Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College

Institutional Commitments for Race and Justice Progress 

Initial goals

  1. Complete the hiring process for two key staff positions in DEI work and leadership at the College. 
  2. Create a new Board of Trustees committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 
  3. Commit to a College-wide reconciliation and engagement process. 
  4. Join the USC Race and Equity Center Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Alliance. 
  5. Engage with Skidmore’s Alumni of Color. 
Key Progress Efforts in Motion
Skidmore filled three key diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership positions at the College: inaugural director of the Wyckoff Center/deputy chief diversity officer; director of the Office of Student Diversity Programs; and associate director of equity and workplace diversity.  The director of the Wyckoff Center actively leads programs and events that support our entire community in DEI and racial justice work. The director of the OSDP has led student programs and projects all year. The associate director of equity and workplace diversity is a significant addition to the HR Department and supports diversity and equity efforts for all our employees. 
Skidmore created a new Board of Trustees committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  The committee meets regularly and reports to the full Board at each meeting. DEI work is occurring regularly at every Board meeting and is informing the work of the other Board committees, at the highest level of the College’s governing structure. Major programs include an all-board training in transgender understanding and support. 
The College shared and discussed widely the findings from the College’s administration of the 2019 HEDS Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey, to help us seek racial understanding and healing.  New educational processes and protocols will be proposed to gather and hear student concerns about classroom climate and practice, in an effort to help both faculty and students foster an ever-increasingly inclusive, supportive, and effective classroom learning experience for all. 
The National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) Survey was administered to students in spring 2021 and to staff in spring 2022.  Faculty will be surveyed in spring 2023. The survey will help Skidmore gain deeper insights into racial dynamics on campus and better equip our campus to respond to experiences involving race and bias.  
In fall 2020, President Conner initiated a month-long listening mission, meeting with over 20 students and student organizations representing Skidmore’s student diversity organizations.   These meetings resulted in a number of takeaways and action items, some of which are ongoing initiatives of their own. 
Skidmore Joined the USC Race and Equity Center: Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Alliance (LACRELA) as a founding participant.  President Conner is serving on the executive board, and Vice President Woodfork serves as our principal liaison to LACRELA. Best practices, sharing of concepts, trainings, and workshops have been available to a wide range of Skidmore staff, faculty, and students this year in a collaboration that will continue for years to come. 
President Conner hosted an Alumni-of-Color virtual forum on Nov. 19, 2020, with an audience of 103 alumni and Skidmore community members. President Conner, along with Trustee Linda Jackson-Chalmers ’73 and Alumni Board member Neil McKinnon ’97, provided an overview of the Racial Justice Initiative. Updates on the Wyckoff Center were provided. Winston Grady-Willis introduced the newly formed Black Studies Program, for which he serves as inaugural director. The hour-long session wrapped up with Trustee Diana Perry ’89 and Skidmore Fund National Chair Gloribel Cruz ’98 responding to questions and comments from alumni participants. 

Participants were encouraged to stay tuned for ongoing updates on the Racial Justice Initiative, to join the “Network News” Diversity and Inclusion mailing list, and to be in touch if they have additional thoughts or questions about any of the topics addressed in the forum.  

Outreach to our Alumni of Color is ongoing, to engage, learn from, and be informed by their experiences, perspectives, and guidance.