Student & Community Expectations

On April 4, 2016, Otterbein students, with the support of faculty and staff members, rallied to promote increased diversity and inclusion. After peaceful demonstrations, students met with university administrators to put forth a list of demands that addressed campus programming, hiring practices, course content and community events. These demands were a call for us to continue to live up to the values on which this university was founded. As such, they have become shared expectations that we hold for the entire community. See below to learn more about how Otterbein continues to work to address them and strives to become the community our students envision.

Implementing diversity training for faculty and administrators starting academic year 2016-2017

A few weeks after the student rally in spring 2016, Otterbein’s General Education Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee focused the annual Great Expectations faculty conference on “Inclusive Teaching, Diverse Classrooms.” The keynote speaker was Dr. Lisa Guion Jones from North Carolina State University, who spoke on “Integrating Diversity and Inclusion into General Education and Beyond,” which informed the curriculum redesign in Integrative Studies the following year. Breakout sessions at the conference addressed a number of related topics. We continued this topic at the Fall Faculty Conference in August 2016, featuring diversity practitioner Kimberly Brazwell. All faculty are expected to attend these conferences.

Also in the fall of 2016, Otterbein began holding an annual All Administrative and Staff Conference during fall semester with a focus on equity and inclusion. Cabinet agreed to close all offices during this time, and all administrators were expected to attend. The focus for 2018 was on equity and inclusion in the workplace. Keynote speaker, Dr. Rhonda Talford Knight, spoke on the importance of fostering an open and inclusive environment. Workshops addressed unpacking privilege, LGBTQIA+ topics in the workplace, supporting a global ethos, racism and serving our changing student population. We average over 200 employees in attendance for an interactive and collaborative learning experience. Evaluations were extremely positive and the community was interested in continuing this type of professional development, with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee taking the lead in planning future conferences.

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) continues to sponsor several workshop/conversation sessions a year as part of their “Inclusive Teaching Series.” Attendance is open to anyone at Otterbein interested in participating. Two online resources were created to house materials from events, one on  Inclusive Teaching and another on Faculty Resources for Supporting Students in the Classroom (libguide) to provide just in time information focusing around Advising, Disability Services, and Mental Health. For a listing of recent inclusive teaching events, see the CTL’s Inclusive Teaching LibGuide.

Hiring a Chief Diversity Officer by the end of the academic year 2016-2017

Otterbein’s cabinet continues to explore options for creating this position, although having it in place by the end of AY 2016-2017 is probably not realistic.

However, in 2017, we awarded a Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship to Andre Lampkins, Director of External Relations at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO). Andre has a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Otterbein and is a current graduate student. As part of the Fellowship, Andre is working with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee; the Student Success Advocates group in Academic Affairs; and various student organizations in Student Affairs, especially those affiliated with the Office of Social Justice and Activism. In collaboration with our Human Resources Director, he is helping to develop a plan for increasing the diversity of our employee hires; and with our Enrollment Management division Andre is consulting on communicating with racially and cultural diverse student recruits and ensuring that our visits and events reflect a welcoming environment for a diverse range of student identities.

Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee interviewed current Chief Diversity Officers at peer institutions to help understand what structures help make this position influential on their respective campuses. As a result, we were able to identify a model that would work well for Otterbein.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Office of Social Justice and Activism (OSJA) began working with Otterbein’s new President, John Comerford on how to best structure and implement the position. Moving forward, we will continue working toward securing the budget necessary to implement the position successfully.

Increasing the cultural diversity of our faculty needs to start now with our next wave of new hires; Short and long term plans need to be put in place to sustain this commitment to diversity objectives

Diversity & Inclusion Fellow Andre Lampkins and Human Resources Director Scott Fitzgerald have outlined a three-part strategy for increasing the diversity of Otterbein’s hires. The strategy includes more deliberate integration for Otterbein into the greater Columbus area; review of Otterbein’s HR website to more intentionally send welcoming and inclusive messages; and review of the steps in our current hiring practices to determine where we might make improvements in guarding against hidden biases. We also produced a video, now found on our career opportunities page, that summarizes our commitment to providing an inclusive workplace in order to attract candidates with similar values.

On the faculty side, we piloted asking applicants for a diversity and inclusion statement in searches during 2017-18 and fully implemented this requirement for searches in 2018-19. In that year, a group of faculty also volunteered to serve as “equity advisers” for searches outside of their own departments to help identify unintended bias in the screening of applications and during the interview process. We also sent two department chairs to a conference for doctoral students of color in order to expand our network of faculty applicants who know about Otterbein.

More participation from faculty and administration in diversity and inclusion efforts

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee hosts regular common hours to engage the entire community in university-wide conversations. The Common Hour on Oct. 19, 2016, from 4-5 p.m. reviewed the responses that academic departments submitted to the “Question of the Year” in their annual academic reports during the 2015-2016 academic year. We had over 60 people (30 staff and administrators; 17 faculty members; and 15 students and alumni) join us that day for conversation around four themes: Recruiting diverse students and employees; Supporting an inclusive climate on campus for all members of the Otterbein community; Infusing equity awareness in teaching and learning spaces; and Taking action based on the things we’ve heard and learned.  The D&I Common Hour in the following spring provided time to share what Otterbein has been doing well and where we see opportunity for improvement with regard to inclusive hiring practices.

Since then, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee has sponsored Common Hours that bring together members of our community to engage in meaningful conversation about timely topics. After the Charlottesville march in fall 2017, we came together to “Stand Against Racism” and confront “Breaking White Silence.” In 2018, during the Kindness Matters initiative, we explored the intersections of kindness and activism in “Constructing Kindness.” And in 2018, we delved into dialogue in “Tackling Difficult Topics through Effective, Meaningful Conversation” and “Identity and Representation,” a two-part series designed to help us listen to and learn from divergent voices in the controversy over the theatre department’s decision first to put on and then later withdraw a production of West Side Story.

Better university support for diversity events through campus-wide communication channels (i.e. Academic Affairs sends out a notice on Feminist Pride Day)

The Conversations and Communication Working Group of the D&I Committee has been working on better communicating all diversity, equity, and inclusion-related efforts on campus. The “Equity & Inclusion” website was launched during Fall 2016.

A newsletter, Equity and Inclusion Matters, was also launched during Fall 2016, with a new issue every semester. They are distributed on the Equity and Inclusion website and archived in the Digital Commons.

Events sponsored by the Race and Ethnic Studies minor are advertised through the Academic Affairs Office as well as by Student Affairs.

FYS general education diversity requirement

In the fall of 2016, FYS instructors were asked to require their students to attend at least one FYE co-curricular event that was designated by the Office of Social Justice and Activism as #cardsSTANDtogether. Approximately 25% of the total co-curricular sessions offered this year were given this designation. This practice continues for all FYS classes.

INST diversity event requirement for students; Propose that students have to attend two diversity events throughout the semester

Students in all INST courses are asked to attend 2-4 cultural events that have been INST approved. As of 2016, at least 2 of those events must be diversity events that are part of the #CardsStandTogether program.

The response from INST went beyond the diversity event requirement to the INST curriculum itself. The new INST curriculum model developed during 2016-17 requires that every student take one class each in both domestic and global diversity. For the former, the description of the existing INST 2000 course group was revised to more explicitly require that the courses address issues of power, privilege and difference in terms of identities such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexual identity. For the latter, they created a new INST 2800 series of courses focused on global cultures, both historical and contemporary. Courses proposed for the new three-credit curriculum were evaluated on how they aligned with this focus and how well they met the defined outcomes to develop students’ intercultural knowledge and competencies. Both the INST Advisory and General Education committees are highly aware that these two courses served the purpose of ensuring that every undergraduate who attends Otterbein takes at least two classes which engaged them in exploration of diversity (both domestic and global) and use that as a litmus test for approving classes. In some cases, courses that had previously served as an INST 2000 were not put forward for the new curriculum because they did not have sufficient focus on diversity and inclusion. In other cases, proposals were sent back for revision and/or consultation and were not approved until the General Education committee agreed that they met the goals of this curricular revision and felt comfortable that students who completed the courses had met that minimum requirement of taking two courses focused on diversity. Of course, INST 2000 and 2800 are not the only places in our curriculum where students engage in discussions of diversity; there are many other courses in INST that also meet these goals, as well as classes in majors. But the revision of the INST curriculum ensures that, starting with the 2018-19 catalog year admits, every student at Otterbein will take at least two classes that explicitly address questions of self, power, difference, and global cultures.

In addition, just a few weeks after the 2016 rally, the University Senate approved a new Race and Ethnic Studies minor that had been in development for over a year. Not only does this minor allow students to focus their coursework on topics of race and ethnicity, but the program also sponsors a number of events and guest speakers for the entire campus.

Strengthen residence hall diversity programming to increase intercultural dialogue and competency

As of January 2017, five (5) diversity related events have been held in the residence halls which were co-sponsored/co-presented with the Office of Diversity or a diversity student organization. Halls included Mayne (2), Scott, 25 W. Home St., and DeVore.

Hall staff sponsored nine (9) other diversity related active programs which included other presenters and/or RAs presenting programs. The topics included Implicit Bias, Beauty Around the World, winter holidays and general conversations around diversity related topics. Halls hosting events included Mayne (2), Scott (2), DeVore (2), Clements/Hanby, Garst and Davis. Fifteen (15) diversity related bulletin boards were displayed in the halls during fall semester.

Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, OSJA continued to work with Residence Life staff in preparing RA’s to host equity and inclusion programs within the residence halls. One of the highlights included a DiversiTea event in several residence halls which focused on helping students understand the terminology surrounding diverse identities, challenges and initiatives. Another event hosted during the year influenced students to think about their responsibility to themselves, families, friends and the greater community.

Resident Assistants should document and report all acts of hate to Otterbein Police Department; This will help gauge how the university is doing and help provide evidence for offenders, especially repeat offenders

The bias reporting policy was presented during fall RA training along with sessions presented by James Prysock and ally training with Dr. Judy Guion-Utsler.

This past academic year, bias reporting training for RA’s continued. RA’s communicated with OSJA effectively when incidents of bias occurred in the residence halls. Every RA who reported also was a major factor in holding their entire residence hall responsible for implementing an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone.

Administrators James Prysock and Julie Saker will continue to work with RA’s in this effort. We will go over examples of recent campus incidents during RA training and help RA’s become more experienced and comfortable with handling tough situations and facilitating tough conversations with residents.

Each chapter in Greek Life needs to start implementing their diversity standard to help build their cultural understanding and genuine relationships; Part of that standard should be attending a given number of diversity events throughout the year

During fall term of 2017, the Center for Student Involvement staff met with the Office of Diversity and student leaders to brainstorm collaboration in supporting Greek chapters in the implementation of the Diversity standard. Greek Council support for modeling this standard was further discussed with student leadership as we kicked off spring term. Chapter success in the implementation of this standard will be demonstrated in annual reports due in March.

During the spring term of 2019, two Greek Life chapters worked with OSJA to facilitate events on the gender pay gap and racial wealth gap. Many chapters participated in the discussion and workshop to explore how does race and gender play a part of Greek Life recruitment and acceptance. Both parties will continue the partnership next year in hopes of creating more accountability within Greek Life chapters.

Highlighting incidents of racism during Otterbein Uncensored in student testimonials and role playing; This should help build a standard of what it means to be a member of the Otterbein community and incidents of hate will not be tolerated on campus

We updated application/interview process to include more inclusive language and more questions related to Otterbein’s value of inclusion. Twenty percent of the 2017 Orientation Leaders were students of color.

This momentum further improved during the 2018-2019 academic year. The Orientation Leader group was the most diverse ever. In addition, the Otterbein Uncensored event displayed a diverse representation of student narratives and experiences on campus. There were several examples on how race, gender and sexual orientation play an integral part in people’s identity. Just as importantly, the program displayed ways of how to address incidents of bias on campus and become an ally in our community.

More ethnic diversity amongst the selected Common Book authors (Within a four-year span, it would be ideal to have at least one author of color selected)

The Otterbein community has responded to this demand by working to have more diverse campus speakers and more social justice issues highlighted during major yearly programs, not just the Common Book. In 2017-18, we engaged in three semesters of conversation about inequities in the U.S. prison system, hosting prison reform activist Bryonn Bain as our Spring 2017 Pack Scholar in Residence, Just Mercy author Bryan Stevenson for our Fall 2017 Common Book program, and Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman for our Spring 2018 Pack Distinguished Lecturer. Our commitment to the students’ request has continued with the 2018 Common Book, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, the recently announce 2019 Common Book, Maria Toorpakay Wazir’s A Different Kind of Daughter, and the 2019 Vernon Pack Scholar-in-Residence, environmental and indigenous rights activist, Winona LaDuke.

Incident Reporting

If you see, hear or experience an incident of bias or discrimination, report it immediately to the Otterbein Police at 614-823-1222, or via the Silent Witness form.  You should also contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at 614-823-1250. For a full list of reporting options, please read the Bias Incident Reporting Policy (PDF).