1. Implement anti-racist and anti-bias education and accountability at all levels of the institution.
In order to better serve our mission, Thacher has engaged several experts to support anti-racist and anti-bias education. Every two weeks, these experts are holding DEI educational sessions with students, faculty and staff, and/or the administration. We have also reallocated internal resources to support, implement, and extend this work.
The whole School is benefitting from this year’s Anacapa Scholar, Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, who is on sabbatical from UCLA.
- Dr. Johnson is working with faculty at large and with the History Department to develop enhanced antiracist teaching pedagogy and practice.
- Dr. Johnson is facilitating a monthly series of professional development training sessions through the end of the year.
- In the fall of 2020, Dr. Johnson shared a model of culturally responsive pedagogy through her sophomore Latin American History course.
We are working with Equity Meets Design
, experts in applying a design thinking methodology combined with equity literacy practice to solving problems of inequity, to answer the question, “How do we do equity at Thacher?”
- Their engagement with faculty and staff began in January
- Work with students will begin in the spring.
- Work with the administration team will begin once our director of student life has been hired.
The School is actively engaged in an ongoing community transformation effort.
- With a focus on the harms experienced by members of our community, we are following a structured process of listening, sharing across differences, and pursuing collective and individual accountability and action.
- We are holding ongoing sessions at each grade level for students and faculty.
The DEI office, in partnership with Thacher adult and student affinity and ally groups, has sponsored workshops for students:
During the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, the DEI office has sponsored talks by the following speakers:
The DEI office has hosted numerous Zoom conversations with various constituent groups during the summer and fall, including:
- Listening sessions for alums-of-color
- Allyship sessions for white alums
- Parent-of-color calls
The School encouraged and supported students and faculty to attend virtual conferences this year:
We have refocused our dorm programming to place more emphasis on DEI matters and to make increased use of experienced facilitators to help our students develop their equity literacy competencies.
The Program Committee of the Thacher Board of Trustees created its own DEI development and growth plan and is working with Dr. Derrick Gay, who is helping them develop their DEI framework and practices and supporting them in their critical role as stewards of the School.
2. Hire additional BIPOC faculty and increase their representation in leadership roles at Thacher.
By adopting new approaches to recruiting exceptional, diverse talent, Thacher is making progress toward the goal of an administration, faculty, and staff that reflect the diversity of our students.
- We have partnered with Strategenius and its founder, Orpheus Crutchfield, to collaborate in auditing all aspects of recruitment, hiring, support, and retention, with a focus on BIPOC candidates.
- In the past two years, 50 percent of our full-time faculty hires (5 out of 10) have been people of color and/or LGBTQ+.
- Strategenius is leading Thacher’s national search for the next director of student life (dean of students).
- Faculty professional development work has focused on reorienting our culture by engaging our anti-racist/anti-oppression work through a lens of cultural humility to better foster empathy and connections across difference.
3. Hire a therapist of color who specializes in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Thacher has increased the breadth and the depth of the counselors we make available to students. Their backgrounds and areas of specialization now better reflect the diversity of our community.
- In continuous support of our students and their well-being, we offer online counseling at no cost, both remotely and on campus.
- These resources have also been made available to our faculty.
- One of our counselors, in collaboration with Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, is providing a weekly girls-of-color support group.
4. Create a multicultural resource center on campus.
Beginning in 2021, Equity Meets Design will engage students and adults together in a design thinking process to envision new avenues for multicultural student support through the creation of a physical space and by building other community resources.
- One outcome of that design process will be the creation of a multicultural resource center in the Hills Building.
- We have strengthened support for and expanded the number of affinity and ally groups (see the list on the right of the page).
- We have set aside time in our weekly schedule for affinity groups to meet.
- We are working within our faculty and staff, parent, and alumni bodies to develop affinity spaces that support our DEI efforts and the Thacher community as a whole.
- We have expanded our Spanish language translation and communication services for families.
5. Engage an external DEI consultant to provide a full audit of our institutional policies and practices, as well as conduct a complete inventory of our curriculum.
The School has partnered with Equity Meets Design to ensure that our policies, practices, courses, and co-curricular programming are equitable, inclusive, and reflect the diversity of the lived experience of our student body. The goal is to intentionally and actively identify and uproot biases and oppose racism and other forms of oppression.
- Equity Meets Design is working with the NAIS Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey in addition to other assessment tools to guide our curriculum redesign process.
- Many faculty members focused their curricular efforts over the summer on expanding and deepening the DEI commitments and content of their courses.
6. Assemble a DEI Task Force to guide our ongoing work and to hold the School accountable.
The charge of this team is still being developed, but membership will consist of representatives of all School constituencies who will work in close partnership with Equity Meets Design to incorporate findings from the AIM survey in developing the School’s long-term DEI strategy. Further updates will be provided in the spring.
7. Never stop doing the work.
We recognize that the work of manifesting our values throughout School life is constant and continual work; the administration, board, faculty, and staff are committed to this perpetual project.