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Out of the Margins

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Education
Location
United States
Cycle Year
2016
Reed College
http://www.reed.edu
Diane B. Gumz
503-777-7560
dgumz@reed.edu
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland
OR
97202-8199
Used for
We will use this grant to support additional Peer Mentor Program resources focused on the needs of entering students from underrepresented backgrounds; paid civic engagement and social justice research through education internships in collaboration with college offices; paid internships and career development opportunities for Reed students who identify as Black/African American and low socioeconomic status, with a focus on students who also identify as women, transgender, or gender nonconforming; and paid summer research projects with professors on topics related to power and privilege, equity, critical race theory, and social justice.
Benefits
This grant will help Reed create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students from historically marginalized groups, especially transgender and gender nonconforming students and students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. We seek not only to have these students well supported as they navigate our current academic and social spaces, but also to give them opportunities to develop the skills to transform Reed and other institutions through research, education, and civic engagement. Our ultimate goal is to provide transformational opportunities for students to help them become productive, effective agents of change and help Reed become an institution that consistently meets the needs of its increasingly diverse student body.
Proposal Description
Out of the Margins: A Plan to Better Serve Students from Historically Marginalized Groups A new student activist group at Reed, Reedies Against Racism, has highlighted the need to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students from historically marginalized groups, especially students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and transgender and gender nonconforming students. A new grant from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation will be used to strengthen and enhance the Peer Mentor Program in which entering students from historically marginalized groups are matched with returning students who share some of their life experiences. The fund will also support paid social justice research, education, and civic engagement internships with college officials as well as summer research projects with professors on topics related to power, privilege, equity, critical race theory, and social justice. In addition, the fund will support paid external internships for students who identify as Black/African American and low socioeconomic status, with a focus on students who also identify as women, transgender, or gender nonconforming. Trustee Petra Wijngaard expressed interest in funding another need identified by Reedies Against Racism: a new paid staff position that will support the organization and maintenance of the Black Student Union and other affinity groups connected to the Multicultural Resource Center. With this and any new staff position, the college wants to be able to make a long-term commitment of operating support in order to sustain the position, and believes this to be a more viable approach than funding a position through a one-year grant from the Dougherty Foundation. We are in the process of identifying those funds. The Dougherty Foundation’s grant of $40,000 will enable us to offer significant new resources in four areas that will reinforce the work being done by current staff in the Office for Inclusive Community, Office for Institutional Diversity, and Center for Life Beyond Reed. First, we will strengthen the Peer Mentor Program (PMP) to address anticipated increases in the racial and ethnic diversity of Reed’s entering classes in the coming years. PMP actively recruits participants from historically marginalized groups including first-generation college students, students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, students from low-income households, and LGBTQ students. Entering students from these groups are matched with returning students who share some of their life experiences. In quantitative and qualitative assessments, current program participants and alumni consistently point to their participation in PMP as key to their engagement and success at Reed. Strengthening the infrastructure of the PMP will directly contribute to college priorities for student success and promoting an environment in which students from different backgrounds feel that they are supported. We will use this grant to increase the number of mentors and mentees in the program, and also to restructure mentor responsibilities and pay. These changes will create opportunities for more students to participate as mentors in the program, develop valuable leadership skills, network with alumni from the program, and contribute positively to the Reed community. In addition to the increase in student participants, we will create a PMP alumni advisory board. Our students have expressed interest in having alumni, especially those from historically underrepresented groups, as mentors to give them access to broader experiences and wisdom about life after Reed. Alumni have indicated their strong interest in supporting students in this way. An advisory board of six alumni would serve multiple purposes. It would provide a meaningful opportunity for these alumni to engage with the college and remain connected to the program. These alumni also would be available to current students for networking and mentorship. This grant will support alumni’s costs to travel to Reed for an annual on-campus workshop, during which they will meet with their mentees and participate in career development panels and networking activities with current students. Finally, we will offer opportunities for faculty, staff, and local alumni to get to know PMP participants better through semi-annual dinners. All of these enhancements to PMP will be coordinated by Dayspring Mattole, Assistant Dean for Inclusive Community, who currently manages the program. Second, we will create paid internships in various college offices to enable students who are involved in social justice research, education, and civic engagement to meet their academic obligations while supporting themselves through paid work. For example, the Office of Institutional Diversity could hire a student intern to conduct research on curricular offerings that further our goals for diversity and inclusion. Students would help shape our efforts to learn about and benefit from best practices elsewhere. Projects could include conducting research on inclusive freshman foundation courses, furthering the college’s partnership with local organizations such as SEI (Self Enhancement, Inc.), or coordinating gatherings for smaller communities from marginalized groups at Reed. Students could also help plan and organize diversity and inclusion best practices workshops for students, faculty, and staff. Staff and students may suggest internship ideas, and develop them collaboratively. Students who wish to obtain an internship will contact the Office for Institutional Diversity. Third, we will offer paid internships and career development activities for students who identify as Black/African American and low socioeconomic status, with a focus on students who also identify as women, transgender, or gender nonconforming. For example, the Center for Life Beyond Reed currently provides mini-grants to support students pursuing unpaid internships, completing pre-professional or graduate school exams and preparation courses, or purchasing professional clothing for a job interview. We recognize that due to limited resources, we are not meeting all of this need and must decline a number of requests for funding. This grant will enable college offices to meet more of these important needs, particularly for students from marginalized groups. Students who are interested in obtaining funding for an internship or other career development activity will contact Alice Harra, Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed. Fourth, we will offer paid summer research internships with faculty on topics related to power and privilege, equity, critical race theory, and social justice. We currently have very limited resources for research projects focused on these topics. This will provide students with the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and become familiar with the process of doing research while learning about topics that may not be covered by Reed’s course curriculum. The cost for the proposed changes to the PMP total $10,800. For the civic engagement internships and summer research internships with faculty offered by the Office for Institutional Diversity, and the internships and career development activities organized by the Center for Life Beyond Reed, spending will depend on the number of applications and amount of money requested. We anticipate that we will be able to fully spend the $40,000 grant between January 1 and December 31, 2017. The Office for Institutional Diversity will administer this grant. We will create a new fund for these activities: the Social Justice Research and Education Fund. The Office for Institutional Diversity will distribute funds to the Office for Inclusive Community for the Peer Mentor Program, and money to the Center for Life Beyond Reed so that it can offer internships and career development activities for students who identify as Black/African American and low socioeconomic status, with a focus on students who also identify as women, transgender, or gender nonconforming. The Office for Institutional Diversity will manage the civic engagement internships and the summer research internships on social justice. The Office for Institutional Diversity will issue calls for proposals for internships from college offices for spring and fall projects, and to the faculty in the spring for summer research internships on social justice. The Office for Institutional Diversity has experience administering similar diversity-focused funds and the staffing necessary to do this work. The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation’s past grants have helped us respond to heightened student demand for research opportunities with faculty members. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you to address a new pressing challenge: the need to better support to students from historically marginalized groups. Thank you for your consideration.