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  • Crossing Disciplines

Diversity and Institutional Change

Sign by a student: UNSAFE AT K ENDS NOW

While representational diverisity has been a major priority of Kalamazoo College's adminsitration, cultural change has been slow to achieve. As a result, the end of Winter quarter saw tensions between students peaking. The institution's reaction was to set up a campus-wide effort in the beginnning of Spring quarter recruiting students, staff and faculty in intercultural working groups to look for solutions in the areas of: curriculum, spaces of belonging, student development and training. I was a member of the curriculum working group whose work uncovered deep divisions within the college and made it clear that the solutions should not be limited to students and that faculty and staff have a crucial role to play in effecting cultural change. The group recommended that: 1) the faculty engage in big-picture conversations about the institution's mission and vision across disciplinary and departmental boundaries; 2) the institution establishes communities of practice to support the work across differences and 3) the institution sets up structures of responsibility (including existing governance structures) to ensure sustained long-term change.

As a member of the working group, my cross-disciplinary contributions were heavily influenced by the literatures that I am versed in and those recommended by my colleagues. I highly recommend the following sources:

- Dobbin, Kim & Kalev "You Can't Always Get What You Need"

- Kalev, Kelly & Dobbin "Best Practices or Best Guesses?"

- Lane & Collaborators "They're Too Focused on Being Progressive to Actually Be Progressive"

- Mohanty "Under Western Eyes" Revisited"

- Tovar "A Conceptual Model on the Impact of Mattering..."

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