A $50,000 planning grant awarded in January 2018 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support a five-college investigation of best practices for teaching and advising its increasingly diverse student bodies, with a special focus on the rapidly growing Latinx/Hispanic populations. The planning grant, led by Ivonne García, associate professor of English and Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP) Faculty Co-Director at Kenyon College, was developed over the past three years by the deans of diversity and inclusion at the College of Wooster, Denison University, Kenyon, Oberlin College, and Ohio Wesleyan University.
The number of Latinx/Hispanic students enrolled at Ohio Five institutions represent the most rapidly increasing demographic in the colleges’ student bodies, tripling from 2.1% in 2000 to 7% in 2015. This shift, reported in the grant narrative, reflects the national trend in student enrollment, when, in 2014, students of color became the majority in public schools, with approximately 20% who are are non-native English speakers.
The grant will fund March site visits and conference calls by diversity deans to five campuses recognized for their exemplary practices in teaching, advising, and faculty development aimed at creating a more inclusive curriculum and student learning environment for underrepresented student populations. Campuses included in the grant are Amherst College, Davidson College, Grand Valley State University, Kalamazoo College, and Williams College. The deans will share their findings in a May workshop with five campus work groups of faculty members and advising staff, who will develop models that might be implemented on their campuses. An August summit of 100 members of the Five College academic community, including faculty members, academic advising staff, members of diversity and inclusion offices, student affairs staff, librarians and instructional technologists and deans and provosts’ staff members, will review working concepts from each campus and hear speakers from the site visit campuses. This widening conversation is designed to support each campuses’ individual goals in inclusive curricular development and identify potential areas of collaboration between Ohio Five campuses.
“We are very pleased and excited to have the support of the Mellon Foundation for this joint effort in working to make our institutions more equitable and inclusive,” said Dr. García. “As the grant itself notes, changing long-standing teaching practices, faculty responsibilities in student advising, and the curriculum itself may be the most effective means of improving the success of diverse student populations at our institutions.”
Deans of diversity and inclusion on each campus collaborated in the development of the grant request and project plan. They include Peter Mowrey (College of Wooster), Alison Williams (Denison University), Ivonne García and Theodore Mason (Kenyon College), Elizabeth Hamilton, Pablo Mitchell and Marcelo Vinces (Oberlin College) and Juan Armando Roxas Joo (Ohio Wesleyan University.)
Interested members of the Five College academic community can learn more and pre-register for planning events using this online form, or may contact Carol Temerson, project manager, at the Ohio Five offices at firstname.lastname@example.org.