Looking Back. Advancing Forward

We believe that each and every single one of us has the responsibility to create an environment where everyone — regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability — feels valued and respected.

We stand firm in that charge because justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion is a journey, not a destination. Our commitment to JEDI is real, longstanding, and infused with action. 

Along with our long demonstrated commitment to JEDI, the rich diversity in our community provides an important context and resource for our work. Among our student body:

  • 63% self-identify as students of color
  • 41.3% are Pell Grant eligible
  • 33% are first-generation students

Among our faculty, 28.6% of tenure-track faculty self-identify as African American or Black, Hispanic* or Latinx, Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander or multiracial.

The diversity of the student body is also reflected in our staff — 48.86% identified as Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Diversity is also evident in Agnes Scott's leadership, as four of the seven college's vice presidents are women of color.

Additionally, through our unique and renowned liberal arts experience SUMMIT, all Agnes Scott students gain ongoing training and tools to help foster a culture of inclusion and respect.

Lastly, in many ways, the 2020-2021 JEDI plan is the outgrowth of impressive milestones reached in 2019, including:

President Leocadia Zak hired Dr. Yves-Rose Porcena as the college’s inaugural vice president for equity and inclusion.
Agnes Scott’s Counseling and Psychological Services, ranked #12 by The Princeton Review for best counseling services, is a team of diverse and fully licensed clinicians and mental health professionals.
Twenty-one all-gender bathrooms were established throughout the college in 2019 as a result of work spearheaded by the Scottie Safe Zone Committee.
Through the work of the fellows at the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion, the college concluded a comprehensive campus climate audit.
The Association of American Colleges & Universities selected Agnes Scott College as one of 24 universities to host Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation campus centers. The TRHT Implementation Team works with the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion to coordinate campus efforts. This team will consider additional goals, programs and interventions to address national and campus needs as they emerge.

In late spring, as the world grappled with the intensifying coronavirus pandemic and ongoing systemic racism, President Leocadia Zak reaffirmed the college’s commitment to confront and condemn racial injustice and called on all members of our community to work together to identify impactful solutions in this Message of Support and Solidarity.

Progress and actions steps taken during the second half of 2020 offers early, compelling evidence of JEDI’s institutional impact:

The college, through the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion launched the webinar series of courageous conversations on race and the social inequities of COVID-19.
  • The college’s Department of Public Safety adopted President Obama’s Reimagine Policing pledge, a call “to review and reform the use of force policies, redefine public safety and combat systemic racism within law enforcement.” Chief Hope leads the president’s public safety task force in advancing these goals.
  • The college reiterated and further affirmed that Black Lives Matter through a community and campus poster campaign.
President Zak charged the McCain Library and the TRHT implementation team to conduct a thorough review of the college's documents and structures to acknowledge our past and take actions for a transformed future.
The college hosted Dr. Beverly Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College and author of "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" for its annual kickoff community forum.
The Agnes Scott College Office of the President awarded 11 Mellon Foundation’s presidential campus grants to fund faculty and staff projects that advance social and racial justice in the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • All Agnes Scott employees are now paid the living wage target established by the college’s Board of Trustees. A statement reflecting our commitment to a living wage is now included in all RFP's for outsourced services.
  • President Zak restructured the college’s Office of Human Resources into the Division of Equity and renamed it the Office of People and Culture to:
    • Center the role of our employees as institutional history- and culture-makers
    • Advance an inclusive culture
    • Ensure that all employees have the knowledge, skills, and competencies to serve and support our diverse constituents.
  • To further affirm our JEDI commitment, the Board of Trustees committed to engaging in a series of conversations about race and appointed a working group to draft a statement and action steps.
  • The college created and published a more transparent policy and central reporting mechanism to facilitate reporting of concerns, bias or discriminatory behaviors experienced or witnessed by members of our communities.
  • The Student Government Association passed a resolution for the implementation of student implicit bias coursework throughout SUMMIT and year-specific courses for all undergraduate students.
The Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion received a grant from Alliance for Full Acceptance to send Agnes Scott students to the upcoming January 2021 Creating Change Conference.

Various ongoing JEDI efforts continue at the college, including:

  • The Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion hosts weekly, bi-weekly and monthly training opportunities and cultural events to educate and honor our faculty, staff and students. Please see our events calendar for more information.
  • Various college departments including Counseling and Psychological Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion Center, the Office of Internships and Career Development, the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation planning team, and the Wellness Center host targeted workshops and spaces aimed at decolonizing the curriculum, addressing racial trauma in the classroom and offering racial healing spaces for black students and other people of color.
  • College Advancement has prioritized key equity needs in order to identify fundraising opportunities to meet these needs.
  • The college initiated its process of creating the next strategic plan, in which JEDI objectives will be key pillars.

We are proud of these structural changes and successes, and we acknowledge that we need to do much more. In addition to our ongoing work on JEDI, we are committing to pivoting as new challenges surface. And we will implement new initiatives and actions to advance our commitments to anti-racism, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

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