Belonging at Yale: April 2021 Update

March 31, 2021

A Message from Kimberly Goff-Crews, Secretary and Vice President for University Life

Together we are taking actions to enhance diversity, promote equity, and foster an environment in which all community members feel welcome, included, and respected. 

I am pleased to share updates on programs announced in the fall by President Salovey.  These new programs build on decades of advocacy and activity across the university, and reflect the recommendations made by the President’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

You can follow the overall progress of our shared work on the Belonging at Yale website

Yale & Slavery Research Project launched

  • The project, chaired by Professor David Blight, is examining Yale’s historical entanglements with slavery and connections to abolition.  Researchers include Yale faculty and graduate, professional, and undergraduate students, as well as New Haven community members.  A website will share research findings and “object lessons”: primary source photographs and documents, accompanied by short interpretive essays.

Shoring up financial aid for professional students; Yale College admissions for community college transfers, veterans, and older students

  • University fundraising efforts for financial aid are being focused on building endowment funding to support financial aid for students who will enter less-well-remunerated professional fields, such as public health, nursing, divinity, environment, and the arts.
  • Yale is participating in a pilot of the Transfer Scholars Network, developed by The Cooke Foundation and the Aspen Institute.  Launched in January 2021, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and other highly selective colleges and universities are joining to engage with talented students from lower-income backgrounds with strong academic credentials who have been nominated by nine community colleges across the country.  Other new Yale College recruitment efforts are aimed at veterans of the U.S. military and older students.

Supporting Accessibility

  • Student Accessibility Services and Yale College are piloting an accessibility Peer Liaison program in spring 2021.  Peer Liaisons are upper-level students who help connect first-years to support and programming.  This new program is designed to create connection and community, and to support students with disabilities in the transition into student life.

Supporting faculty development; amplifying research

  • Yale is now an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, which offers professional development, training, and mentoring programs.  Graduate students have access to these courses and are encouraged to check out the resources.  The university is also part of a new consortium of national research universities advancing diversity and inclusion in the American professoriate.
  • Yale News regularly features news stories on faculty research and scholarship, including recent important work on antiracism.  The Office of Public Affairs & Communications promotes this work to broad public audiences, including by matching Yale experts with national and international media outlets.  Recent Yale News articles have shared work on policing, the disproportionate costs of the pandemic for communities of color, and efforts to address racial justice and antiracism in education.

Alumni conference

  • Yale Alumni Association (YAA) hosted its biennial conference, “IMPACT 2: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” in mid-March, one of many alumni diversity, equity, and inclusion resources and activities.
  • YAA is organizing workshops for presidents of alumni regional clubs and associations to advance understanding of inclusion and belonging, and to support clubs and associations’ efforts to welcome and include alumni of all generations, affiliations, and backgrounds.

Coordinated planning across the university

  • All schools and administrative divisions, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the Athletics Department, and others are developing five-year plans to support and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.  The plans, due in September 2021, will build upon existing efforts and a self-assessment, reflect a school or division’s culture and context, and give specific attention to the experiences of staff, faculty, alumni, and students of color.

I am grateful for the efforts of faculty, staff, and students, as well as our alumni, in making Yale a place where each one of us can encounter and appraise a broad array of ideas, is treated with dignity and respect, and feels welcome to make our voice heard.