MAY REFLECTIONS FROM THE INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT FOR EQUITY AND INCLUSION
I cannot believe the academic year is ending. We are officially in May! This year has flown by. Before I provide an update, I want to highlight our college’s second Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium.
Thank you again to those who took the time to participate in this signature event.
We had 230 attendees, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni come together around our theme of “We are Better Together,” featuring Mary David, our keynote speaker. Ms. David spoke on “Reshaping Perception: How Expanding Our Vision Expands Our Potential.” Following the keynote, we transitioned into two rounds of educational sessions.
During our tasty lunch three members of our community were recognized for their work and commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by receiving the 2023 Equity and Inclusion Leadership and Service Award. In addition to the beautiful plaques they were awarded $500. It was such a pleasure honoring Justin Fleming, Senior Associate Dean of Students, Maggie Broner, Professor of Spanish and Co-Director for the Center for Innovation in Liberal Arts; and student Aidan Lloyd ’24 for his work with the Oles Against Inequality (OAI) Barbershop).
We transitioned into another set of educational sessions, had space for the community to mix and mingle and then closed the day with roundtables and professional development sessions. I would like to thank so many of you for making this event happen, including Marketing and Communications, Events Team, Symposium Planning Committee, members of the Council for Equity and Inclusion, our presenters, Bon Appetit for preparing a delicious spread, Equity and Inclusion student workers, President Anderson for his leadership, and Marina Edlund for all of her support!
Thank you for supporting the efforts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on the Hill!
I wish each of you a wonderful month of May as you finish classes and wrap up the academic year.
Finish Strong and remember We are Better Together.
Dr. Reginald Miles
Highlights for the Month of May
Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May 2 – Hmong Story Cloth Workshop
May 5- Cinco de Mayo
May 14- Mother’s Day
May 29- Memorial Day
Meet Members of Our Community:
Name: Roy Cady-Kimble
Position: Assistant Dean of Admissions
From: Casper, Wyoming
Education: B.A. Political Science, Carleton College
M.A. Higher and Postsecondary Education, Columbia University
- When did you start your St. Olaf journey?
- Why did you want to work at St. Olaf College?
Leaving Northfield after undergrad to study in the biggest city in the country, I left behind many of the benefits that I had come to enjoy about a global community in a small town. While I had access to so much in New York, I found that organic connections, human kindness and engagement across differences actually became harder, not easier. I had taken for granted the fact that in Northfield, at both Carleton and St. Olaf, there are many fewer professional silos preventing staff, faculty and students from engaging in work together–the good work and the hard work. Additionally, I was coming off of three years working in crisis management in Residence Life at Columbia University. Talk about stress! I have all the respect in the world for the people who do that work, but I knew that I wanted to come back to Minnesota and that I wanted to work in an area of higher ed that captured the excitement and potential of the college experience. The fact that the position I found was in Northfield is a stellar bonus, and I have loved coming to the Hill every day since.
- What do you enjoy most about working in the office of admissions?
I love the team that works in the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid, first and foremost. The beauty of the work is that it is so connected to education policy, trends in college-going behaviors, and connections to schools across the country and the world. There is never a dull day in our office, and we are constantly discussing ways to better serve students, communicate the value of a St. Olaf education, and learn what is important to the Class of 2027, 2028, etc… Everyone in the office is dedicated to this work, and the curiosity and determination that they display continuously inspires me.
- What is your definition of an inclusive community?
To me, inclusion is the part of DEI where the real benefits begin for the whole community. It is one thing to serve a diverse student body at St. Olaf, and it is quite another to create inclusive offices, processes, and communities on the Hill. An inclusive community celebrates and serves students the way that they wish to be served based on the rich identities and experiences they hold. This community must also question things that have historically “worked,” but perhaps didn’t take into account the fact that postsecondary education in America has served the “privileged few” of society for the majority of its history. I also believe that the concept of “belonging” is an aspiration we should all be striving toward. Are we serving everyone inclusively, or are we going the extra mile to create a sense of community and wellbeing that can allow all students to not only survive, but thrive?
- From the hundreds of applications you read this season can you briefly share one that stood out to you?
My favorite essay this year came from a student who commented at length on the plight of the humble cicada. Throughout a page and a half this student used the cicada, a hibernating insect, as a microcosm to reflect on morality, strength of will, curiosity, and a myriad of other big ideas. I always love when an essay uses a “microcosm,” or a small piece of the student’s experience, and blows it up to encompass and describe the massive questions and reflections that come up in the first 18 years of life. To see deep engagement on the scale as small as a single bug is a great indication to me that this student would thrive when considering even bigger possibilities (no shade to the entomologists in the community!)
- No one knows that I…
Play Dungeons and Dragons with a large contingent of the Admissions staff! I always get excited when a student brings up tabletop RPGs, and I think that they are an underrated avenue for community, problem-solving skills and simply getting out of your comfort zone. For those who are interested, I play a hobbit-like rogue named Beanard!
President’s Leadership Team (PLT) Spotlight
Name: Enoch Blazis
Position: Vice President for Advancement
Areas Responsible for: Fundraising, alumni and parent engagement, career counseling (The Piper Center for Vocation and Career), and the supporting operations of these areas. Advancement has 49 staff members in seven offices/departments.
From: Springfield, IL…The Land of Lincoln
Education: B.S. Mathematics, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
1. When did you start your St. Olaf journey ?
March of 2009
2. Why did you want to work at St. Olaf College?
Along with the many appealing things about this place- a storied institution with a beautiful campus supported by a great community, the main reason I wanted to work at St Olaf is because I thought I could make an impact. Fourteen years later, I believe the same to be true or I wouldn’t be here.
3. What do you enjoy most serving as Vice President for Advancement?
Working with the team that I have and producing results that help drive the College forward.
4. What is your definition of an inclusive community?
An inclusive community is one in which people are accepted for who they are and respect others for who they are. I also believe part of this is that you have to take responsibility for being a productive member of the community who contributes to it in a positive way and upholds the values of the community.
5. Define your leadership style.
My leadership style has been developed from my experiences in athletics, in the military serving as a Marine Officer, in the private sector as a consultant and entrepreneur, and in Higher-Ed doing advancement work. Based on these experiences, I know that people are central to an enterprise and how well they work together is absolutely critical to its success. As a leader, you have to respect your people, support them, set expectations and have accountability. And by doing this yourself, set the example for them.
6. What is your recommendation for aspiring leaders?
Communicate what needs to be done and why and engage your team in coming up with solutions to problems and developing the plan of action. Then, look to your team members to play their roles in getting things done. I would also recommend striving to lead by example. In order to do this, develop a good sense of self-awareness and be open to hearing feedback about yourself. Your actions as a leader– no matter what level– has ripple effects so you want to put forward your best authentic self.
7. No one knows that I…
I hold no secrets. That said, I enjoy fly fishing, the visual arts and just being outside when I have the chance.
Enhanced Recruitment of Tenure Track Faculty of Color:
It has been such a wonderful experience working across the college with a variety of departments in meeting with each tenure track candidate. During 2021-2022, we had four tenure track appointments of faculty with diverse backgrounds. This year (2022-2023), we made 15 tenure track appointments and eight represent domestic racial diversity and international scholars.
Congratulations to all search committees for increasing our racial diversity.
BIPOC Alumni from the 90s and others returned to campus in late April:
BIPOC Alumni from the 90s and others returned to campus to hear updates on diversity, equity, and inclusion, learn about new changes at the college, and engage with current students during this two-day event. Big thanks to Regent Sean Burress, Dr. Lolita King, Bryan Bass, and the Alumni and Parent Relations Team for hosting.
Bias Response Team- Seeking Two Faculty Representatives
The Bias Response Team is responsible for the initial evaluation of all reports of Prohibited Conduct the College receives. During this initial evaluation, the Bias Response Team will determine if the College should proceed with disciplinary procedures or in a case where there is no policy violation, discuss other relevant procedures.
We are seeking faculty representatives to serve as part of the advisory group which meets once a month to discuss our bias incident reports (August-May). If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague, please email Marina Edlund at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 19.
Co-Creating an Inclusive Community Initiative
On April 17 and 18, our initiative was concluded, with two divisions (Student Life and Advancement) and one academic department (Education) sharing actions within their units prompted by the initiative and participants invited to make recommendations on the DEI priorities the college should pursue next. A big thanks to Student Life, Advancement, Education and for those who participated in these sessions. Explore what your colleagues have done across campus. More to come in Fall 2023.
Lavender Senior Celebration
May 10, Private Event
The Lavender Senior Celebration is a private cultural celebration that recognizes LGBTQIA+ students of all races and ethnicities and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the College.
Contact Damian Waite with any questions or to RSVP
Multicultural Senior Celebration
May 11, 4:30 p.m., The Pause Mane Stage
Contact Norma Charlton with any questions
International Senior Celebration
May 12, 4 p.m., The Ballrooms
Contact Brisa Zubia with any questions
First Generation Senior Celebration
May 15, 4 p.m., Thorson Lawn
Contact Damian Waite with any questions
Posse Scholars Senior Celebration
May 27, 12 p.m., Art Barn