From: Debra DeMeis, Dean of Students
Re: Initiative on Diversity and Inclusion for Students / Restructuring in Student Life
Date: January 14, 2011

I am writing to update you on the Initiative for Diversity and Inclusion for Students (IDIS), launched in October 2009. As you may remember, the Initiative was designed to answer the question, “What would success look like if Wellesley College was a truly diverse and inclusive community?” The desired outcomes of the initiative were a vision exemplified by clear strategic directions for diversity and inclusion for students and a strategic plan for creating the infrastructure necessary to support the vision.

Working with the Core Committee and External Advisory Committee, we have created a guiding vision and program that reflects the community’s aspirations and concerns regarding diversity and inclusion. You will find an explanation of the Process that we used to undertaken this work, and the Outcomes that have resulted from it, on the Wellesley IDIS website.

Central to these outcomes is the creation of the Office of Intercultural Education which is charged with implementing four Strategic Directions in areas of diversity and inclusion in support of the College’s commitment to educating students for national and global citizenship and equipping them with the knowledge and skills they can use to create a diverse and inclusive campus community and to live and succeed in a diverse world.

The office will be staffed by the Cultural Advisors whose responsibilities will be expanded to include responsibility for developing and implementing programs aimed at achieving the four strategic directions. While the advisors will continue the important work of supporting particular student social identity groups, in their new positions as Assistant Deans of Intercultural Education, they will have key leadership roles in defining and coordinating campus efforts to educate students to be more multiculturally competent and to facilitate a more inclusive campus. Providing leadership for the office will be the Dean of Intercultural Education whose primary focus will be to guide the creation of this new office, work in collaboration with the assistant deans in defining short and long-term goals and objectives, designing and implementing programs, and overseeing the administration of the office. I am pleased to announce that Victor Kazanjian will be taking on this new position in addition to his current responsibilities as Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Victor brings experience at Wellesley, nationally and internationally envisioning strategic directions and implementing new structures for educational institutions that further the goals of multiculturalism and diversity. As Co-director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Wellesley, Victor teaches on the processes of social change, and in particular issues of race, class, power and privilege. He has presented nationally, authored and edited books and numerous journal articles on religious diversity and higher education, and served on boards and commissions for professional organizations such as the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

Following a year and a half of hard work by many people on the Initiative, I am excited to begin the work of implementing its recommendations as we help Wellesley to move forward in reaching its aspirations in areas of diversity and inclusion.