diversity initiativesWilliams College

Message from the President

May 19, 2006

To the Williams Community,

As the term draws to a close, I'd like to update the community on the two years of the College's Diversity Initiatives.

This effort was launched in the fall of 2004 to generate ideas on steps the College could take to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff can thrive at Williams. Achievement of this goal is vital. As I said in the Introduction to the Initiatives' Self Study, the College's mission to provide the highest quality liberal arts education requires the rich variety of backgrounds and experiences that students, faculty, and staff bring to the task of educating each other.

Almost every part of the College has been involved in the Initiatives process, communicating with each other through the Coordinating Committee.

Included here is a brief summary of steps taken to date, with links to fuller information.

The most far-reaching changes may be those that are structural. The measures of progress toward becoming an inclusive community that we devised should enable us to know more clearly than ever how well or poorly we're doing and should help keep us focused on the tangible. We also changed the very way in which the College incorporates considerations of diversity into its planning and practices. We did this by transforming the current position of Assistant to the President for Affirmative Action and Government Relations to that of Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity. The first position will soon be vacated with the retirement of Nancy McIntire after many years of exemplary service. The latter will be taken up this fall by Mike Reed '75, a current member of the Board of Trustees, a former administrative staff member, and currently a consultant on diversity issues to corporations, organizations, and government agencies across the country and abroad.

As always, these efforts toward greater inclusiveness continue. Using the measurements that the Initiatives process has devised, we need to assess the impact over time of the steps listed here and continually refine and add to them. We'll work out, with the guidance of Mike Reed, the best ways to do that.

For now let me thank the very many people who have contributed in large and small ways to this important work.

Best regards,

Morty Schapiro
President of the College