The Diversity Council and its Mission
Presbyterian College’s Diversity Council is a group of faculty, students, and staff that, in keeping with the College’s Mission Statement and its Diversity Aspiration Statement, is committed to supporting a College culture that:
- promotes the presence and voice of individuals from diverse backgrounds;
- respects and includes all constituents of this College;
- promotes understanding of and respect for human diversity throughout our society.
The Council’s main functions are:
- to gather information on existing diversity-related conditions;
- to identify and develop objectives that build on current and new efforts to nurture a well-diversified College community;
- to recommend those objectives to the appropriate governance structures for further discussion, amendment, and approval;
- to monitor, assess, and report on attainment of those approved objectives.
This process is best understood as continuous, recursive, and oriented toward the realization of the Diversity Aspiration Statement.
The Council serves in an advisory capacity to the College administration and faculty governance structures. Approved recommendations will be executed by the appropriate body within the College’s organizational structure (e.g., Academic Affairs, Student Life, Athletics, Finance and Administration, External Relations, Student Government Association, etc.).
Regular reports on the Council’s accomplishments related to stated objectives, as informed by institutional policy, will be made to the President of the College and College’s Board of Trustees.
The work of the Diversity Council will not include addresses, or in any way managing, claims regarding discrimination, or any other diversity-related issues involving the jurisprudence system.
The Diversity Council operates on the basis of a Diversity Aspiration Statement for Presbyterian College.
In order to realize these aspirations, the Council has three standing sub-committees:
1. Common Purpose; charged with:
- reviewing the College’s mission and purpose statements; strategic priorities, goals, and objectives; and stated policies and practices;
- recommending changes to these statements, priorities, goals, policies, and practices that will be conducive to the attainment of the aspirations outlined in Section VI of this document.
2. Culture; charged with:
- generating new ideas for enhancing our educational program (i.e., academic, student life, and athletic);
- promoting faculty, student, and staff development;
- offering recommendations for consideration by the trustees, faculty, staff, and students.
3. Attainment; charged with:
- monitoring and assessing our progress toward stated goals and objectives;
- reporting outcomes to the PC community.
The Diversity Council is composed of a cross-section of faculty, students, and staff (administrative, athletics, and campus services staff), broadly diverse in terms of demographic backgrounds, vocational knowledge, and experience. All members are committed to defining diversity in keeping with the PC’s Mission Statement and Diversity Aspiration Statement.
The Council is comprised of the following members:
- Two faculty representatives from each of the three academic divisions (total of six) chosen by the faculty for staggered two-year terms;
- Two student representatives are chosen by the Student Government Association for staggered two-year terms;
- Two staff representatives are chosen by the Campus Services staff for staggered two-year terms;
- Nine permanent positions are drawn from the College’s administrative staff, including the Educational Program Group, Resource Allocation Group, Resource Generation Group, and School of Pharmacy (details to be determined by the Administrative Council);
- Up to five volunteers from any sector of the campus community, for staggered two-year terms, in accordance with protocols established by the Council (see Sec. VI.3 below);
- Up to two additional members appointed by the President, for staggered two-year terms, in an effort to ensure adequate representation of the entire College community.
Operating Principles and Methods
Consistent with the academic principles that ensure mental and intellectual freedom and the purpose of PC, which, as the Preamble to its by-laws states, is to “develop, within the Christian framework, the mental, physical, moral, and spiritual capacities of each student in preparation for a lifetime of personal and vocational fulfillment and responsible contribution to our democratic society and the world community,” the Diversity Council operates under the following principles and methods:
- The Council will employ different perspectives, and experience to promote diversity and actions supporting fairness and equality in the workplace and in the achievement of the PC’s mission.
- Each Council member is encouraged to commit to being open and candid in expressing his or her perspective, while also exercising respect and consideration for the perspectives and contributions of any member of the College community who wishes to offer ideas and perspectives to the Council.
- The officers, schedule, sub-committee tasks, and basic protocols of the Council, including confidentiality parameters, will be determined by the Council as a whole after this charter has been ratified, with due allowance for revision as needed. Council members will be expected to commit to all routines and protocols thus established by the Council.As a community dedicated to excellence in liberal arts education and informed by principles of Christian faith, Presbyterian College welcomes the contributions of divergent voices as we seek to foster a deep, shared sense of purpose.
A diversity of human experiences and viewpoints in our learning community strengthens the educational experience of all members of the PC community. Therefore, we seek to promote diversity that respects and resonates with our core values, as expressed in such documents as the College’s Mission Statement, the Covenant with the Presbyterian Church, and the Faculty Handbook’s statement on academic freedom.
As the Mission Statement reminds us, “To help students attain a sense of dignity, self-worth, and appreciation of other persons with diverse backgrounds,” this vision statement is an effort to focus on our aspirations to form a diverse community, to create opportunities for expressing our differences, and to provide context for the actions we undertake in the name of diversity. As a learning community that aims “to help students develop moral and ethical commitments including service to others (Mission Statement),” we aspire to treat all humans with respect, honoring human dignity.
We also acknowledge that Presbyterian College has existed within a broader social and historical context in which access to education and employment has been, for certain social groups, unduly restricted. To help redress such injustice and to make our college community more inclusive and more representative of our society and world, we seek to promote the presence and voice of groups that have been historically marginalized because of such factors as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, faith tradition, age, and physical ability. We further recognize that the preceding list is incomplete, sometimes controversial, and subject to continuing review, in keeping with our College’s dynamism and its already deep, productive diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds.
In this spirit, we envision Presbyterian College as a place where we, as a diverse student body, faculty, and staff:
- encourage contributions to the community by ensuring full representation and by honoring the experience of those groups that have endured unjust discrimination;
- seek intercultural and cross-cultural communication;
- cultivate in ourselves and in one another the courage, skill, and grace that are needed to discuss complex issues about which we may deeply disagree, including such matters as culturally significant difference and the continuing existence of discrimination in our society;
- talk with one another in a spirit of openness and thoughtful exploration.
Toward these ends, we will devote resources to:
- maintain and expand diversity in our curriculum, co-curricular programs, and supportive networks;
- attract, enroll, and retain an increased number of students with diverse backgrounds from the United States and abroad;
- recruit, hire, and retain an increased number of faculty and staff with diverse backgrounds from the United States and abroad;
- continue to analyze the changes in our society and to examine the scope of our diversity aspirations;
- assess our programs formally and continually check our progress in achieving the above goals.