A $300,000 gift from an anonymous Occidental College alumnus of the 1990s will fund the creation of a new justice, equity, inclusion and diversity (JEID) training and professional development program in support of Occidental’s Equity & Justice Agenda and broader JEID goals.
Occidental’s Office for Equity & Justice is currently searching for an education specialist to develop and implement the pilot program, with the expectation that the College will subsequently evaluate the pilot to determine the best way to continue to meet its goals.
“This generous and strategic gift is a critical step toward the realization of Occidental’s mission and of our Equity & Justice Agenda,” says President Harry J. Elam, Jr. “This kind of tangible support from an Oxy alum who knows first-hand the value of excellence and equity, and how one is inseparable from the other, will have a tremendous impact on our efforts.”
Occidental’s Equity & Justice Agenda, announced by President Elam in March 2021, outlines a series of initiatives to support the College’s goal to develop and maintain an educational environment in which all students, staff and faculty are welcomed and valued, where they can belong, thrive and excel. (A one-year update on the Agenda can be found here.)
“To be sure, equity and justice have been central to Oxy's official mission for more than 40 years, and have formed important strands of the College's history for much longer,” Elam said in announcing the agenda. “Still, like so many other American institutions, Occidental’s history with racial justice issues is a complex one, with the College not always on the side of promoting equality. It is important to recognize this history as we strive to make Occidental not only a national leader in liberal arts education, but a more equitable and just place.”
The donor of the program start-up funds made it clear that Oxy's emphasis on excellence, equity, community and service, the cornerstones of the College's mission statement adopted in 1990 under the leadership of then-President John B. Slaughter, continues to have a lasting impact.
The purpose of the new JEID program is twofold: to give the Oxy community the skills and knowledge needed to support the success of marginalized and minoritized students, and to support all students to successfully engage with an increasingly diverse world, says David Carreon Bradley, vice president for equity and justice, to whom the JEID education specialist will report.
“We hope to have the education specialist on board as early as this summer so they can begin the task of creating a curriculum that will include a train-the-trainer program—a framework for training facilitators who can then train others at the College,” Carreon Bradley says.
Working in collaboration with the Intercultural Community Center, the Center for Teaching Excellence and other campus offices, the specialist will be asked to create an in-person, virtual and web-based curriculum to address such topics as cultural competency, bias mitigation and allyship. The specialist also will be responsible for creating a comprehensive program evaluation and assessment process.
Learn more about how to support Oxy’s Equity & Justice Agenda and other JEID goals of the College.