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Akilah Edgerton & John Speer

Diversity and Inclusion Educator John Speer and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Akilah Edgerton

This fall, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has expanded to include John Speer in the new role of Diversity and Inclusion Educator. In this role, Mr. Speer will function as a mentor, coach, and consultant for creating equitable and just team dynamics and culturally responsive curriculum in individual work with faculty and departments, and he will co-chair the newly formed Adult Equity Council with Akilah Edgerton, Berkshire's Dean of Diversity and Inclusion.
 
The Equity Council will work across five areas of school life: Academics, Student Life, Afternoon Programs, Hiring and Retention, and Admissions. We hope to mobilize and continuously develop a unit of informed, engaged, and committed diversity practitioners to support Diversity and Inclusion in all areas of school life.
 
With this council’s work, we hope the Berkshire community not only learns to recognize, accept, and celebrate our differences, but that we affirm our human potential by striving to create the most just and inclusive Berkshire for the adult and student community. Some of the goals of this Council’s work will be:

  •     Support and develop practices that further the D&I strategic plan

  •     Serve as Facilitators and Planners for Community Conversation “For Life” Series

  •     Serve as D&I coaches and practitioners within their departments for teaching practice and assessment models. Observing Classrooms, Forming Triads for Culturally Responsive Teaching

  •     Lead and plan in-house diversity training and professional development

  •     Lead and/or support adult and student affinity groups

  •     Recommend Inclusive Policy to Board and HOS

  •     Attend D&I Professional Development and share out with wider community

  •     Consult with BIPOC Alumni Organizations towards shared goals

  •     Form a Bias Response Team 


To reinforce these initiatives, there will be a Student Equity Council working in tandem with the council to help implement and inform these ideas and practices across campus. In addition, our office will be launching both student and adult affinity groups. The following groups under Student Life and in partnership with the Diversity & Inclusion Office, will allow students to commune with peers who share a social identity and create a space for brave, safe conversations, and action.

These groups are:
    •    BSU (Black Student Union)

    •    GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance)

    •    Jewish Club

    •    Muslim Club

    •    API (Asian/Pacific Islander)

    •    White Anti-Racist Allies


These groups will launch early October:
    •    Multi-racial Affinity Space

    •    Faculty of Color Affinity Space

    •    BIPOC/Students of Color Association 

    •    Female Affinity Space

    •    Latin X Affinity Space
 
We are so excited to begin the year by empowering and serving our community on this journey towards justice. Be on the lookout for more about our work as a community in DEI this year and beyond.