Pledge to do just one thing to promote diversity and inclusion at GCC
Just One Thing is a campus-wide project to empower individuals to make systemic change to an institution. If everyone at Greenfield Community College pledges to do at least one thing to increase or strengthen inclusion at GCC, the whole institution can feel the impact.
Examples could be altering the decor of your office — stating your pronoun preference in your signature line in emails — adding a new text or unit to your syllabus — working to change a college policy or practice. What will you do?
What will you do?
What is your community doing?
I’m adding Into the Beautiful North to the material we’ll read in the course I teach. It explores issues such as leadership, independence, violence, race, class, gender, sexism, homophobia, and immigration.
I have been serving on the Western Mass Task Force to end hunger since January. It has been a real eye opener on topics related to class, food insecurity and poverty. This summer I committed to more fully integrating what I’m learning and who I am working with into my life at GCC. I formed a coalition that includes students, staff, faculty and community members to begin meeting to discuss ways we can be part of the solution at GCC and strategies for collaboration. Among other programs, we are planning to hold a spring conference on the topic of food insecurity at GCC in the spring.
I am piloting a four-part unit for my ESL Reading classes on local U.S. history, starting with the voyage of the Mayflower and the colonists’ first encounter with the Wampanoag tribe on Cape Cod, continuing to King Philip’s War and the reconciliation agreement created in 2004 in Turners Falls. The emphasis on activities of tribes in the Valley since before King Philip’s War serves as an example of inclusion of our indigenous residents and their contributions to the society we now share.
Some of our students have and/or come from indigenous groups in their countries and are eager to talk about their customs vs. the majority cultures they are surrounded by at home. In addition, the departure of the colonists from England foreshadows some of the same struggles faced by today’s bilingual students at GCC and provides a compelling connection to U.S. history (called a “new country” by one student). These language-culture connections are intended to serve as part of a newcomer’s foundation for civic engagement.
I have included a place to specify name and pronoun preferences and any trigger warnings on the first day survey I give to all students. Completing this survey is an optional exercise, but I’ve never had a single student not turn it in. This gives them a simple tool to communicate pertinent information with me, so that I can use their preferred name/pronoun from the first day of class.
As the work study student for the Women’s Resource Center, I plan to stock several unisex and gender neutral bathrooms with free maxi pads for students who get their periods, but don’t use the women’s room.
I am the staff assistant to the Peer Tutoring Program. Students seeking peer tutoring fill out an information card about themselves. This semester we added the question, “What is your preferred gender pronoun?”
For incoming nursing orientation, I included a column for preferred name and pronoun on the sign-in. This is the same sign-in that they would update their address etc, so it begins all things off on an open foot. Second, I have a safe space poster on my office window. This sends the message to all that they can be who they are in my office.
My BUS 111 course has been revised to spend two full weeks examining business models that address needs in underserved groups, including the homeless, HIV positive, and developmentally disabled populations.
I’m working on a grant (Bridges to Manufacturing) that hopes to expand on the work of the very successful Bridges to Health Care work that we’ve done at GCC with community partners The Literacy Project (TLP) and the Center for New Americans (CNAM) since 2006. We’re working again with TLP and CNAM to create “Bridge to. . .” curriculum at their sites for their Adult Basic Education (ABE) and second-language learners to more successfully transition to our Foundational Manufacturing curriculum and beyond. Similar efforts in Health Care have led to making the Certified Nurse Asst. class at GCC (non-credit) among the most diverse of all of our offerings. We hope to expand these efforts to ServSafe Food Protection manager training and others in the near future.
Adding my gender pronouns to my email signature AND taking the time to explain why I am doing that and what it means whenever someone asks about it.
My focus this year will be on the Preferred Name Policy. This is being taken up on a state level and I am hopeful that this interest will help move us from a place of discussion and philosophical support to action and practical change.