For the last three years, Knox’s new student orientation has been organized around the theme of One Community: a theme that reflects Knox’s goal to be a college where diversity is accompanied by equity, inclusion, and full participation in every educational opportunity. Over the last year, students and alumni, along with faculty and staff, have pointed out -- through walk outs, demonstrations, individual protests, and social media postings, as well as in conversations and town hall meetings -- that Knox has work to do if we are to live up to our ideal of One Community.
Since our founding in 1837, the people of Knox College have always answered the contemporary call for social justice. Now, in the early part of the 21st century, we offer a series of steps that will move the College closer toward our goal of One Community. The 10 steps listed below outline actions we will take together to achieve equity and inclusion for every member of our diverse community.
In addition to the action steps, we’ve included information and an update for each. While much progress has been made in some areas, others are still in the early stages of implementation. As a community, we pledge to review each step at least once a term to make sure sustained progress is being made and to report back on that progress here.
We know that this goal requires that we move forward together, so we ask you to collaborate with us and review our progress as well. If you have concerns, suggestions, or comments, we want to hear from you. Many of the steps outlined below may take a year or more to implement. But we pledge that we will make progress, and it will be visible to every member of the Knox community.
Knox has been committed to increasing the diversity of its student body for decades, and this commitment has produced tangible results in recent years. Over the last decade, we have seen a significant increase in students of color and international students (see the table on student diversity below). The fall 2014 entering class included 43 percent domestic students of color and 13 percent international students. Working together across the various campus constituencies, the College will move forward to achieve equity and inclusivity within our diverse community.
Source: Office of Institutional Research.
To bring diversity and equity into the core of all we do at Knox and to truly live Knox’s mission and ideals, we have engaged a national leader in campus diversity and inclusion, Dr. Alma Clayton-Pedersen, chief executive officer of Emeritus Consulting Group, to partner with us in a comprehensive effort to “make excellence inclusive.” Dr. Clayton-Pedersen is a senior scholar at the American Association of Colleges and & Universities and has held senior leadership positions in higher education, including student affairs, a public policy center, academic affairs and athletics. She has conducted more than 20 institutional studies of student retention, campus climate for diversity, and the impact of student programming and services. She has co-authored many publications including Making a Real Difference with Diversity: A Guide for Institutional Change, which focuses on changing the diversity paradigm to an essential dimension of 21st Century learning and how to monitor progress in achieving institutional goals for diversity.
Dr. Clayton-Pedersen’s environmental scan will include all college offices, including academic programs and departments, administrative offices, campus safety, and athletics.
Dr. Clayton-Pedersen visited campus for the first time in December 2014 to meet with members of the President’s Council, as well as current and past members of the Campus Diversity Committee. During this visit, she discussed the climate at Knox, as well as the College’s goals regarding diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Based on this visit, Dr. Clayton-Pedersen proposed a plan for her work to build on the College’s Knox 2018 Strategic Plan and help Knox bring diversity, equity and inclusion into the core of the Knox educational program and experience.
In February 2015, Knox signed a contract with Emeritus Consulting Group. Dr. Clayton-Pedersen and her business partner, Sonja Armstrong, attended the winter meeting of the Board of Trustees to brief the Board on current and future challenges facing higher education. Ms. Armstrong has served as both associate general counsel and special counsel at Chicago State University, a public, urban institution with a mission of access founded in 1867. As a generalist in higher education law, she has been responsible for oversight of issues relating to labor and employment, governance, athletics, residence life, academic affairs and student discipline.
They have begun their work to complete the environmental scan and will return to campus in April to meet with campus stakeholders to focus our efforts on developing and implementing solutions to campus concerns. This visit to campus will include focus groups with individual groups of students, faculty, and staff. During the spring, they will continue to connect with the campus community to ensure that we are making progress toward our goals, and ultimately, present progress and recommendations to the campus and the Board of Trustees in June.
To provide additional information and assessment, the College will administer the CIRP Diverse Learning Environments survey in mid-April 2015. This survey captures student perceptions regarding the institutional climate; campus practices as experienced by students with faculty, staff, and peers; and student learning outcomes. The experience of diverse student populations is at the center of the survey. The resulting report will provide insight into student experiences of discrimination and harassment; positive and negative intergroup relations; sense of belonging, academic validation; inclusion in the curriculum; student support services; and other issues that contribute to the campus climate for diversity.
Having a diverse faculty and staff that mirrors the changing demographics of the nation and demonstrates intercultural competence is one of Knox’s top priorities. The number of underrepresented and international faculty and staff at Knox has grown from 35 to 61 over the past 10 years, and we seek to increase that number substantially in the next five years (to learn more about the demographics of our faculty and staff, see the Office of Institutional Research website). One of the key benchmarks in the Knox 2018 strategic plan is to increase the number of underrepresented or international faculty and staff by 50 percent (an additional 30 faculty and staff). This increased diversity is particularly important within the faculty as a whole and in offices that deal directly with students on a daily basis, including the business, financial aid, and campus safety offices, among others.
Through the leadership of the Campus Diversity Committee, "Recommendations for Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce," were developed and approved by the Knox Faculty in May 2015. These recommendations for conducting searches have been incorporated in the Dean of the College Office guidelines for faculty searches, "Hiring Great New Colleagues."
Significant resources within Human Resources have been dedicated -- and will continue to be -- to ensure that candidate pools for faculty and staff positions reflect the 21st-century workforce. Job advertisements now routinely include language about the importance of intercultural competence in requirements for positions. For example, the College is currently seeking a Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services, and that advertisement states: “The successful candidate will resonate with Knox's deeply rooted commitment to diversity in all its forms and demonstrate a willingness to model and promote respect, equity, and inclusiveness in day-to-day interactions across campus.” In addition, the College has expanded the sites where faculty and staff positions are advertised to ensure that we are reaching underrepresented groups. We have joined the national Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) to advertise nationally in addition to regionally so as to have a broader pool of candidates for our faculty and administrative positions.
Over the last year, the Dean of the College/Vice President for Academic Affairs has worked to improve the diversity of its candidate pools for faculty positions. The faculty hiring handbook was rewritten with diversity and inclusivity as an important component of the hiring process, and the Dean’s office has broadened its advertising of open positions to a wider array of publications and job boards. Tenure-track faculty positions, for example, now are advertised in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, as well as disciplinary sites. In the last two years, of the eight tenure-track faculty hired through national searches, 50 percent have been filled with faculty who come from underrepresented groups or are international.
Knox received an important opportunity to support its efforts to build a more inclusive faculty body thanks to the recently announced $8.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The grant will support the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate, which aims to expand participation by underrepresented groups in the career pipeline from college student to liberal arts college professor. The initiative brings together the 14 liberal arts colleges in the ACM with the CIC's 15 research universities to build multiple levels of connection among the institutions, their students, and faculty.
We are committed to providing comprehensive and sustained diversity training for all faculty and staff. Through a variety of training sessions and webinars, as well as Intergroup Dialogue, Knox faculty and staff will have multiple opportunities to receive diversity and inclusivity training. In addition, we are in the planning stages of adding a mandatory diversity training to new employee orientation. These educational opportunities will help address instances of disrespect or misunderstanding and help us all understand the toll that microaggressions take on members of our community.
A second workshop for faculty, and some academic affairs staff, was held December 10 and 11, 2015. More than 60 faculty in the past calendar year have participated in Intergroup Dialogue Training, as well as about 10 academic affairs and student development staff.
More than 30 Knox faculty and staff participated in the webinar "The Racial Climate on Campus: Best Practices for Education, Response & Adjudication,” hosted by Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, president and founder of the Social Justice Training Institute and Washington Consulting Group. The webinar was presented two times in 2015—July 22 and December 16—and is currently available for individual viewing in an online repository of materials addressing issues of diversity and inclusivity.
The Center for Intercultural Life also hosted a webinar in November, "Hispanic Student Success: Data, Strategies, Completion.” The webinar was presented by Dr. Amy Golden, assistant dean of students, and Lindsay Romasanta, assistant director of the First-Year Success Center, both of Arizona State University, Tempe Campus. Ten faculty, staff, and administrators attended participated in the webinar.
The first of a series of faculty-mandated workshops on diversity are currently scheduled for August 11 and 12. This two-day workshop will be lead by Charles Behling and Roger Fisher of the University of Michigan's Program on Intergroup Relations. The workshop will explore intergroup dialogue techniques and strategies to assist faculty in cultivating inclusive classroom and interpersonal relationships.
In August 2014, more than a quarter of the faculty attended a workshop on how to build an inclusive classroom. The workshop was supported in part by a Mellon Grant for faculty development.
A webinar entitled “White Privilege: How It Undermines Our Best Efforts to Diversify and be Inclusive,” hosted by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, was held in January 2015 and attended by 50 faculty and staff. Two “Diversity in the Workplace” training sessions were also offered in March and were attended by close to 100 staff members, with the vast majority from service-oriented campus offices.
At the February 2015 faculty meeting, Knox faculty members pledged their commitment to sustained diversity training for all faculty. Plans are currently underway for three training sessions over the spring, summer, and fall so that all faculty have received training by fall 2015.
More than 20 coaches and Athletics staff members and more than 30 student-athletes participated in a two-day Intergroup Dialogue workshop in March 2015. Participants worked with facilitators from the University of Michigan’s Program on Intergroup Relations to explore a variety of skill-sets, including increasing awareness of social identities, communicating and working across identities, and creating cultures of inclusion and excellence, and worked together to focus on applying these skills and moving forward to build a more inclusive community. Other departments and offices will be provided with similar opportunities in the future.
A search is about to begin for a new director of human resources. The successful candidate will be charged with developing a new employee orientation program, with an emphasis on recruitment, orientation, and professional development in inclusion and equity matters.
In addition, a search is also about to begin for a new director of campus safety, and intercultural competence, equity, and inclusion will be key criteria for selection. Students will have an opportunity to meet with the final candidates in this search and in the search for a director of human resources.
We recognize that many families and students face significant and continuing financial challenges, and that any increase in the cost of attendance may be difficult for our students and families to afford. Nonetheless, a Knox education is a personalized experience, with small classes taught by experts in their respective fields, more than 60 fields of study and a broad range of real-world educational experiences. In setting tuition and fees, the College seeks to support this robust educational program and provide competitive salaries to our employees. To assist students and their families, we continue to look systematically for ways to make college more affordable.
With the wind-down of the federal Perkins loan program for students with high need, Knox has communicated with students to ensure they are taking best advantage of the federal loan programs available to them. In addition, Knox has kept in close contact with federal and state legislators to help them understand the ramifications of not renewing funding sources for the neediest students, including the federal Perkins loan and the Illinois Monetary Assistance Program (MAP grant) for Illinois residents. Knox also engaged students in those state-wide lobbying efforts in support of funding for the Illinois MAP grant. Those efforts included a letter-writing campaign, communicating with families, and sending students to meet personally with legislators.
The Board of Trustees set the comprehensive fee for the 2015-16 academic year at $50,859, which covers tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees. This represents an increase of 3.3 percent, the lowest increase in more than 40 years. Mandatory fees for the 2015-16 academic year were frozen at their 2014 levels.
The College will commit nearly $30 million to help families who need assistance for the 2015-16 academic year. On average, students will receive Knox-funded grants and scholarships to cover about 57 percent of the cost of tuition and fees.
The College will also provide student employment opportunities totaling more than $1.1 million, on top of the $100,069 provided by the federal government, to support Work Study.
The College Advancement office is actively seeking new funds for scholarship support. Since 2012, 16 new endowed scholarships were established by donors, and three existing endowed scholarships have grown significantly from additional gifts for a total of more than $4 million new monies in endowed scholarships. The income from these endowed scholarships are providing more than $200,000 annually to the scholarships available for students of need. Scholarships are a fundraising priority of the Knox 2018 Strategic Plan with a goal to raise $5 million in endowed scholarships by 2018, a goal that we project will be surpassed.
The College continues to actively seek ways to lower students costs. For instance, with the introduction of new management of our campus bookstore in fall 2014, the College was able to implement a textbook rental program. To date, the program has saved students $38,000. Other cost savings are achieved by sustainability efforts that lower utility and food costs.
Knox is committed to the full participation of all students in the transformative educational experiences a residential liberal arts education offers. Those experiences include offerings within the educational program, from classes to research opportunities to study abroad to internships, to co-curricular opportunities like Division III athletics, clubs and organizations, and student governance. Knox is also committed to ensuring that these experiences are fully inclusive and embrace new areas of study and innovative learning experiences critical for student success in the 21st century. Many of these efforts are supported by a $400,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation.
The Mellon-funded teaching and learning workshop this year focused on teaching 100-level courses. More than 25 faculty, from more than 8 different departments and programs, participated in order to rethink and redesign 100-level, introductory courses or course sequences. Dr. Tia Brown McNair, Associate Vice President of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at the AACU, served as a facilitator, sharing the AACU data on high-impact practices with participants.
The Task Force on the Knox Educational Experience was convened with eight faculty members serving. The Task Force's charge is to re-imagine the Knox educational experience, with an eye toward higher education's changed demographics, presence of technology, and global connections. The Task Force will report recommendations to faculty throughout the winter and spring 2016 terms, and to the Board of Trustees in June of 2016.
A Summer Common Reading was added to One Community new student orientation. All entering students were asked to read portions of the same book, Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, which was then discussed with faculty, staff, and students during orientation.
A panel discussion on the former Knox College mascot nickname was held during Homecoming 2015 week. Called “The S Word: Native Nicknames at Knox,” the panel included Professors Catherine Denial and Konrad Hamilton and Director of Athletics Chad Eisele and focused on the history of the College’s former nickname and why we no longer use it.
Christine Herbes-Sommer ’70 presented and discussed her documentary American Denial during Fall Institute 2015. The document explores the underlying causes of systematic and institutional racial biases in the United States and originally appeared on PBS’s Independent Lens in February 2015.
Kimberle Crenshaw presented The Intersectionality Paradigm: Race and Gender in Work, Life and Politics on April 20, 2015. During her time on campus, Professor Crenshaw also spent the afternoon with women of color. Professor Crenshaw’s visit was orchestrated by the Student Senate Diversity Committee, Office of Student Development, Cultural Events Committee, Dean of the College, Office of the President and Students Against Sexism in Society.
Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) was added to the curriculum as a permanent course offering at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels in 2013-2104 and up to three sections per year are taught by faculty and staff trained in IGD. More than 100 students have participated in the IGD work.
A faculty workshop on Building Inclusive Classrooms, supported by the Mellon grant, was offered summer 2014 and attended by 25 faculty members. Programming for faculty has continued throughout the 2014-2015 academic year focused on effective pedagogy for 21st-century diverse learners and responding to difficult conversations in classes. Academic departments regularly undergo reviews that require them to review their curriculum to ensure worldwide perspectives and sensitivity to the students within their classes.
A group of faculty will participate in an AAC&U (Association of American Colleges and Universities) Institute on High Impact Practices and Student Success this summer to work in direct and concrete ways on how to bring more curricular diversity to 100-level courses.
Throughout the 2014-15 year, a group of Humanities faculty sponsored a series of events around the theme of “Identities.” The series, which includes plays as well as formal and informal talks by both faculty and nationally recognized scholars, focuses on such topics as the philosophy of racial identity in a social context, notions of performative identity, and ways in which disability affects identity, creativity, and success.
During the 2014-15 academic year, One Community orientation was extended into the fall term, offering sessions on the transition to college life. Sessions touched upon academic study skills, information literacy skills, academic advising, and diversity and difficult dialogues. This ongoing orientation will continue again during the 2015-16 academic year. To improve attendance, we are working to build a structure to allow us to more successfully reach all new students.
During winter term 2015, the Center for Intercultural Life introduced a newsletter, News from the Underground, that highlighted upcoming events focused on diversity and inclusivity, as well as the Cultural Centers that planned the events. More issues are planned for coming months.
In an effort to encourage more students of color, particularly Black men, to study abroad, Dr. Aaron Bruce, chief diversity officer at San Diego State University, spoke to Knox students, faculty, and staff in January 2015 about his passion for and the importance of study abroad. Bruce participated in several events while on the Knox campus, including a luncheon for Black men and a panel discussion.
The faculty Cultural Events Committee has selected a key theme for next year around which curricular and co-curricular events can be planned. The theme identified is “The Tipping Point: Reconsidering Otherness,” and Knox students faculty, and staff will be encouraged to look for connections to this theme when they invite speakers to campus.
During new student orientation, the Office of Student Development is sponsoring a first-year student common reading, focused on Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Claude Steele). During orientation and the fall term, incoming students will discuss the ideas in the book.
Finally, Fall Institute in October 2015 will kick off with a screening of American Denial, a film by Knox graduate Christine Herbes-Sommers '70, who will also be on campus to talk with students. American Denial uses 1944 Nobel Laureate Gunnar Myrdal’s question -- “How could America’s belief in liberty and equality also enable Jim Crow segregation?” -- to probe the power of unconscious biases today in what some have called post-racial America.
Over the last year, student organizations have provided input on how there needs to be a space in which students can come together for worship and spiritual practices. The College is working to identify a space in the short term and is also seeking to work with donors on more permanent support for students’ spiritual and religious needs.
Although Knox compares favorably to national standards on college completion, we recognize that there is a gap at Knox, as at other institutions, between rates for students of color and white students. We are committed to closing that gap. A number of programs already exist to help students succeed at Knox and beyond, including the TRIO, McNair, and COAST programs, all aimed at first-generation, low-income, or underrepresented students. Looking to the future, our associate dean of the College and dean of students have been charged with developing a completion plan for incoming students, including a summer bridge program for first-generation students, and improved completion is also a component of the Knox 2018 strategic plan. We are also developing new integrative living-learning experiences that can be offered through an extended orientation, clubs and organizations, or through one-off special workshops.
Source: Office of Institutional Research and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); ‘Average’ is over the last five years of available data.
The Admission, Retention, and Placement Committee continues its good work of analyzing data and current practices in order to ensure that we are best serving our students. In Winter 2016, the Dean of the College’s office will focus more explicitly on retention initiatives in order to respond to challenges in first-to-second year retention this past year. This effort will be dependent upon efforts from both Academic Affairs and Student Development to ensure that the programs we have in place for students are effective.
The summer bridge program—entitled SPARK (Student Preparation and Readiness for Knox)—is set to launch August 23. It will span two weeks, ending the day before New Student Orientation begins on September 4. A total of 71 students applied for the program, a clear indication that there is strong interest in such a program. For this first year, 32 student participants have been accepted and confirmed. Our resources, as well as conflicts with other pre-fall programs for athletes and for international students, prevent us from including all 71 students in this inaugural year of the bridge program. But the strong show of interest also confirms our belief that this program should be expanded in the coming years.
Numerous faculty are at work over the summer planning the academic aspects of the program, and Office of Student Development staff as well as academic support staff are coordinating with these faculty to provide meaningful additional programming.
The College will launch a summer bridge program in August 2015. Developed by the Admission, Retention, and Placement Committee, the program is aimed at incoming students and focused on a successful transition to college life, with programming on academics and advising, and a “transition to college” component. Students also will have many opportunities to get to know each other informally, to begin forming cohort groups and friendships, and to develop a set of relationships they can turn to for help throughout the coming year.
A new two-week intensive English language program for international students was held prior to new student orientation in August 2014 to better help them transition academically to the United States collegiate environment. It will be offered again in summer 2015 as part of the College’s ongoing efforts to assess and improve international student orientation.
To better meet the academic needs of our diverse student body, two sessions on advising students from all backgrounds were held for faculty in winter 2015, and an additional workshop on the topic is planned for fall 2015. Faculty are already trained to advise students with academic interests across the spectrum but will benefit from additional understanding of how the diversity of students’ identities, experiences, and backgrounds shape the ways in which they enter and move through the four-year academic experience.
A group of faculty and the dean of the College’s office are working (with the support of a grant from the Teagle Foundation) to improve academic advising at the junior and senior level. This initiative aims to help students better understand the overall shape of their education at Knox, how it coheres, and how it prepares them for the world after graduation.
Knox’s fast paced academic environment can be challenging for our students, particularly when personal and family issues are interwoven into their experience. We are committed to providing high-quality services for both individuals and groups of students that support their emotional and physical needs. Services are focused on allowing students to take full advantage of Knox’s educational opportunities and to have a solid base for success in and out of the classroom. We are also committed to providing educational tools and opportunities for students to learn about wellness and self-care, so that they may continue to focus on personal well-being once they graduate.
Megan Downs, Licensed Professional Counselor, joined the Counseling Center staff this fall, and she will be providing individual counseling services to Knox students on a part-time basis. And every Monday and Thursday from 2:30-3:30 p.m., Janell McGruder, Staff Counselor and Sexual Assault Advocate, offers advocacy hours for survivors seeking support and information regarding processes, including Title IX.
Three new support/discussion groups will soon be introduced. A psychotherapist-lead discussion/support group, which will focus on topics of body image, healthy eating, risks of disordered eating, media and social pressures, self-empowerment, boundaries and limit-setting, effective communication, and other aspects of healthy self-image and relationships, will begin to meet every two weeks during winter 2016. Western Illinois Regional Council - Victim Services (WIRC-VS) will again be providing a support group on campus for sexual assault survivors. And a support group for coping with anxiety will again be offered in winter term 2016. This is a weekly group provided by the Knox Counseling Center will be run by Janell McGruder, LPC.
AlcoholEdu, an interactive and evidence-based online learning program was launched in spring 2015. This program focuses on linking choices about drinking to academic and personal success, helping students practice safer decision-making, resetting unrealistic expectations about the effects of alcohol, and engaging students to create a healthier campus community. During Spring Term, this program was used as an educational intervention tool for students who have been found responsible for violating the College’s Alcohol Policy. Over the summer, all new students will be asked to complete this program prior to their arrival on campus.
In direct response to student concerns, Health & Counseling Services made two key changes over summer 2014: it expanded its hours of operations, and it moved the check-in desk from the waiting area to a private office to insure privacy of student health information.
In August 2015, we hired a full-time counselor for violence prevention and educational outreach in the Health & Counseling Center, making it possible to focus more on outreach to students. Student contact with counselors outside of clinical appointments has increased, creating a positive effect for some students on how counseling is perceived. Wellness Wednesdays, a biweekly program that offers a relaxing opportunity to de-stress, discuss wellness and teach skills, was introduced during winter term 2015. This program has transitioned into Mindfulness Mondays for spring term 2015.
In winter 2015, Knox obtained Kognito, a suicide prevention/psychological support resource tool, provided through a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health. We have constructed a plan of implementation, focusing initially on special interest groups, including Greek life, residential life staff, student athletes, and Alpha Phi Omega. The general student population has been invited to participate.
We believe that a respectful and safe learning community is a shared responsibility, and we are committed to working collaboratively to foster a culture of respect on our campus. In our classrooms, living spaces, playing fields, and performance spaces, Knox students, faculty, and staff commit ourselves to ensure that our actions match our values.
The search committee for Director of Campus Safety convened in April. Thirty-seven applications were received. Eleven candidates, which included one female and four minority candidates, were interviewed via videoconference. Three finalists were selected and invited to interview on campus with students and representatives from key offices and to participate in an open forum. Two finalists accepted and visited campus during the week of May 22. After review of input from the community, Mark Welker was offered and accepted the position. Mark began work on July 6, 2015. He comes to Knox from Eastern Kentucky University, where he served as executive director for the Division of Public Safety from 2008 to 2015.
The College transferred its mass notification system, which can deliver emergency and messaging via voice, e-mail and text message, to a new service, Knox Alert, in March.
Over the past 18 months, Knox has undertaken a significant review of its policies addressing discrimination under Title IX and, in particular, identified ways that we could strengthen our response to acts of sexual misconduct. Student advocates for survivors of sexual misconduct led the charge for changes that included an affirmative consent standard, campus-wide educational events, bystander intervention training, a confidential support group for survivors, and a new position for a counselor for violence prevention and educational outreach who provides advocacy for sexual assault survivors. For a recap of policy changes and updates, visit the Title IX section of the website.
In November 2014, Campus Safety introduced Knox Guardian, a new mobile safety app to help students feel safe both on and off campus. Knox Guardian is aimed at preventing dangerous situations by making it easy for users to check in with friends and family, Campus Safety, or others and, when necessary, connecting individuals directly to Campus Safety or other first responders. Learn more about the app.
A clear protocol for the reporting and investigation of bias-related incidents has been developed, and the Anonymous Report Form (formerly known as the Silent Witness form) was recently updated. The form’s visibility on the Knox website has also been addressed with the addition of clear links on My.Knox.Edu (under the Forms and Requests tab), in the Campus Safety section of the website, and in the A-Z index.
Haven, an interactive, engaging, and evidence-based online learning program. will launch in spring 2015. It is intended to provide students with a broad foundation of knowledge, awareness and skills to aid in understanding sexual assault. The key content of the program includes the importance of values, aspects of (un)healthy relationships, gender socialization, sexual assault, consent, bystander intervention, and on-going activism. The campus roll-out will include a short video promo featuring Knox students representing of variety of campus constituencies.
In coordination with the President, a faculty task force is examining the best practices in contemporary campus safety and will make recommendations for the College as it embarks on a search for a new campus safety director.
We know that many of our students may not come to Knox with prior knowledge of how to smoothly transition to life after college. To help our students find personal and professional success after graduation, we plan to significantly increase the opportunities both on campus and off campus for engagement with alumni. We have hired a full-time staff person in Alumni Relations to build engagement among alumni and parents with the Bastian Family Career Center, with special responsibilities to work with alumni of color to ensure that alumni coming to campus or offering off campus opportunities reflect the diversity of our student body.
The KAMP Program (Knox Alumni Mentoring Program) continues for its second year with 28 students (mentees) and 23 mentors for a total of 51 participants this year, up from 42 last last year. Of these matches, 14 are new students being mentored for the first time, and 13 are new alumni who are sharing their insights.
The Life Skills workshops continued this fall under the new umbrella of “KNext Steps.” A session on car care lead by Myron Miller, garage superintendent for the City of Galesburg, covered maintenance checks, such as engine oil, tire pressure, wiper blades, and jump starts. Winter term will feature a cooking demo and nutrition information, in collaboration with Bon Appetit, focusing on eating healthy on a budget and cost saving measures to balance your budget with nutrition.
Fifty Black alumni returned to campus for Homecoming 2016 at the invitation of the Black Alumni Network (BAN). BAN sponsored special events throughout the weekend, including Black alumni awards, discussions between alumni and current students, and networking opportunities.
A special task force of the Knox College Board of Trustees is reaching out to a number of alumni with a goal of increasing the diversity of the Board membership.
The first Cultural Leadership Consortium, a one-day leadership development workshop for the officers of the cultural affinity groups, was held Saturday, May 2. Seven alumni (six Black and one international) offered leadership advice to the 34 student attendees.
The first of what we hope to make a monthly series next academic year of Life Skills workshops for students featured Nathan White '99, who shared ideas with students on how to create a budget for life after Knox; 22 students attended. Nathan is a financial advisor from Peoria and is also interested in hiring Knox students.
Regular outreach has continued with Black alumni, establishing the Black Alumni Network (BAN). After meeting with trustees and President’s Council members after the February board meeting, members of the organizing group have participated in the cultural workshop (above) and continued discussions with Alumni Relations and President Amott. They are working in tandem with the membership of the Black Alumni Association of Knox College (BAAKC), which was established in 1978. A member of BAN, Esther Wilson-Crawford ’99, met with the Board of Trustees on June 6. In addition to talking with trustees about insights gained from students, she discussed BAN’s plans for alumni engagement through mentoring, student advocacy, fundraising, and a goal of 100 Black alumni in attendance at Homecoming 2015.
During the 2014-2015 academic year, 22 alumni and 22 students participated in the first year of KAMP (Knox Alumni Mentoring Program) and the mentoring opportunity will grow to more than 30 mentors (alumni) and mentees (students) next fall. Much of the advice offered by alumni to students has focused on careers, such as reviewing resumes, how to navigate the job search, and networking opportunities.
Outreach to alumni to come to campus to meet with students, both inside and outside the classroom, has begun with 14 alumni who have agreed to be available to come to campus to meet with students through the Bastian Family Career Center or through clubs and organizations that wish to incorporate a visit by an alumnus/a into one of their activities.
A special focus will be placed on the Chicago area with plans to engage alumni and parents there to mentor and provide job shadow and internship opportunities. Five new internships with Knox alumni have been established within the Career Center and two jobs made possible through alumni connections have been listed in the Career Center data base during the past month.
The first Cultural Leadership Consortium, sponsored jointly by the Center for Intercultural Life, Office of Student Development, and Alumni Relations will be held on May 2, 2015. The one-day workshop will bring together current and newly elected officers of the cultural groups that make up Knox’s five cultural centers (A.B.L.E. Center for Black Culture, Asian Cultural Center, Casa Latina, Human Rights Center, and International House) and past alumni leadership of these organizations. The goal will be for current and future student leaders to learn from past leadership about the background and purpose of the organizations, gain insights on how to be leaders, and how their leadership role can translate to life after Knox. This type of collaboration between current student leaders and alumni could translate to other clubs and organizations next year if successful this spring.
At the request of students, the College will host the first “life skills” workshop open to all students during spring term 2015. The first topic will be negotiating what’s important in finding your first job. Workshops for next academic year will focus on topics such as how to develop a budget, managing money, dressing for success, renting an apartment, buying a home or car, and how to read a W-2. They will be offered throughout the academic year and will feature alumni, parents, and Galesburg community members.
Twenty-five sophomores will be selected this spring to attend the first Fullbridge Program offered by Knox. The six-day program will be offered on the Knox campus the week before fall 2015 classes begin. The program is an intensive learning experience with a collaborative immersion curriculum focused on business, finance, marketing, and innovation. Fullbridge has found that students who take this program early in their college careers become more forward-looking, inspired to engage more deeply in their academic work, and are eager to prepare for life beyond college.
We all recognize that Knox is a historic and aging campus and that many of our buildings are not fully accessible to all students or faculty members. We are committed to creating a contemporary, sustainable, and accessible Knox campus, featuring the design, technology, and infrastructure for a 21st-century educational institution. At present 11 buildings on campus are fully ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. The campus has 20 ADA compliant restrooms, 34 first-floor accessible buildings (not necessarily ADA compliant), six ADA compliant elevators, and four non-ADA compliant elevators.
18 gender neutral bathrooms, including 10 ADA compliant bathrooms, were identified in academic and residential buildings across campus and marked with a new “All Gender Bathroom” signs in April 2015.
All new construction is by law ADA compliant, and any building undergoing extensive renovation is also brought up to ADA compliance.
An ADA compliant entrance to the east side of Seymour was added last year to allow access to the Founders Lab.
Plans are under way to select an architectural firm for a campus master planning process that will include accessibility as one of its top priorities. Students will be involved in the planning process. The newly renovated Alumni Hall is a model for accessibility and sustainability. Not only is it fully ADA compliant, it includes four gender neutral bathrooms, and will be certified to be LEED Silver or Gold. Plans for the new Whitcomb Art Building follow this same model, as will all plans for all new campus facilities.
Signs for gender neutral bathrooms were ordered in March 2015, and designated bathrooms will be clearly identified within campus buildings by the end of spring term.
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