The 2019-2020 work for the 50 in 5 Initiative has built strong foundations for the next four years of effort.
Our vision is to have a healthy community that recruits, enrolls, and retains a student body that is fifty percent Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) by the fall of 2024. We recognize that this requires the transformation of our historically White institution into one that fully serves constituencies from numerous diversities. Our vision for 50 in 5 also includes developing a new ethos in which justice and equity become the normative cultural perspective for the whole. This new ethos will create an environment within which persons can create ways of leading and being in community with integrity for all.
This first year of 50 in 5 has had multiple areas of focus, two of which are important to mention. First, helping all Iliff staff, faculty and trustees learn concepts and behaviors that fully support BIPOC students, employees, and community members. This has been an “all in” commitment. Staff did six full days of training prior to COVID-19. Faculty did five half day sessions. Trustees committed themselves to training that began in January 2020 and continued through the summer. We continue to grow in our ability to work together and serve our students in a just and equitable fashion.
Second, relational support for current BIPOC students has become more regular and intentional. Faculty of Color meet quarterly with BIPOC students to socialize, network, and get a clearer picture of current student experiences. The Dean’s Team has been doing extraordinary outreach with students under the combined stresses of COVID-19 and public protests of ongoing policing practices that target people of color and the rhetorics of white supremacy that have become common in public space. We continue to explore ways to support the success of BIPOC students as conditions change.
The leadership team for the 50 in 5 Initiative has been enlarged by the addition of Dr. Stephanie Krusemark as Vice President of Enrollment Management, and the initiative continues to expand into all aspects of the school.