On April 15 and 16, Dr. Alma Clayton-Pederson and Sonja Armstrong with Emeritus Counseling Group were on campus as part of the diversity, inclusivity and equity scan of the campus they are conducting.
Clayton-Pederson and Armstrong held open hours for anyone on campus who would like to discuss the current state of diversity at Knox. They will then take this information to as a part of their research before they release a preliminary report to Knox in June. The report will detail a list of things that the college is doing right, as well as areas that it will need to work on and suggestions to improve them.
President Teresa Amott said Clayton-Pederson and Armstrong have been impressed by the diversity and honesty in the Knox community, but it’s too soon for more feedback than that.
Amott emphasized that this report will be preliminary because the school has just opened a diverse learning environment survey, which will give the school and the consultants more data to help refine their recommendations. So the final report will most likely come out over the summer.
“[Our expectations] are that we are a respectful campus to all, an inclusive campus, not just a diverse campus, and that we have practices in place and live our lives according to a sense of equity across the board as opposed to places where those haven’t always been the case,” Dean of the College Laura Behling said.
The scan, which started back in December, is of every office at Knox, including academic programs and departments, administrative offices, campus safety and athletics. This is their second visit to campus and their last before the report is released.
“Any institution can benefit from the fresh perspective that’s not inside your community,” Amott said.
Amott says that Knox’s problem is not encouraging a more diverse student body to attend the university, but making sure they have the same experience regardless of their background.
The scan will look into all of these areas including equity and inclusivity on campus, meaning the access to the same kind of experience and people’s participation in these experiences.
“There’s so much to do here and if you feel like you can’t participate in a particular thing for some reason, we need to break those barriers down so we can make people feel like they can make the most of their Knox experience,” Dean of Students Deb Southern said.
Amott says the college is not going to sit around and wait for the result of the scan, which is why they released the “Becoming One Community” document online so that anyone can see what the college is working on. The online document will be updated every month so students can see the progress that the college is making in these areas as they go along.
On the page, there is a “send feedback” button that anyone is encouraged to use to recommend any changes that need to be made to the document or comments on topics that should be added. So far, it has been mainly alumni who have given feedback this way.
Further information is located in an email from Amott sent to campus on April 14. Found on Knox’s website, the page can be accessed via http://goo.gl/8HxWSV.
When asked what she hoped the campus would look like in 2018, Amott said, “I would hope it’s a campus that embraces the conversations and learning that happens when you’re put together in a residential context with people whose lives are so much different than your own and see that as the asset it is.”