A Message from President Mullen
As the leader of one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in America, a place where we encourage healthy, spirited debate on important matters of the day, and respect for the dignity of every individual, I reaffirm my commitment to promoting a culture where ideas can be openly and freely debated with civility and to advancing a culture where all have the opportunity to learn and to grow without fear or threat.
Allegheny has long been devoted to the dignity of every individual; this is a moment for us to recommit ourselves to our Statement of Community, working together each day to uphold these shared values. We are a community that draws strength from encountering and acknowledging different perspectives, investing ourselves in passionately and civilly discussing complex issues, and learning from each other. In research and in education, intellectual inquiry and learnings come from hearing and respecting diverse perspectives. At our core, we depend on the free and open exchange of ideas and the participation and inclusion of people of all backgrounds. This wide range of perspectives and experiences is vital to educational excellence.
I ask that each of us reach out and be there for one another, and support and listen to each other in a spirit of respect. In doing so, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to the wider world what it means to be part of a place where all are valued for who they are and the individual gifts and insights they bring.
We honor and respect the inherent dignity that each of us brings to Allegheny. We actively confront and challenge racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious bigotry and all forms of harassment or discrimination. Allegheny stands and will continue to stand with every person who graces us as a part of our community.
President James H. Mullen, Jr.
Definitions of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).
The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.
Source: Association of American Colleges & Universities
Ideas Into Action
How do we explore new perspectives that transcend expectations and move from great ideas into action?
At Allegheny, one way we do this is to inspire people through our Diversity Innovation Fund. All members of our community – students, faculty and staff – are invited to propose collaborations that will strengthen an inclusive campus. We extend a special invitation to our first yet students to consider proposing diversity innovations.
Recent examples of ideas into action include:
First Gen Student initiated Alumni Mentoring and Shadowing Program
This pilot initiative strives to increase the social capital of first-generation college students and/or low-income students. To decrease the barriers of unfamiliar workplace norms, behaviors and cultural cues, this initiative partners students with alumni mentors (including some first-gen alumni) from professional fields. Students visit mentors’ place of employment for a shadowing experience. Engaging alumni role models will expose students to the professional workplace norms and transferable “soft skills” that may be unfamiliar to students. The opportunity to learn workplace norms and acquire skills will reduce barriers to entering a competitive workforce.
“Courageous Conversations On Race” is a lunchtime discussion series
Facilitated by Prof. Eleanor Weisman (Dance) and Prof. Bill Bywater (Philosophy). Participants receive a copy of Dr. Derald Sue’s book “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race”. There are spaces for ten employees and eight students. Students will receive academic credit. Employees will gain new knowledge and skills.
The Culture 2 Culture Peer (C2C) Peer Mentoring Program
Pairing domestic and international students for cross cultural learning and peer mentoring. This initiative was designed to explore different ways to provide an extra level of support for international students and will match current Allegheny students with incoming international students during their first semester. The initiative includes three goals: 1) increasing the connections between domestic and international students, 2) providing students with the opportunity to learn intercultural communication and mentoring skills and 3) creating a cohort of culturally aware individuals committed to forging a positive climate across campus.
Student directed/hosted Conference on Prison Reform
The Student Alliance for Prison Reform held a spring 2017 conference in collaboration with other students clubs and academic departments on campus. Outside speakers and student researches helped to raise awareness about injustices in prisons and issues with the criminal justice system. Topics ranged from women and gender issues, to mass incarceration and its economic repercussions, to issues surrounding juveniles, issues of gender in prisons, the death penalty and solitary confinement. The student club anticipates ongoing engagement with these topics.
Course on Native American Health Disparities and Social Justice
Taught by Professors Caryl Waggett (Global Health) and Steven Farrelly-Jackson (Philosophy)
Students studied the social and environmental determinants that contribute to disease disparities and the complex challenges of reducing these disparities. This spring guest scholars included Dr. Kyle Whyte who shared his research and activism on Climate Change and how it impacts indigenous peoples health and Dr. Marget Moss whose career and scholarship has been about medicine and nursing as part of understanding health inequities within our own communities and across the country.