Our Work to Create an Inclusive, Anti-racist Campus

Our work to create an inclusive, anti-racist campus and world is crucial.

Here are some of the ways Fulbright College has been working to look deeper, and to address old and ongoing wrongs.

We do this in the hope that together we can make our college, our community, and our world a more just, accountable, equitable, safe and peaceful place for all – regardless of the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality or other identities. 

Some of these projects have been in the works for years or months, and some are new initiatives, but all are intended to help us learn more and take positive action to foster safety, belonging, justice, equity and peace.

 

  1. Hiring a full-time Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Romona West, last fall to lead us in these vital efforts. She can be reached at romona@uark.edu and we encourage you to reach out.

  2. Upcoming June 2020 Town Hall meetings with our dean and associate deans to make sure our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends have a voice, can connect with us, and are being heard. Details will be shared soon.

  3. The college will be purchasing a new eLearning module called “Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts” to provide tools to help us identify hurtful stereotypes and respond appropriately. The training will take no more than 30 minutes to complete and we will be making it available to all faculty, staff and students soon. Details will be shared soon.

  4. In partnership with the U of A’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Vice Chancellor Yvette Murphy-Erby, each of the college’s three schools, 16 departments, and the Dean’s Office created individualized Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plans to fit their area’s unique needs and challenges.

  5. We created a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which is comprised of 14 members – including students, faculty and staff – who serve as representatives identifying, recommending, supporting and advising the college and its leadership team on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and key strategic programs and initiatives.

  6. In partnership with the U of A’s IDEALS Institute, we’ve been hosting a series of workshops multiple times each that are open to all in the college, and include topics like “Facing Bias: Exposing Blind Spots/Engaging in Action” and “Microaggressions: Matching Your Values to Your Actions.” 

  7. We also hosted Cultural Competence workshops where participants were invited to complete the Intercultural Development Inventory assessment and attend a virtual workshop, to begin developing the capability to shift cultural perspectives and adapt or bridge behavior to cultural commonality and differences.

  8. We encouraged our faculty and staff to complete Safe Zone Allies training to gain a deeper awareness, understanding and comfort with the topics and issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community, and have the opportunity to be designated as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

  9. When COVID-19 hit, we wanted to still be inclusive while working remotely, so the college’s Facebook,Twitter and Instagram pages included posts tagged with #fulbright4inclusion, covering topics from video check-ins, to special graduation messages, to DEI-related activities and messages of kindness and support during uncertain times. And, we will be launching dedicated Fulbright College DEI social media accounts this fall.

  10. While working remotely, we also launched a new DEI Hour Conversation Series, which consists of weekly Wednesday open conversations hosted by Romona West. The conversations are for anyone connected to Fulbright College to join in and include different weekly topics with time for comments and open discussion.

  11. We are gathering and actively sharing resources such as Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send, “White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack,” by Peggy McIntosh and Anti-Racist Resource Guide, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education and Resources: Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching.

  12. And, we continue to celebrate, promote and encourage recognition of important cultural events such as the upcoming U of A (Virtual) Juneteenth Celebration and the rescheduled 16th Annual Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade this fall.

 

But this is only the beginning.

We must continuously keep asking ourselves what we can to do to be agents of positive change, and we know much more is needed.

We invite anyone who desires to share their story, experiences, perspective or feedback with us on their experiences of racism on campus, and to let us know how we can do the necessary work to creating an even better future for us all.