The Mitchell Hamline Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee embraces all parts of the Mitchell Hamline community—from prospective students to alumni, faculty, staff, and other constituents. The committee functions as an advisory body to the president and dean, executive leadership team, and faculty. The committee’s goal is to promote an inclusive law school culture, particularly with respect to groups that are historically underrepresented in the legal profession. The committee will provide a forum for learning and sharing innovative programs and best practices that enhance diversity and inclusion to create a sense of belonging.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion steering subcommittees
The steering committee has divided its work into subcommittees, and these groups welcome participation from staff and faculty. If you are interested in joining a subcommittee, please email the chair and you will be added.
Chair: Rick Petry, Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Members: Mark Gordon, Sharon Sandeen, Angelique EagleWoman, Tom Cobb, Maggie Eilertson
Purpose: To provide education, support, and resources to help create and sustain an inclusive classroom experience for all students.
Our work: The subcommittee has three main initiatives. We sponsor a lecture series for faculty and staff on aspects of creating an inclusive classroom. We sponsor a discussion forum where faculty and others come together to support each other and share ideas, resources, and experiences. We are creating a repository for teaching materials and resources on inclusive teaching.
We have also worked on developing a policy to avoid using course materials or exercises that include racial slurs, or to properly contextualize those materials and provide appropriate warnings when they arise unavoidably. We hope to connect a policy of this type to the faculty’s commitment to being an antiracist law school.
Staff and faculty climate
Chairs: Rick Petry, Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Professor Carolyn Grose
Members: Brittany Caffey, Paula Merth, Jen Iverson, Allison Burke, Husniyah Dent Bradley, Lynn LeMoine, Laura Henry, Kimberly Holmes, Jon Vaughan-Fier
Purpose: To create a welcoming, highly productive, and caring workplace for all members of the staff and faculty.
Our work: The group has been working through the Dare To Lead/Daring Classrooms program created by Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston. As educators and leaders, we must be guardians of spaces that allow students and employees to breathe, be curious, and explore the world and be who they are without suffocation. People deserve to have at least one place where they can rumble with vulnerability and their hearts can exhale. The research shows we should never underestimate the benefit to a student or employee of having a place to belong—even one—where they can take off their armor. Having this space can, and often does, change the trajectory of their life. The Dare To Lead/Daring Classrooms program is designed to teach people how to create such spaces for students and those who serve them.
We have created a safe space where the members of our committee feel welcome, have bonded, can be vulnerable, and are able to have open and honest conversations. We want to bring the Dare To Lead/Daring Classrooms program and its teachings to a larger group of people. In conjunction with this, we want to implement within our campus community Brown’s concept of engaged feedback, which is about providing constructive, honest, and engaging feedback that helps move people and organizations forward rather than pushing people down in unproductive ways. We have now started a monthly DEI Lunch and Learn for employees. We have also embarked upon the Dare To Lead Manger’s Training Program.
Chairs: Shammah Bermudez, Assistant Director of Disability and Student Services, and student Martha Johnson
Members: Brittany Caffey, Jon Vaughan-Fier, Debbie Shapiro, Lynn LeMoine, Susan Galzone, Dare Sims, Nicole Knight Schrupp.
Purpose: To provide a space for ongoing communication between students and faculty, staff, and administration. We also seek to understand the student culture, identify and respond to student needs and barriers, and facilitate conversations related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Our work: Developing DEI awareness resources and exploring ways to support students of color and first-generation students. THe Office of DEI has created six indivual sessions on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion that fulfill the required diversity hours for students. The Office of DE&I has worked hand in hand with the Office of Student Affairs to revamp support processes to co-sponsor student led events. We have also hosted several listening session and panel disccusions to suport students throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic and following the murder of Geroge Floyd and the trail of Derick Chauvin.
Chair: Doug Belden, Director of Marketing and Communications, Michael Freer, Director of Human Resources
Members: Laura Henry, Brittany Caffey, Shammah Bermudez
Purpose: To inform the Mitchell Hamline community about the broad range of activities and programs that are part of DEI efforts, and to ensure community members feel welcome to participate and understand how they can become involved.
Our work: In 2020, the group added information to the DEI website and communicated by email with the community about DEI events, leadership, and upcoming opportunities to become involved. We plan to continue our website updating and to seek out opportunities to speak to staff and faculty about our personal experiences with the DEI process and answer questions. The committe has worked intentionally with Marketing to increase the level of awaareness of DE&I on the website, within marketing materials and throughout our social media channels.
Human resources: Hiring and best practices
Chair: Assistant Professor Hetal Dalal and Marquise Boyd, HR Generalist
Members: Lynette Fraction, Lisa Heidenreich
Purpose: To help the school adopt and implement HR best practices
Our work: Focusing on recruitment, hiring of staff and faculty, retention, staff training, review processes, and compensation. We work in partnership with the HR department and senior leadership, adopting an attitude of continuous improvement. We act with urgency because there are real people whose lives are impacted by these issues, and at the same time we recognize that moving the institution as a whole requires deliberation and time. The group collaberated with HR and the Office of DEI to revamp employee evaluations to include DE&I metrics and personal goal setting to also include DE&I goals. The group also introduced a new DE&I statement ot be included in all staff job descriptions.
Activities and events
Chairs: Deanna Burns, Assistant Director of IP Institute and Patent Studies, and Husniyah Dent Bradley, Assistant Director, Career and Professional Development
Members: Cierra Buckner, Allison Burke
Purpose: Facilitating activities and events that provide spaces for all of us to cultivate joy and understanding. We strive to create a sense of belonging by encouraging respect, openness, and awareness, celebrating and valuing diversity and inclusion in the programs and events we plan for faculty and staff.
Our work: Planning and hosting several events and activities. The list of things that have happened or are upcoming includes:
- Webinar with Professor Ibram X. Kendi, “How to be An Anti-Racist Law School,” 2/15/21, with follow-up discussion groups
- Cooking demonstration and wellness event in collaboration with wellness committee, 4/1/21
- Lecture: “Civil Liberties in the Biden Era: National and Local Priorities,” 4/23/21
- George Floyd memorial vigil, 5/25/21
- Diversity reception for students, 6/4/21
- Juneteenth celebration and events – June 2021
- Pride Parade and Festival – July 2021
- Yoga relaxation event – July 2021
- Rondo Days participation – July 2021
- Rondo Days exhibit at Mitchell Hamline – July 2021
- Selby Avenue Jazz Festival participation – September 2021
- Cultivating Joy event on campus/virtual – September 2020 – Present
- Speaker series – October 2021
- Annual employee recognition event (with length of service and awards) – November 2021
- Treats and snacks during finals week – November 2021
- DEI Faculty and Staff Campus Event – October 2021
- DEI Faculty and Staff Holiday Celebration – December 2021
Recruitment and Admissions
Chair: Professor Carolyn Grose
Members: Angelique EagleWoman, Jill Bryant, Tom Weber, Laura Brooks, Sharon Van Leer, Deanna Burns, Meghan Donnely, Ann Buesegens, Garrett Mulrooney, Dena Sonbol, Kelly Van Ruden
Purpose: Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the recruiting and admissions process.
Our work: The subcommittee implemented a new process to review applications and make admissions recommendations to the faculty admissions committee. We have also provided advice and input to the marketing and admissions teams to ensure that diverse perspectives are included. This has led to new advertising and recruiting initiatives.
Chair: Allison Burke, Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Our work: The group selected a book for book club, and alumni board president Alex Beeby led the discussion. We are excited about more opportunities to engage with the Mitchell Hamline community around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.