Le Fer Hall

Woods Commits to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Blog | 11.09.2020

Q & A with Dee Reed ’08

Dee Reed outside of the office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Dee Reed ’08, Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Why did SMWC create the office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

At this moment in our institutional history, we are establishing priorities for the coming years through the Aspire Even Higher Strategic Plan. Diversity is a common thread in the plan. Of course, this is not a new concept for The Woods. This culture of diversity and inclusion are fundamental elements, firmly anchored to our values. However, formalizing this commitment will provide a more intentional and strategic, college-wide approach to inclusion and diversity efforts. With the social justice challenges facing our country, our consistent and deliberate actions will ensure that the College is strong in its resolve to infuse the core values of diversity and inclusion throughout campus life.

What excites you the most about your new role?

First and foremost, I am grateful to work within an institution that is truly dedicated to going beyond the surface level of diversity and inclusion. The support from the campus community and alums has been outstanding. I look forward to creating opportunities to actively engage our community in the dialogue around challenging issues in our society today – race, gender identity, class, bias and more. 

I am excited about the transformational work of inclusion. Enhancing an inclusive culture that encourages everyone to feel valued for their unique qualities and contributions and to experience a sense of belonging is at the core of inclusion. Through intentional dialogue, education and introspection, we’ll discover how our identities intersect and how our differences can shape a holistic community. In this environment, we welcome all voices, eliminate barriers and demonstrate value for each other’s humanity. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

What steps is the College taking to emphasize diversity?

We continue efforts through strategic planning and the Diversity Council. This fall, we offered educational and training sessions, held events that focused on social justice and administered a campus climate survey to faculty, staff and students. A George Floyd Scholarship for Racial Equity was established by alumni to support Black American students — in addition to diversity scholarships we’ve been offering for the last few years. The College works collaboratively with community organizations and government officials and is partnering with local institutions to provide educational and social opportunities for our students. 

As a recipient of a recent Indiana Humanities grant, what other opportunities are there?

The Indiana Humanities grant allowed the College to add books and materials that advance racial equity to the Rooney Library collection. These materials are used to facilitate conversations and promote cultural sensitivity. 

Funding in support of diversity and inclusion can assist the College in more tangible and sustainable ways from recruiting faculty, staff and students to contributing to anti-racism efforts and developing innovative programming. Additionally, gifts and grants have the potential to provide new opportunities for our community to become active in engaging advocates for diversity where all individuals feel appreciated and where their contributions are respected and appreciated.

Read the Full Issue

Now branded Onyx Anneau, the fall edition has a refreshed look that includes stories from alumni, students and highlights employees. It focuses on the growth of the College through the construction of a new residence and dining hall. Dottie King, Ph.D., shares her 10 years of experience as president of SMWC. It also features stories of alumnae who are working on bettering their community through office.


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