Our student handbook and policies make clear that Deerfield does not tolerate hateful speech. In furtherance of our expectations for respectful and responsible behavior on and off campus, we are in the process of conducting a comprehensive review of our policies to ensure that they are well understood and the consequences are clear across our campus community. That review will continue over the course of the fall and include input from students, parents, and faculty.
When school begins in September, we will have in place a more robust process for members of the community, including our students, to register concerns about bias and bigotry.
Deerfield takes allegations of racist or insensitive behavior extremely seriously. In accordance with our internal policies and procedures, we investigate all claims as expeditiously and thoroughly as possible. We will appoint a task force of faculty, staff, Trustees, and students to review Deerfield’s disciplinary processes to ensure that they reflect the Academy’s longstanding commitment to fairness, to the confidentiality and dignity of all students and to the highest levels of accountability and character. We expect this review and the accompanying report, which will be reviewed externally by a qualified expert, to be completed by the end of the Fall Term.
Yes. We will carefully review the DEER proposal brought forward by our students. There is great promise in new practices of mediation and restorative justice, and we thank our students for insisting that we continue to study and explore our approach.
This Fall, a task force of faculty, staff, Trustees, and students will review Deerfield’s disciplinary processes to ensure that they reflect the Academy’s longstanding commitment to fairness, to the confidentiality and dignity of all students and to the highest levels of accountability and character. The task force will also consider under what circumstances we report student misconduct to colleges and universities. We expect this review and the accompanying report, which will be reviewed externally by a qualified expert, to be completed by the end of the Fall Term.
Through the Student Life Office and Assistant Head of School for Student Life Amie Creagh, we will also develop robust, sustained, and annual professional learning for all faculty and Deans serving on committees related to student misconduct.
We appreciate and encourage the ongoing discussion of our curriculum, including proposals for new courses on social justice and anti-racism, in addition to the course we already offer. We currently offer a range of courses that explore a variety of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the last few years, we have offered courses that delve into the work of Black novelists, poets, and playwrights; the historical and contemporary impact of telling the story of slavery in America; racial justice, reparations and the politics of historical remembrance; and the driving forces, machinery, and consequences of racism in the United States and across the globe. This fall, we are offering courses on race in America; environmental justice; an exploration of how identity, power and privilege shape our ethical understandings; and the role literature plays in equitable societies. Moving forward, we will develop a process to review our current curriculum and conduct a preliminary review of our course catalog that can provide a foundation for future study of our educational program.
We recently appointed Dr. Ivory Hills as Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and Strategy. In this role, Dr. Hills will oversee and coordinate our educational efforts in the areas of inclusion and equity, chair a new working group tasked with developing a sustained and coordinated approach to professional learning at Deerfield, and lead future strategic initiatives in the areas of curriculum, innovation and schoolwide special programming.
In addition, following a national search, we will appoint Deerfield’s first Dean of Inclusive Teaching and Learning, reporting to—and working closely with—Dr. Hills. This new Dean-level leader will be an experienced teacher; bring knowledge of research in the areas of inclusive, instructional excellence, curricular design and coaching; and will work with faculty to identify, define, and institutionalize best practices in the areas of inclusive teaching and learning.
Through these positions and in support of our ongoing commitment to confronting race and racism, we will put in place sustained, coordinated, and ongoing support for faculty learning in the areas of inclusive instructional practices, with a particular focus on questions of racial justice, the history of racism, and other legacies of oppression.
The Deerfield Forum will provide regular, sustained and required opportunities for listening and conversation; model scholarly and civic engagement; and, by staging conversation among scholars, professionals, and civic leaders, promote constructive dialogue and active open-mindedness. To support the Forum, we will appoint an external advisory Board, including distinguished alumni, Trustees, faculty, staff, and students. We will launch our first Forum during the 2020-2021 school year.
Making Deerfield Academy a stronger and more inclusive school requires that we become better students of our own culture and practices. To that end, we will appoint Deerfield’s first Director of Institutional Research to support benchmarking, data collection, and research-driven excellence.
We will develop, through both quantitative and qualitative measures, more robust data on campus climate and student growth that can direct our educational efforts, identify areas of attention, and inform future initiatives. To ensure that each of our students feels a powerful sense of belonging, develops the skills of self-care and sound judgement, and feels empowered to speak in their own voice, this effort will include measures of inclusion and belonging, student flourishing and wellness, and campus speech and expression. It will be updated, published, and reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees’ Student Life Committee and Inclusion Committee. We will use this data to inform a review of our existing Vision Statement for Inclusion and revise it accordingly.
We will put in place sustained, coordinated, and ongoing support for faculty learning in the areas of inclusive instructional practices, with a particular focus on questions of racial justice, the history of racism, and other legacies of oppression.
At the start of the Fall Term, we will employ 24 faculty of color, comprising 18 percent of our total faculty. Of our 17 new faculty members this fall, eight are faculty of color.
We have made steady progress in increasing our faculty of color in recent years. Ten years ago, during the 2010-2011 school year, we employed 13 faculty of color, which comprised 11 percent of our total faculty.
We rely on a variety of different efforts and initiatives to recruit and retain faculty of color, including out-of-cycle hiring, networking with alumni, retraining interviewers, holding open houses for candidates, visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and developing relationships with colleges and other organizations. Over the next five years, our goal is to increase our percentage of faculty of color from 14 percent to 20 percent, according to the following priorities: African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians; “bridge” populations that are underrepresented in the community, particularly members of the LGBT community, religious minorities, and people who have taught or have been educated in public school; and “inclusion allies,” or people who don’t fall under the above categories but will actively support our diversity efforts.
We will appoint an Associate Dean of Faculty who will be charged with enhancing outreach and recruitment of Black faculty and faculty of color. The Associate Dean will work closely with the school’s leadership to improve all aspects of our recruitment, hiring, and retention strategy.
Deerfield Academy alumni are an extraordinary resource, and we should seek to more fully harness their commitment to their school and their professional experience.
Building on our existing structures of governance, and in consultation with the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association, we will form an Alumni of Color Advisory Board. The Office of Advancement will continue to work with the Nominating and Governance Committees of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association to develop a strong pipeline for Trustee diversity.
We will also develop a series of initiatives to engage more fully with our alumni of color, including the launch this September of a Graduway Alumni Directory and Mentoring Platform. This will include inviting alumni to sign up for affinity groups for career mentoring and virtual engagement opportunities. In support of our students, we will also continue to engage alumni of color as speakers and panelists for on-campus events, including Pathways, MLK Day, School Meeting, classroom presentations, and meetings with student alliances.
We will develop and fund data collection from alumni and create further opportunities for regular dialogue. Ultimately, alumni feedback and insights will help us sharpen and refine our overall approach.
This summer, we will launch our new website. It will feature a new landing page for Inclusion and Equity that will include the 2016 Strategic Plan for Inclusion, our recently adopted Statement on Gender Inclusion, a listing of volunteer engagement opportunities, and additional information and resources for our community.
Regularly and transparently, we will report on progress toward our goals in the areas of campus climate, faculty hiring, and curricular and instructional innovation. We will also establish more direct channels to receive questions, concerns, and feedback.
At the start of the Fall Term, 40 percent of our student body (264 students) will identify as a person of color. Of our 654 students, 54 will identify as Black or African American, 75 will identify as multiracial or biracial, and 135 will identify as American-Indian, Asian, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino, Mexican American, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, or another ethnicity.
Since 2009, our student of color population has risen from 20 percent to 40 percent.
Financial aid for students of color has increased by $4.3 million over the past 10 years and by more than $5 million over the past 20 years. Since 2010, the percentage of students receiving Financial Aid has grown from 30 percent to 38 percent. In the last 20 years, total Financial Aid has grown from $3.6 million to $11.6 million. Seeking the resources to sustain and deepen our commitment to access and Financial Aid will continue to be a priority for the Academy, its Trustees, and the Head of School.
In the past 20 years, the Supplemental Aid Budget has grown from just under $20,000 to $363,000. This increase has allowed the program to reach more students and better address the inequities of students on campus through increased funding for allowances, laundry, college visits, prom, clothing, and dorm room purchases.
To enhance equity and programmatic access, we will continue to develop funds for supplemental financial aid, building on progress in this particular area over the last four years, thanks to initiatives by the Office of Advancement and the Academy’s Director of Financial Aid Melissa Persons.
The number of grants awarded to students of color has increased from 61 in 2011-2012 to 120 in 2020-2021. This represents an increase from 30 percent of the total financial aid population to 49 percent of the total financial aid population.
To “attract and yield a diverse student population”—an important goal in the Strategic Plan for Inclusion—and to support outreach to communities of color, we will appoint an Assistant Director of Multicultural Recruitment to work with longtime Senior Associate Director of Admission Jeff Armes, who was appointed Director of Multicultural Recruitment in February of 2020.
Primarily through the Academy’s Center for Service and Global Citizenship, Deerfield partners with a variety of local, national, and international non-profits and other organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. In past years, Deerfield students have helped to raise funds for these and other organizations.
These organizations are doing important work, but we are committed to using Deerfield Academy resources in direct support of our students and their educations. We will, however, in the coming days provide “FAQs” on questions about our endowment that have surfaced over the last few weeks.