Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.03
Liaison Caroline Bruno
Submission Date May 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Williams College
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Shawna Patterson-Stephens
Davis Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

Williams College is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive community in which members of all backgrounds can live, learn and thrive. In compliance with state and federal law, Williams does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, or military service. https://diversity.williams.edu/faculty-recruitment/non-discrimination-statement/

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

Advisors are available to all members of the College community for consultation concerning incidents that could be a form of discrimination. All advisors have received training in sexual harassment and other discrimination advising. The College has designated members of the community who serve in the official capacity of discrimination and sexual harassment advisors. These advisors include health staff and counselors, assistant and associate deans, human resources officers, chaplains, and the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity and Title IX Coordinator, and the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity (who also serves as the affirmative action officer). Depending on the wishes of the person seeking help, the advisor’s role may include any of the following informational or supportive activities: listening to and discussing the incident with the individual; helping the person decide whether to try to resolve the situation on her or his own; helping the person understand the College’s discrimination and grievance procedures.

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

Williams has made significant strides in student body diversity since 2008. These efforts are buoyed by our strong financial aid budget, which has increased by 87 percent since our last decennial review. Admission also acts affirmatively for applicants from low-income backgrounds in our selection process. These efforts, alongside our recruiting work with national partners like Questbridge, are yielding results: Some forty-one percent of the students in the Class of 2021 are American students of color, and approximately 20 percent are first-generation. Our work to recruit and aid a diverse and highly-qualified student body is described in detail in Standard Five. Williams is paying special attention to the challenges of recruiting low-income high school students who may not be able to afford to visit campus to experience firsthand the educational opportunities that await them. We address this through programs like WoW (Windows on Williams), which provides all-expenses-paid, three-day campus visits to high-achieving high school students who couldn’t otherwise afford to visit Williams; and the Summer Science Program, in which admitted students from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences are competitively selected to take pre-enrollment summer classes in calculus, biology, chemistry, and writing and to work in labs alongside faculty. Participating students have reported a greater sense of belonging and well-being during their years at Williams, as well as closer relationships with faculty members.

Efforts to attract a diverse faculty are benefiting from the wave of faculty retirements discussed in Standard Six: we anticipate about 100 searches over a decade, replacing approximately 40 percent of the faculty. To balance the expected exodus, we have begun to hire large cohorts of new assistant professors—an unusual opportunity to consider faculty diversity within a relatively short period of time.

Since the 2007 self-study we have also strengthened our minority fellowship program (the Bolin program); added to curricular offerings and made hires in relevant areas, including Latina/o Studies, Africana Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and American Studies; and appointed both a vice president and an associate dean for institutional diversity. These and related efforts have enabled us to make considerable progress. Women now constitute 44 percent of all tenure-line faculty, up from 33 percent in 1994. The percentage is higher in the assistant (60 percent) and associate (46 percent) professor ranks, and we are working to achieve overall gender parity as these cohorts attain greater seniority. Williams has also made gains in faculty racial and ethnic diversity: faculty of color now make up 21 percent of all tenure-line faculty, up from 14 percent in 1996 and 19 percent in 2006. The college has adopted several further strategies to extend our progress on diversity recruiting. For example, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity now works closely with the Dean of the Faculty at every step of the faculty search process, from shaping the job description to advertising to interviewing to extending the offer. The OIDE also tracks applicant demographics at all stages so hiring units can be more reflective about their decisions.

In recent years, we have begun providing formal training for search committee representatives. Beginning in 2014–15, we engaged an external consulting firm that advises academic departments on work related to diversity, equity, and implicit bias, via four intensive workshops each year, each coinciding with a successive phase of the recruitment process.
We have also upgraded our Bolin program from a one-year to a two-year fellowship for new faculty. This change has been very successful in enabling fellows to complete their
dissertations, gain teaching experience, and take advantage of professional development opportunities before going on the academic job market.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity has launched a staff diversity initiative. This means that someone from OIDE meets with each hiring manager to talk about recruiting strategies and discuss anticipated challenges to a diverse applicant pool. Then the job description is vetted by the OIDE and diversity language is sought out in cover letters for all positions. All staff hiring committees participate in an implicit bias training before reading applications that explains what implicit bias is and how we can minimize its role. The OIDE looks at applicant pool and short list to identify whether some form of bias seems to have impacted candidates at that point in order to build in accountability and propose a change in strategies. Last, the OIDE consults on how the campus visit can be set up in a way that works best for diverse populations.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

For faculty there is a mentoring program called First3. First3, which has evolved continuously over the years, is designed to offer pedagogical insight and professional support to all faculty and fellows in their first three years at Williams. Its principal goals are to make available a forum for instructors to discuss pedagogy, scholarly work, and professional development with more seasoned colleagues as well as one another, and to foster opportunities for faculty to establish valuable mentoring and support networks through which to continue to grow as members of the Williams academic community.

The Trans* Inclusion Committee (TIC), established under the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for trans* and gender-variant members of the Williams community. The TIC determines best practices and makes institutional recommendations.

For staff, there is a peer support group called Women of Color Network and there are staff of color lunches hosted by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.

The Davis Center continues to support students and the Williams College community, focusing on the unique problems that racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, those of LGBTQ identities, and international students face as members of the Williams community.  Through collaborative efforts with faculty, staff and students the Center bolsters critical thinking, facilitates meaningful dialogue and precipitates multilateral exchange throughout the Williams College community. The result is empowerment—fundamental to leadership and essential to social change.

The Davis Center works closely with student groups across campus. Included in those groups is the Minority Coalition, a group of student organizations united under the leadership of the MinCo Steering Board. The Davis Center provides advising and logistical support for these groups.

The Minority Coalition (MinCo) provides a more unified voice against prejudice and discrimination against minority students by serving as a mechanism for minority groups to come together in organizational, social, academic and political spheres. MinCo facilitates cooperation and communication amongst its member organizations, the campus and the Williamstown community and is an active voice in constructing a stronger community more aware of minority concerns.

Affinity groups include the Chinese-American Student Organization, Koreans of Williams, South Asian Students Association, Black Student Union, International Club, Muslim Student Union, Queer Student Union,Vista (Latinos at Williams), Williams College Jewish Association, and the Women's Center.

The Summer Humanities and Social Sciences program (SHSS) is a 5-week program for talented incoming first year students with a passion for the humanities or social sciences who are from underrepresented minority groups and/or who are first-generation college students. The program has two main goals: First, it provides its students with a preview of the Williams experience and familiarizes them with some of the extraordinary academic opportunities the college offers. Second, we hope that the glimpse of research and teaching afforded by our faculty and Teaching Assistants will inspire some of our students to consider a career in one of the academic fields of the humanities and social sciences.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

The Office of Special Academic Programs (OSAP) administers the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF), the Allison Davis Research Fellowship (ADRF), and the Summer Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) programs. Additionally, we work with the Summer Science Program, the C3 Undergraduate Fellowship, and other diversity initiatives at Williams or available to Williams students. OSAP is part of the Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity. Together, this unit seeks to both transfer the academy and strengthen the College’s commitment to inclusion by ensuring that diversity initiatives are advanced and celebrated. Our mission is to make sure all students thrive academically at Williams and beyond through opportunities and programs that work to eradicate racial and socio-economic disparities in higher education.The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) and the Allison Davis Research Fellowship (ADRF) work to increase racial and socio-economic diversity in higher education by preparing students from underrepresented groups for academic careers.

Both the MMUF and the ADRF fellowships provide opportunities for faculty-mentored research, preparation for graduate school, and individualized support from the Office of Special Academic Programs.

Additionally, the art museum on campus as well as the library are working on pipeline programs helping underrepresented students in the arts and library sciences.

Williams is committed to more than just bringing a diverse student body: we have a compelling interest in helping them succeed once here. Since the last self-study, we have expanded the range of related initiatives to include a two-and-a-half-day program for first-generation students and families in advance of general orientation. Participants are often matched with faculty advisers who were themselves first-generation students.

We have also begun offering tailored programs to help first-generation sophomores and
juniors select their majors and consider possible career paths. Additional programs in senior
year assist those applying to graduate school (including with the costs of standardized tests)
or applying for jobs (including help with travel expenses and interview attire). First-generation students are also provided myriad campus roles—many of them paid—to ensure high campus engagement and leadership opportunities. An associate dean, Rosanna Reyes, focuses much of her work on first-generation students.

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.