On behalf of the staff, student workers, partners and supporters of the Center for Intercultural Engagement & Student Success (CIES), it gives me great pleasure to welcome the newcomers to the Luther and Decorah community. For those who have been here before, welcome back. This is a momentous time in our history as we learn how to continue the work of inclusion, equity and intercultural excellence in the face of the double pandemic of Covid-19 and racism.
Sara Taylor of deepSEE Consulting used the following classification schema to describe the stages involved in creating such a culture.
At stage 1, Diversity 101, the focus is on the numbers; making sure we recruit as many different groups of people as possible. Usually visible diversity is seen as of primary importance. Author Andrés Tapia refers to this as the mix in his book, The Inclusion Paradox, (2009).
At stage 2, Diversity 2.0, the emphasis is on making sure that the new community members feel valued, respected and are engaged at all levels of the organization. This is the inclusion stage which Tapia describes as making the mix work.
At stage 3, Diversity 3.0, the focus is on individual and organizational transformation to improve effectiveness through creativity and innovations. At this stage inclusion is normative. Although presented in a linear way, these stages in reality do overlap and operate concurrently and also in a continuous loop.
It should be obvious especially to those of us who have been here a while that we are still working on stages 1 and 2 with the goal of eventually getting to stage 3. The appointment of a vice president for institutional equity and inclusion and the creation of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching are examples of stage 3 work.
The book fund project that was launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Development Office has surpassed its initial goal of $15,000, thanks to the generosity of our alums and students groups that have contributed from their fundraising activities.
Best wishes for a successful semester and year. We stand ready to support each other.