Lesley University Diversity Council

Lesley University Diversity Council (LUDC) is the longest-standing University initiative around diversity and inclusion.   

At the heart of the council's mission is a commitment to social justice for all. To this end, our members are dedicated to honoring and understanding difference in all dimensions. We believe in leveraging these differences by addressing constructs of power and privilege, which often result in oppression, marginalization, and discrimination. Our work focuses on the retention of students, faculty, and staff which supports and encourages the creation of a diverse community. Diversity Council members work to inspire and maintain a university environment that embodies the positive attributes of a civil and just society. 

Over time, the mission has evolved as student activism on campuses nationwide has demanded a comprehensive and critical examination of power, privilege, and oppression.  

This all-volunteer organization has a modest budget funded by the President to co-sponsor events, and meets annually with the President and Chief Diversity Officer to discuss accomplishments for the year at the annual retreat in May. We use a shared leadership model, with Chair and Vice Chair positions rotating each year between faculty and staff.  

Three Pillars of the Council

Community Think Tank

Think tank sessions occur during monthly Diversity Council meetings. This is a space for Lesley community members to problem solve, coordinate, and collaborate on any issues and initiatives that have arisen on campus.  

For example, if a group is planning an event and would like feedback from the rest of the community on their ideas, the Think Tank is a great place for that conversation. In addition, if an individual or group has noticed a problem or concern related to diversity and equity on campus, the Think Tank is a place to discuss causes and brainstorm possible approaches.  

We prioritize having a tangible outcome and suggestions, not just conversation. We work together to create ground rules that ensure safety for all involved. Our hope is that we can create a consulting, resource-sharing, and problem-solving space for all Lesley community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.). We invite you to contact the Diversity Council (diversitycouncil@lesley.edu if you would like to contribute an idea to the Think Tank time of our monthly meeting. Please also help us to make students aware of this resource.  

Teaching, Learning, and Development

Our work in this pillar is collaborative with other offices who provide diversity and equity trainings for students and staff. Examples include LU101 and the First-Year Experience, the Diversity Practitioner Program, and meeting the training needs of transfer and adult learners, graduate students, and staff.  

While we support the annual Cultural Literacy Curriculum Institute, our focus is not on faculty development, as other offices are committed to that role.  

Programming and Sponsorship

The Diversity Council plans and hosts one major diversity-related event per semester. Otherwise, our mission is focused on collaboration and sponsorship. We are available to provide funding, guidance, and support for any other group hosting an event on campus. We work to streamline the sponsorship process and coordinate events calendars with the University at large.   

Key Initiatives 

Monthly Meetings

Diversity Council 2018-19 Meetings: 

Second Thursdays, STEBS 302, 11:00 am-12:30 pm 

FALL              SPRING 

Sept. 13           Feb. 14 

Oct. 11            Mar. 14 

Nov. 8             Apr. 11 

Dec.13             May 9 Annual Retreat  

 

Diversity Practitioners Program 

The Diversity Practitioner Program is a group of volunteer faculty and staff who work to engage community members in diversity based developmental activities (i.e. trainings, workshops and diversity action planning) in a manner designed to increase the level of self-awareness of individuals and their ability to engage within and across difference. 

The purpose of the program is to provide a developmental experience for students and staff that will allow for awareness building, identity development, intercultural skill development.  

Ways to get involved 

Steering Committee Membership 

  • Meg Burns, Chair 
  • Maritsa Barros, Vice Chair and Think Tank Chair 
  • Farrah Bruny Brown, Events and Communication Co-Chair 
  • Jennifer Castro, Events and Communication Co-Chair 
  • Deb Spragg, Teaching, Learning and Development Chair