Diversity at Reed
Committee on Diversity
The Committee on Diversity consists of a broad range of faculty members and staff who work in collaboration to support and promote intellectual, cultural, and social pluralism at Reed. As an advisory group, we are responsible for monitoring the programs and policies adopted by the college in pursuing its commitment to diversity. We also present recommendations to the faculty, its elected committees, and the administrative units of the college with the intention of facilitating and guaranteeing the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students from under-represented ethnic and racial groups. With a goal of providing institutional cohesion and consistency regarding diversity and inclusion initiatives, we foster communication among the faculty, faculty committees, and the offices of admission and student services. We work closely with our newly formed counterpart in the student body to further promote shared values of mutual understanding and collaboration around intellectual pluralism, diversity, and inclusion.
Santi Alston, Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Engagement, and Success“At Reed, we certainly know how to debate issues, critique arguments, and say loudly to one another ‘this is the way that our community should operate.’ And so I ask myself often - who’s voice is it that is being heard, who’s opinions are being validated? In our ongoing conversation about the nature of the Reed community, I think diversity creates room for soft and loud, expressive, introspective, and beyond. I want to hear it all.”
Kara Becker, Assistant Professor of Linguistics"Diversity can’t be thought of as a nice add-on to our campus. It is a necessity for a truly academic and collegial environment. It impacts our daily interactions in the classroom and out; it impacts the kinds of knowledge that we promote on our campus and the kinds of questions we ask of ourselves and of each other. It affects social change. We need to diversify, intellectually, socially, and culturally - that's it."
Mark Burford, Assistant Professor of Music"It is common, and perhaps understandable, to frame “diversity” in terms of culture and difference—greater inclusion of people not like “us.” But diversity might also be thought of as an embrace of Reed’s core values: “the life of the mind” and “the highest standards of scholarly practice, critical thought, and creativity.” That is, Reedies refuse to sequester their minds and ideas from ways of understanding the world that they may have never considered before. Diversity represents not an abandonment of 'Old Reed' but rather a renewed commitment to Reed’s founding principle—the intrinsic value of the pursuit of human knowledge—in its fullest possible sense."
Ariadna García-Bryce, Professor of Spanish and HumanitiesMy first response would be "Is it at all possible not to care about something so crucial?" Diversity is vital to the social and intellectual fabric of the community. To coexist and exchange ideas with people from different backgrounds is essential, not only to understanding others, but also to understanding ourselves in a profound way. If one is not exposed to other realities and viewpoints and value systems, how can one think critically about one's own assumptions?"
Connie Helleson, Director of Human Resources
"Every day I have the opportunity to work with people and what makes us each unique, whether that be our values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences or behaviors. I love the mix of differences and similarities and being able to work in an environment that allows all people to contribute in their own way."
Pancho Savery, Professor of English & Humanities"I believe that part of our job as educators is to help prepare our students to enter the real world. At least in the context of Reed, this is a somewhat controversial position to take. There are many who believe that our only purpose is to help foster "pure education" and "the life of the mind." I don't believe that is enough. The world is increasingly multicultural, and if we educate our students in an all-white environment, we are not preparing them for the world after college, and we are not sufficiently doing our jobs."
"Diversity is the antidote to homogeneity, and homogeneity is the enemy of what most of us hold dear as learners, thinkers, and problem-solvers. Why? As a community, diverse perspectives provide the thought-provoking collisions that underlie novel or pluralistic solutions, whether wrestling with old issues or new ones. Fostering and nourishing diversity at Reed is an essential component of the continued creativity and vigor of the institution and its individual members."
Sarah Schaack, Assistant Professor of Biology
Keith Todd, Dean of Admission"Reed is a place with such great intellectual diversity. The goal of my office is to bring in an entering class that reflects and widens that diversity. Each student we admit demonstrates intellectual excellence, yet brings different strengths, viewpoints, and experiences to our community. The more diverse our admitted class is, the more rich our classroom explorations, residence hall discussions, and individual personal development become. I love being able to admit individuals who bring something new, unique, or original—or just different!—to Reed."
Crystal Williams, Dean for Institutional Diversity & Associate Professor of Creative Writing
"In an increasingly global world, a learning community that is itself a model for diversity and inclusion, and which provides a comprehensive and intellectually rigorous education, is the foundation for student success and achievement. So I am deeply committed to ensuring that Reed continues to be a community that welcomes and honors all forms of intellectual, cultural, and social diversity."