At Adler University we stand for social justice. We will continue to examine what it means to be a social justice institution and hold ourselves accountable for living that mission. At Adler, that means a renewed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our work.
During the summer of 2020, a spotlight was put on the conscious and unconscious ways that institutions both accept and advance an anti-Black culture. The nation borne witness to a seemingly unending rash of murders of Black men and women by authorities, and the COVID-19 pandemic put in focus how the failure to address health disparities in communities of color has led to disproportionately high numbers of severe illness and deaths in those communities. An awakening occurred and even the most progressive institutions began to see their own shortcomings.
At Adler, we listened, reflected and allowed ourselves to understand our own shortcomings, and we will continue to do so everyday going forward. But, listening, reflecting and understanding, while all important, are not nearly enough. Actions are demanded and required. Actions must become a vital part of our mission going forward.
As a higher education institution, we have a responsibility to address how the forces of systemic racism and colonialism in our country have shaped what students learn in the classroom. We must reexamine and then transform the classroom experience to more expansively and deeply include attention to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the curriculum. Tolerance must be replaced with an authentic appreciation and celebration of difference. For this reason, beginning in January 2021, Adler began a multi-year curriculum transformation plan that will revisit academic pedagogy to re-imagine how the BIPOC experience is interwoven through all the courses and programs we offer.
Additionally, Black students and faculty within Adler University issued a call for change, demanding that policy, practice and structural changes be made to address racism in all forms. The thoughtfulness and passion of those raising their voices is deeply appreciated. Adler is actively working to create change around the issues shared in their document. In constructively addressing these vitally important issues, our goal is to include the voices and vision of Adler’s BIPOC community, including students and faculty, but recognize, in the words of Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name, bell hooks, “what we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.”
In recent years, Adler has taken important steps to expand the diversity of its leadership team. Today, four out of nine of Adler’s institutional senior staff positions are led by BIPOC leaders. In 2019, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion was launched and expanded to include additional staff and resources. Learn more about the Center for Diversity & Inclusion.
While actions toward creating a more equitable and inclusive culture have been made, we heartily acknowledge that much more remains to be done. Adler is committed to working with students and faculty to create a learning environment truly reflective of our mission.
Adler University’s Vision: The leading academic institution advancing socially responsible practice, healthy communities, and a more just society.
In order to realize our vision, more fully live our mission, and build upon our anti-racism agenda, Adler will work with faculty across all three campuses to transform our curriculum and learning outcomes. By addressing the narrowness of a too often white-centered curriculum, Adler will seek to ensure that every class and program effectively addresses issues of justice and human diversity.
This work is co-chaired by Wendy Paszkiewicz, Psy.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs in collaboration with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
In June of 2020, Black students and faculty at Adler shared with the administration what they call The 2020 Adler University Black Community Demands and Expectations, which outlines policies, practices and structural changes they would like to see adopted and implemented across the University’s three campuses. Adler’s leadership listened, reflected and began taking action. Committed to addressing the calls for change outlined by students and faculty, President Crossman assigned a senior University leader to each issue/policy to ensure accountability–and also made available to all staff and students a tracker document of progress to date, that is updated monthly.
As the University continues to address all items, it has made significant progress on several. In an effort to be more transparent about its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, that document is now available to the public. In addition, Adler has expanded on the student requests to institute additional change. Click here to learn more about Adler’s Curriculum Transformation plan.