Social Justice at Bentley
At Bentley our vision is to achieve inclusive excellence by creating a diverse and equitable community that allows everyone, irrespective of their identity, to thrive in their learning and development. To achieve this vision we are taking intentional actions that will lead to systemic changes designed to drive our progress in fostering an equitable and just community. We have chosen the Inclusive Excellence framework to ground our efforts and we are working across the institution to name plans to impact the four main areas of the framework – Access & Success, Education & Scholarship, and Climate & Intergroup Relations. The fourth area of the framework, Institutional Commitment & Capacity, is the foundation of our efforts. We recognize that for systemic change to occur we must act in ways that reinforce our values and make investments in our collective capacity to do the work necessary to achieve success.
Institutional Commitment and Capacity
We recognize that it takes consistent and sustained action to move from simply espousing our values to enacting our values. To move from aspiration to action we have committed to investing in the following areas.
We are committed to building institutional capacity for social justice and inclusive excellence by providing opportunities for community members to develop awareness, competency, and skills that foster an inclusive community.
We are committed to holding the university responsible for strengthening our policies, practices and procedures to enhance accountability and amplify transparency about the equity and justice challenges we face and our progress towards addressing them.
We are committed to actively monitoring our demographic and outcome data to identify gaps and develop and augment targeted interventions to ensure equitable access and success.
We are committed to providing the structural and personnel resources necessary to move equity forward and incentivize individuals to commit to growing equity in their individual areas and departments.
How We Will Build Capacity
Provide new and enhanced opportunities for students to engage in learning opportunities focused on DE&I.
The Office of the Provost, through the Bentley Learning and Teaching Council and the Badavas Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, is partnering with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to launch a 2-year initiative, the Racial Equity Course Development Grants. These grants will provide summer stipends for faculty to develop new undergraduate and graduate courses at Bentley that explore issues of race in the United States. Two grants were awarded for summer 2021 to faculty in English & Media Studies and Economics.
Provide opportunities for staff and faculty to develop skills that allow them to be more effective.
Responding to Disclosures Training
In an effort to better prepare faculty and staff to respond to disclosures of sexual harassment or assault, Bentley is partnering with REACH Beyond Domestic Violence to deliver a two-hour session titled We All Have A Role To Play: Trauma-Informed Approaches to Disclosures of Sexual Violence. After this workshop, participants will have a greater understanding of trauma, its impacts, and expressions and through presentation and discussion, an increased competence and confidence to respond with care. The session is being offered one a month throughout the summer and fall and all employees are being strongly encouraged to attend. More than 100 employees have already completed the training.
It’s Time For Change: Racial Justice at Bentley
It's Time for Change: Racial Justice at Bentley, is a five month, action-oriented campaign launched by the Division of Student Affairs and available to all members of the community. Each month focuses on a different theme and community members who take the pledge will receive weekly activities and resources to better equip them with the knowledge and skillsets to advocate for anti-racism. Over 250 students, faculty, and staff have signed the pledge and receive weekly resources related to Reflection, Learning, Action, Community, and Vigilance. You can view the pledge and see who is participating in our community on our website
Whiteness Accountability Group (WAG)
Designed for faculty and staff this group brings together participants and facilitators, who identify as white, to engage in a process of divesting from actions that perpetuate a white dominant culture. Designed for individuals who have done previous work and reflection about their racial identity, WAG creates a space to discuss experiences as racialized individuals openly and bravely; grapple with the multiple ways whiteness, white supremacy, and racism show up in our lives and actions; and prepare individuals to better interrupt racism in the moment. Focused on accountability, this group will push participants past overwhelming feelings of fear and apathy towards intentional action. Participants navigate as a group through the necessary but uncomfortable work of engaging with the difficult and ugly realities of racism as they work towards meaningful action.
Inclusive Pedagogy Resources & Workshops
The Office of the Provost will continue to provide ongoing training and development opportunities focused on inclusive pedagogy and cultivating equitable environments. This past year, Bentley hosted sessions led by Dr. Oscar Holmes IV, Associate Dean of the Rutgers Schools of Business, and Dr. Tiffany Galvin Green, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at John Carroll University. Dr. Holmes shared DE&I strategies and frameworks that faculty can use in the classroom, and Dr. Galvin Green spoke to intersectionality and power dynamics in academia.
Integrated Racial Justice Training for Staff
The Student Affairs Division has included a racial justice-focused educational session at every biweekly divisional meeting since June 2020. Each meeting has an average of 85 staff members in attendance, and the sessions are recorded and posted on the divisional Teams site as a resource. Topics have included: history of voter suppression, intersectionality, a trauma-based approach to racial inequity, colorism, microaggressions and implicit bias, racism in education, the history of policing in America, mass incarceration and the war on drugs, multiracial identity development, and respecting and acknowledging the land taken from Indigenous people.
How We Will Enhance Accountability and Transparency
Enhance the clarity, accessibility and responsiveness of systems for reporting experiences of discrimination, harassment, and bias.
Conduct a Review of the Campus-Wide Reporting Structures
Bentley is contracting with an external consultant to conduct a review of the systems and structures Bentley currently employs to prevent and respond to incidents of bias, discrimination, and harassment. The review will result in recommendations for structural changes to improve the clarity and transparency of the system and enhance the accountability to members of the community.
Provide more frequent updates about our progress on social justice issues.
Launch a Social Justice Web Page
This page provides frequent updates on progress and contains a form for community members to provide feedback that is sent directly to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
Division of Student Affairs Racial Justice Action Plans and Dashboard
Every department in the division created a racial justice action plan to outline how it plans on rebuilding systems to better promote racial equity in specific and measurable ways. The Division of Student Affairs outlined 214 total racial justice actions to work towards completing during the 2020-21 academic year.
- 59% of the actions were fully completed.
- 27% of the actions have been started but not fully complete.
- 14% of the actions were not completed.
You can view more detailed information on the departmental racial justice action plans and their progress on our website.
How We Will Ensure Equity
Allow more access to data to encourage equitable decision making
Launch Campus-wide Climate Study
The newly formed Inclusive Excellence Council will work to identify and launch a climate assessment during the 2021-22 academic year and publish all results.
Increase the demographic diversity within our community
Admissions New Partnership
Bentley University has entered into a partnership with New Heights Charter School of Brockton (NHCSB) in support of the Massachusetts Early College Initiative, a program that works to foster equitable access to college. Students graduating from NHCSB with specific academic achievement and who successfully complete course work at a local community college will be guaranteed admissions to Bentley.
Unconscious Bias Workshop
All faculty involved in an external hiring process are required to participate in a two-hour session to learn about the impact of cognitive bias in decision-making and to explore ways to reduce structural bias in the search process. This session is also mandatory for any staff searches where the position has managerial oversight of staff and/or programmatic areas. More than three hundred employees completed the training during the 2020-21 academic year.
How We Will Enable Investment
Create new and empower existing structures to implement initiatives and monitor progress.
Inclusive Excellence Council
The Council is charged with the implementation of strategic campus-wide initiatives that operationalize the University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. Using the Inclusive Excellence framework as a guide the Council will work to provide guidance and support to encourage the creation of a more actively inclusive campus.
Associate Dean Position
Marcus Stewart, Associate Professor of Management, has been appointed as Bentley’s first Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Among his priorities in this new role, Marcus will coordinate our cluster hiring initiative, assist with implicit bias training for faculty hiring committees, and further Bentley’s relationship with the PhD Project.
Equity and Inclusion Student Consultants
The Equity and Inclusion Student Consultant Group works with departments, committees, and staff within the Division of Student Affairs to provide insight, feedback, and recommendations on efforts working toward equity and justice. The group is composed of 10 students who have a desire to help Bentley become a more equitable and just community by providing input and perspective toward changes that will directly impact the student experience. Student consultants apply for this paid position and are selected by the Student Government Association.
Relevant News Stories
Bentley responds to growing importance of DEI in the workplace
Bentley University has received national recognition for its commitment to the success of first-generation students.
The Inclusive Excellence Framework drives our mission to create a more just, inclusive and equitable campus.
Share your Thoughts
We welcome your thoughts, comments and questions.
These updates are current as of May 2021. Check back often for updates.