity, first-generation students, neurodiversity, disability, and socio-economics ‒ all as articulated in the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Statement. In an effort to connect with our community partners, Council leadership also met with Organizational Ignition to begin a series of conversations on training opportunities for Franklin Pierce and the review of programs and policies focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Work is also underway on a new section of the Franklin Pierce website which will serve as a hub of information for updates on the University’s continued work on diversity, equity and inclusion and also as a portal for Ravens to share their thoughts and recommendations with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. The site will highlight the work of the Council and its members and offer links to helpful resources for students, faculty and staff, both within the Franklin Pierce community and the Monadnock region, and will offer information on how to report any incidents or concerns. We expect the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion section to launch in mid-August, and will continue to expand it as we welcome and onboard our first Chief Diversity Officer.

Finally, Franklin Pierce remains committed to offering future opportunities for dialogue and connection in the University community, including alumni and current students. The next community conversation will be an event for current students on Tuesday, August 4. Details will be forthcoming. Additional community conversations will also be scheduled, with dates for those conversations to be announced in August.
 

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