New Projects Advance DEI Efforts at Westminster College

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. — A new campus Cultural Center and teaching fellows project align with a commitment by Westminster College to build a more culturally and racially diverse community.

The projects are included in $1 million in investments approved and funded by the college’s board of trustees earlier this month, according to a press release. The efforts support the college’s Student Engagement and Support in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Action Plan.

The Cultural Center, located in the former campus gift shop on the main level of McKelvey Campus Center, will offer programming, study and lounge space intended to provide a safe and collaborative space. It will house the office for the college’s assistant director for diversity and inclusion.

“The investment in creating of a Cultural Center is a significant step forward in becoming increasingly deliberate about centering and affirming minoritized identities,” said Candace Okello, associate dean of student affairs. “Current and prospective students, families and employees will see that Westminster is becoming an inclusive excellence institution–one that is consistently reflective about the impact and effectiveness of their policies and practices, and how campus community members are experiencing its culture.”

Westminster expects the center to be completed in time for the fall semester.

The teaching fellows project seeks to attract post-doctoral educators from diverse backgrounds to bring underrepresented perspectives and experiences to Westminster’s academic programs.

“Underrepresentation among college faculty members has a number of disadvantages, namely that students and curricula do not benefit from the experiences that minoritized individuals would bring to teaching and scholarship,” said Jamie McMinn, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college.

Fellows will be expected to contribute to Westminster’s First-Year Program and therefore will join in an important part of students’ earliest academic experiences, as well as be mentored by the college’s faculty. Fellows are expected to be in place for the 2023-24 academic year.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.