Office of the Provost

April 16, 2021

 

Dear Georgetown University Main Campus Faculty, Staff and Students,

 

We write regarding President DeGioia’s letter on April 16 addressing the results of the recent Campus Cultural Climate Survey conducted at the University. 

 

As we aspire to create a sense of belonging within the Georgetown community that is not pervasive in the larger U.S. society, these findings are deeply disappointing. 

 

Given Georgetown’s attempt to honestly face its own legacy of the enslavement of people of African descent in the 19th century and its vestiges, the survey results teach us how much more remains to be done among its current community in the 21st century.

 

The survey shows we have not achieved equality of belonging across groups over the past few years, and demonstrates the need for further action fostering inclusion across campus. As a start, we have committed to actions designed to improve the cultural climate. For example, we have launched the Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows, which will improve Georgetown’s competitive position to attract faculty from a wide range of backgrounds who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We will increase our support of Master’s student funding for disadvantaged students by 17.5 million dollars over five years, and have doubled Healy Fellowships for Ph.D. students. We are building the Provost’s Emerging Scholars Program, a mentoring program for undergraduate students from marginalized backgrounds, recruiting them into careers in research and academia. We recently established a grant process supporting academic departments’ work to make curricular changes resulting in more inclusive pedagogy, and we have reviewed and updated policies which may have unintentionally created inequities. We are re-energizing the diversity requirement for undergraduate students. 

 

Multiple schools on the Main Campus are building individual efforts to respond to the survey results with actions to create a more inclusive environment. The Deans will reach out in due course to engage in dialogue on the hard work needed to address the challenges raised.

 

Thank you to all members of our community as we move forward together. Thank you to our students for your participation and honesty in taking part in this survey. We plan to make the cultural climate survey results a focus of discussions in faculty, staff, and student advisory groups, in order to identify additional ways forward.

 

We value this work of creating equity across students’ experiences and of improving the diversity of our faculty because we firmly believe we will be a stronger, better university as a result of these efforts. 

 

Cultures are built by people sharing the same environment. Ideas from all of us are to be valued as we attempt to build a more inclusive culture.

 

Sincerely,

 

Robert M. Groves, Provost

Paul Almeida, Dean of the McDonough School of Business

Maria Cancian, Dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy

Soyica Colbert, Interim Dean of Georgetown College

Joel Hellman, Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

Kelly Otter, Dean of the School of Continuing Studies

Alexander Sens, Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences