Our Equity Commitment
We acknowledge that Emerson has not fostered a culture of equity and anti-racism, and we renew our commitment to creating this culture. We are committed to grow in knowledge and empathy about the invidious nature of whiteness as a caste system of power. We are committed to use that understanding to interrogate and address policies and practices that exclude, diminish, and alienate members of our community and society. We accept responsibility for perennially engaging with the community to transform Emerson’s culture, so that all students, faculty, and staff can thrive and bring the fullness of their identities and spirit to learning and working together.
Academic Affairs takes student reports of bias and identity-based harm in the classroom seriously and attends to issues that are reported. An incident can be reported:
- anonymously in the course evaluation form at the end of the semester where it can be reviewed by the faculty member and chair,
- in the mid-term feedback form as a way to engage anonymously with the instructor, or
- directly to the Department Chair or Program Director.
The following documents demonstrate how the schools are focusing on the strategic goal of academic and inclusive excellence in their areas.
May 2021 Academic Affairs in Dialogue with Access: Student Disability Union
Responding to the Access Advocacy Action Plan for Disability Equity, Academic Affairs acknowledges our commitment to future progress.
April 2021 Community Town Hall Academic Department/Institute Reports
In support of #ESOCWeekOfAction, Emerson College students, faculty members, and staff were invited to a Community Town Hall on April 16, 2021. The following are reports discussed during the Town Hall from the seven academic departments and the Marlboro Institute:
- Communication Sciences and Disorders
- Communication Studies
- Marketing Communication
- Performing Arts
- Visual and Media Arts
- Writing, Literature and Publishing
- Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies
Academic Affairs Action Items
Issues and incidents of bias are met with respect, empathy, and action:
- Created bias incident flowchart in Academic Affairs
- Create a prominent webpage that directs those who have experienced identity-based harm to the area able to address the harm.
- Annually report aggregate number of incidents by area and record actions taken.
- Each semester, continue to analyze question 12 of the student evaluation instrument (inclusive learning environment) by department. Chairs will follow up with faculty with low scores and feedback of concern.
- Develop guidelines to help chairs establish an environment of validation and trust with students when they approach chairs with a matter of concern.
- Academic leaders will participate in an annual forum to hear Emerson Students of Color (ESOC) concerns around bias and equity and will report out.
Hire and Retain Black / Indigenous / Persons of Color (BIPOC) Faculty
- Continue to recruit and hire diverse full-time faculty. (See the hiring process here.)
- Focus on increasing the percentage of diverse affiliated faculty.
- Continue retention of full-time BIPOC faculty. (98% in ’20–’21, 95% in ’19–’20, 100% in ’18–’19, Factbook Data)
- Survey BIPOC faculty about the Nexus mentoring programs and elicit ideas for improvement.
- Continue hiring (including BIPOC hires) based on faculty expertise, consistent with fields identified originally in job position descriptions, and then delineated in appointment letters.
- Recognize the essential service that BIPOC faculty provide to students and to the community through a change to the Faculty Handbook. (We seek Faculty Assembly endorsement of this Faculty Handbook change.)
- Continue offering incentives for the third level of equity training.
- Continue offering the Presidential Fund for Curricular Innovation workshops focused on equity or internationalization with compensation.
- Develop second-level equity training for faculty. (We seek Faculty Assembly endorsement to require this training for all faculty.)
- The Director for Faculty Development and Diversity will publish the learning goals for the three levels of training on the website.
Faculty Support: Dr. Tuesda Roberts
Dr. Tuesda Roberts’ role is to provide support to faculty and other members of the Emerson College community as they engage in anti-oppressive approaches within the classroom and beyond. Dr. Roberts provides one-on-one consultations, designs and facilitates faculty workshops, develops educational materials, facilitates dialogs among various interest groups, and serves as a thought partner for staff and administrators as they develop plans to advance equitable teaching, learning, and working environments.
She designs and facilitates the Teaching and Learning in the Context of Emerson’s Diverse Student Community Workshop. This workshop serves as a common faculty development experience during which all Emerson faculty members can learn about the breadth of diversity at Emerson, consider the ways in which academic and sociocultural knowledge are related, and learn about various elements that contribute to equitable learning experiences. Specifically, the faculty development objectives for this workshop are;
- Faculty will recall and analyze impacts their educational environments have had on their intellectual and socio-cultural development.
- Through descriptions and sample applications, faculty will examine the interrelatedness of four aspects of anti-oppressive pedagogy.
- Faculty will contemplate curricular and relational aspects anti-oppressive learning environments.
Dr. Roberts also helms the Diversity Fellows Program. The Diversity Fellows Program is an annual, cohort-based program that provides support and a community of peers for faculty members who are working to design and implement pedagogical shifts related to equity-oriented content, instruction, assessment, and/or classroom dynamics. Samantha Ivery, Emerson’s Director of Diversity and Equity Initiatives, is a key collaborator of this initiative. The central faculty development objectives for the Diversity Fellows Program are;
- Using curricular and course design as levers for change, cohort members will have opportunities to examine relationships between positionalities, power, and pedagogy.
- Through discussion, peer feedback and consultations, cohort members will learn about and apply strategies related to the anti-oppressive goals detailed in their individualized plans of action.
Anti-Racist Syllabus Review and Departmental Curriculum Audit
Departmental Responses to ESOC Demands
Marlboro Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies
School of Communication
School of the Arts
Diversity Action Plans
These plans demonstrate how schools are focusing on the strategic goal of academic and inclusive excellence in their areas. Each Plan covers the areas of curriculum, pedagogy, hiring, and student recruitment, with appropriate targets and goals set within each.
Academic Cabinet Training
- Just the Facts, FACTUALITY
- Tema Okun
- Saltwater Social Justice Training
- SJC trainings