Updates as of Sept. 23, 2020: Student Life Space Initiative Update; Student Mental Health and Wellness Initiative 1 Update, Initiative 2 Update, Initiative 4 Update
Assistant Dean for Equity and Student Success
As prompted by and communicated directly to Clark’s Black Student Union, the University is creating a new leadership position, Assistant Dean for Equity and Student Success, within the Dean of Students division.
This position will coordinate enhanced support for Black students and other marginalized students and assist with the development of outreach to faculty and staff, particularly to build better understanding of all Clark students’ experiences. We will each support the person appointed to this position in every way we can.
Student Life Space
As part of upcoming campus-planning work, we will be investigating how best to add and invest significantly in dedicated new space for student gatherings, including spaces that allow close discussion among people with shared interests, life backgrounds, and other dimensions of the student experience.
Updates as of Sept. 23, 2020:
- Initial discussions about these planning matters are now under way, and as these prospective ideas take shape, we will be bringing them forward for discussion among faculty, students, and others. To allow time for sufficient research, review, and campus discussion, our intended timeline for formalizing these campus plans is fall 2021.
- In the meantime, Student Leadership and Programming (SLP) has been working in new ways this semester to support student organizations and clubs to develop and implement programming virtually as well as on and off campus. (To ensure safety and coordinate planning, students are required to consult with SLP before booking indoor or outdoor campus spaces on campus. To learn about events, students can access Clark Engage as well as read the weekly What’s Happening newsletter sent to all undergraduates.)
Student Mental Health and Wellness
Effective mental health and wellness services are essential to Clark’s mission of providing a healthy and productive learning environment. In a diverse campus community, meeting that mission requires attention to the differing experiences of underrepresented students.
Our steps to improve the University’s services in this area include the following:
Under the leadership of its diversity specialist, the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) will improve support of the mental health needs of marginalized students at Clark, including the delivery of multicultural training to CPG staff, as well as implementing related workshops and events for underrepresented students through the Office of Multicultural and First Generation Student Support.
This fall, we will initiate a search for an additional diversity specialist to provide individual and group clinical care particularly for students of color.
In fall 2019, CPG added a new confidential resource for students seeking a professional therapist after normal counseling center hours. (Students can obtain this mental health support after hours — e.g., between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends — by calling the counseling center at (508) 793-7678 and selecting option #2 on the voicemail prompt.)
Initiative 4 (New)
CPG has launched Drop-In Discussion Groups, online 60-minute meetings to help students connect during this time of COVID-19. These sessions include a variety of topics based on a student’s identity and for those who are concerned about issues on campus and around the globe.
Updates as of Sept. 23, 2020:
- Mikayla Wynter (M.A. and Licensed Mental Health Counselor) has been promoted to Assistant Director for Diversity Programs and Multicultural Counseling. In her short time at Clark, Mikayla has effectively partnered with the Office of Multicultural and First Generation Student Support (MFGSS) and others on campus to create programming and counseling-based support for students of color and other underrepresented student populations. In addition to helping to lead the search for the new Diversity Specialist, Mikayla will lead CPG’s efforts to grow multicultural counseling options and proficiency.
- The administrative steps necessary to launch this search search for an additional diversity specialist and to assemble the search committee — which will include students, faculty, and staff — are now under way.
Besides building competitive ability, good health, and teamwork, our athletics programs aim to build leadership skills. As part of change at Clark:
- Clark Athletics has developed educational programs focused on strengthening appreciation for diversity and inclusion and related skills among student-athletes, coaches, and staff.
- Team captains and leaders will participate in the same anti-racism training provided to resident and peer advisers.
- We are developing committees involving student-athletes, coaches, and staff who will be charged with informing and helping to advance the spirit and the actions of diversity and inclusion across our athletics programs.