Co-Creating an Inclusive Community

“Look closely at the present you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming.”

                                                     –Alice Walker

St. Olaf is launching the next phase of our collective work to be a place where everyone belongs and everyone thrives. In Co-Creating an Inclusive Community, students, faculty, staff, and leadership will work together to envision and create a more inclusive St. Olaf, one in which people of all identities experience connection, belonging, and agency.

PURPOSE

The core of this eighteen-month project is an iterative series of “co-creating cycles” of work that will enable the St. Olaf community to:

  • Articulate a vision of what a more inclusive St. Olaf would look like;
  • Act to bring the campus closer to that vision;
  • Assess the impact of the actions; and
  • Advance by choosing what we need to work on next.

The Co-Creating an Inclusive Community initiative is co-led by the Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, María Pabón Gautier, and the Vice President for Mission, Jo Beld. Oversight and project support is provided by the Council for Equity and Inclusion, chaired by María, the accreditation-related Quality Initiative Design Team, chaired by Jo, and consultants Susan Nowlin and Kumea Shorter-Gooden.

LEADERSHIP AND OVERSIGHT

The Co-Creating an Inclusive Community initiative is co-led by the Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, María Pabón Gautier, and the Vice President for Mission, Jo Beld. Oversight and project support is provided by the Council for Equity and Inclusion, chaired by María, the accreditation-related Quality Initiative Design Team, chaired by Jo, and consultants Susan Nowlin and Kumea Shorter-Gooden.

PROJECT DESIGN: THE COCREATING CYCLE

  • Campus-wide “co-creating groups” – Faculty, staff, students, and academic and administrative leaders work with peers in 90-minute working sessions to articulate their vision for “inclusive community” at St. Olaf, and identify actions at every level of the college to help realize it.
  • Synthesis and sharing out – Faculty-supervised student analysts will synthesize the written reports from the co-creating groups and share the results with the campus community on the Co-Creating an Inclusive Community website. 
  • Responsive action – The leaders of the Co-Creating initiative will work with appropriate individuals, offices, departments, and student groups to respond to the collective vision and action recommendations of the co-creating groups.  Some recommendations will prompt short-term changes that individuals and groups can readily adopt, while others will prompt longer-term initiatives requiring leadership, support, and coordinated implementation for systemic change.  
  • Impact reporting – With the assistance of the faculty-supervised student analysts, information about the impact of the Responsive Action phase will be gathered and reported back to the campus community, and the results will be used to determine the focus of the next co-creating cycle.

TIMELINE

There are four phases that our community will be working through; Building, Vision, Action, and Transformation. Each of these phases will go through the five steps of the ‘Co-Creating Cycle’ before we are able to move onto the next phase.