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College to hear diversity mapping results

Dr. Rona Halualani

Dr. Rona Halualani

As part of its goal of becoming an inclusive learning community, The College will hear a progress report from a diversity mapping expert. The public is welcome.

Organizations use diversity mapping to assess and analyze the impact of their diversity and inclusion efforts, which means looking at their policies, procedures, systems, overall strategy, coordination of efforts and culture. Since last year, the firm Halualani & Associates of Redwood City, CA, has been examining St. Scholastica's current practices to find out where the College is succeeding and where there's room for improvement.

Dr. Rona Halualani will present findings and make recommendations from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25 in Burns Wellness Commons Room 249. Her process has included a thorough examination of College's diversity efforts to date. Every department had an opportunity to demonstrate how inclusion and diversity are embedded in their daily work and in classroom curricula.

The public is welcome. Admission and parking are free. 

"We hope that our experience can provoke discussion for other Northland corporations, schools and organizations," said Patricia Pratt-Cook, St. Scholastica's vice president for human resources and chief diversity officer, "and raise awareness about the need to assess the impact of their diversity and inclusion efforts and to use the results to be more strategic and deliberate as they move forward."

The diversity mapping process is an essential part of efforts to create a learning community distinguished by inclusive excellence, she said. This goal is regarded as "mission critical" by St. Scholastica's Board of Trustees and President's Staff, that is, vital to the functioning of the College, both from an historic viewpoint and in looking to the future.

"We are called to work for justice by Catholic social teaching and our Benedictine values," Pratt-Cook said.

In terms of job-readiness, she noted, employers expect cultural competency from college graduates. She cites multiple studies, including 2013 research by the Business Higher Education Forum, a consortium of Fortune 500 CEO's and university presidents, which found that employers are observing "deficiencies in the skill sets" of college graduates and citing the need for graduates to "communicate effectively in virtual and multi-cultural teams and engage with colleagues across multiple fields."

Halualani is expected to recommend more coherence and alignment among the hundreds of initiatives taking place within the St. Scholastica community.

"There's a lot of really good work going on around campus," Pratt-Cook said. "However, we're not where we need to be - we still have a lot of work left to do. Most of our efforts are being led by specific individuals and departments. There is not a deliberate, strategic and coordinated approach to ensure sustained, meaningful actions that will ensure organizational transformation. We hope community members will attend the presentation because we're convinced this model of assessing and evaluating diversity and inclusion efforts and receiving concrete recommendations for improvement has real value. It's our hope that the presentation will stimulate dialogue among the attendees about the need to conduct an assessment in their own organization, how they might use the results to strengthen the work already being done, and the need for a diversity master plan."

The initiative is supported by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.