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The Sustainable Inclusive Excellence Action Plan is WPI’s strategic approach to actualizing a culture of inclusion and belonging, rooted in a strategic framework. This initiative spans three phases designed to engage the community in WPI’s mission and values, center the voices and lived experiences of marginalized and underrepresented communities, and collaborate in the development of action plans to blend diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the full fabric of the institution.
Holding Listening Sessions
Twelve listening sessions held in September and October and an online survey were aimed at strategically centering the voices of marginalized and underrepresented WPI community members. “To lay the foundation for meaningful institutional change, it was critical that we started by actively listening to the authentic stories and lived experiences of our community, especially those who are marginalized and underserved,” says Rame Hanna, director of diversity and inclusive excellence. “Building on this foundation we can then move to action to address systemic and structural oppression at WPI and within the greater STEM community.”
To lay the foundation for meaningful institutional change, it was critical that we started by actively listening to the authentic stories and lived experiences of our community, especially those who are marginalized and underserved.Rame Hanna, Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence
Developing Division and School Implementation Plan Goals
As a means of actualizing the goals laid out in WPI’s DEI Strategic Plan and Framework, each university division and school will develop a series of measurable implementation plan goals that will guide their areas of DEI strategy to foster a greater climate of inclusion and belonging at WPI. Hanna notes that through these implementation plan goals, the university will develop a unified effort and shared responsibility toward actualizing the DEI Strategic Plan and Framework, in addition to promoting greater accountability and community agency in this critical transformation.
Launching the Bias Response Program
WPI also developed the Bias Response Program (“Making WPI a Place Where All Are Valued,” Spring 2021). Its primary function is to foster an inclusive campus culture at WPI by addressing individual and community-wide incidents of bias.
Organizing Opportunities to Talk and Listen
The DEI team launched a number of Critical Community Dialogues, including hosting a number of campus-wide conversations and events focused on anti-racism education.
Some of those events:
- Dialogue on Race with Rame Hanna
- In It for the Long Haul: Overcoming Burnout and Passion Fatigue as Social Justice Change Agents
- Community Reading and Dialogue on Race and Racism
- Community-wide anti-racism resources in partnership with the Gordon Library
University Community Actions
- Launched an Alumni of Color Chapter
- Launched the Inclusive Community (Student) Council within the Office of Multicultural Affairs
- Created learning and development with senior leadership on racism, power, and privilege
- Created a Board Task Force on Racial Equity and Justice