Working for Greater Equality On-Campus: College Responds to Call for Greater Inclusion and Diversity

by The Cowl Editor on October 31, 2019


by Maura Campbell ’22

News Staff

On Monday, October 21, the Providence College student body received an email from Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., president of the College, informing students, staff, and faculty of an update by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (IDEI). The email provided general information regarding IDEI’s recent work to promote diversity on campus, and specifically addressed some potential issues previously raised about the elementary and special education department.

In light of recent claims that the Department of Elementary and Special Education has not been an inclusive department and major on campus, IDEI has partnered with the department to help to create a more inclusive environment.

In reference to the ESE department, the email also mentioned Jennifer Swanberg, dean of the school of professional studies, high lightingher work “to develop a cultural transformation process with the goal of ensuring that all ESE faculty and staff are equipped with the evidence-based skills, knowledge, and competencies to foster this type of inclusive environment.”

In particular, the email included a flyer that was distributed at IDEI’s recent meeting, explaining their major initiatives. These initiatives include the Diversity Strategic Directions Steering Committee, a committee to help engage internal leaders in a conversation about diversity and create a clear plan and direction for diversity, and Advocates for Beloved Community (ABC), a team promoting racial justice and reconciliation on campus and addressing Title VI racial bias incidents.

The flyer also detailed IDEI’s five focus areas for 2019-2020. This strategic plan, known as PC200, hopes to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at PC through these focus areas, “ranging from structural diversity, access, and equity, to student learning and development—and has developed relationships with a diverse team of campus partners to address these areas through educational training, specific programming, departmental counseling, and other initiatives,” Shanley said.

These five focus areas are structural diversity, access, and equity, institutional infrastructure, climate and intergroup relations, formal and informal curricula, and student learning and development.

In addition, the flyer included information about events and programming held at the Center at Moore Hall. This programming includes the Urban Dance Series, classes on diverse dance styles and culture held by Providence-based dancers and educators. Other programming includes Conversations for Change, a set of workshops inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., promoting “nonviolence, consensus building, and civic action,” and the World Cinema Series, a PC faculty-hosted program centered around “the film traditions and innovation of different countries throughout the world.”

This email highlights the work of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in recent and upcoming months. This work to promote diversity and inclusion is “critical to the future success of Providence College,” Shanley said. He further added that “each of us is responsible for communicating and working together to translate this vision into action.”

IDEI’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity at PC an important part of the College’s mission, and this update is relevant to students seeking resources and outlets on these issues. The goal of their work can be summed up in their mission statement: “Rooted in our Catholic and Dominican identity, the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion advances Providence College’s commitment to developing purposeful collaborations across all areas of the College and the greater community to foster an environment where people of all backgrounds, cultures, identities and perspectives can flourish.”

The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion can be reached at or in their office in Harkins 312.

PC200 deals specifically with inclusion and diversity.
photo courtesy of