Leadership Updates

Leadership Updates

At John Jay College, an institution focused on exploring justice in all its many dimensions, we aim to create an atmosphere where every member of our community feels informed, respected, and empowered. To increase campus awareness of our leadership’s goals and concerns, we are sharing an overview of topics presented and discussed at the regular meetings of the Leadership Council, a group of leaders and informal advisors to the President from departments and offices across campus.

September and October 2019: Diversity Training
The Point Made Learning (PML) group facilitated sessions for a multi-part diversity training program for the Council that is focused on understanding the importance of equity and inclusion in our daily interactions with students and colleagues. PML’s approach is to educate people through “storytelling, interactive learning, and practical experience with uncomfortable dialogue.”

The fiof the training unfolded in the format of a board game called The American Dream, which is “designed to get players physically, intellectually and emotionally engaged in current issues of inclusion and equity.” This interactive game allowed each participant to play a character whose identity was different from their own. Through a series of situations outlined on “chance cards,” during which they face microaggressions and discrimination, they either advance or fall back in terms of success.

The goal of the game was to help participants become aware of people’s varying experiences, based on race, gender, class, religion, and other factors. The game also helped reveal an individual’s existing blind spots and implicit biases that shape how the participant interacted with others.

PML’s Barb Lee and Lenny Walker led the participants through the series of role-playing experiences to increase awareness and improve understanding of people with identities different than their own. Some of the participants expressed how they had been surprised by some of the experiences, and many felt that the training program gave them a better understanding of societal norms and cultural perspectives.

The second part of the training focused on what happens when someone has misspoken or said something problematic. PML’s workshop “Was It Something I Said?” explored feelings of hurt when someone says something offensive. The goal was to give participants practical tools they can use to make difficult conversations easier, as well as techniques that can be applied to every relationship. It was a difficult discussion for the participants and it became evident that a further session would be needed.

Previous Updates

August 2019: Climate Review

The main focus for the August 2019 Leadership Council meeting was to review the draft recommendations from external experts at Working IDEAL. The recommendations will be part of the Climate Review report from Working IDEAL that will be released this fall, and which was developed over the spring semester.  The Report aims to make assessments of what they understand to be our challenges, and give us recommendations for how John Jay can seize opportunities to further strengthen our climate.

 There were seven major themes of the recommendations:

  • Shared Values and Belonging
  • Respectful Learning and Working Environments
  • Expanding and Coordinating Resources for Reporting & Response
  • Communication and Transparency
  • Leadership Development
  • Strategic Capacity and Support
  • Training and Other Resources for Holistic Prevention.

 

The John Jay community will need to have a lot of discussion about which of these recommendations resonate and which of the things are doable in this year, in three years, in five years.

President Mason introduced Barb Lee and Lenny Walker from Point Made Learning (PML), a group that will be facilitating diversity training for the Council this fall.  In line with the recommendations in the Climate Review Report, PML will also be assisting the College on a pro bono basis to create a common values statement and implementation approach.

“We’re not going to recreate the wheel,” said President Mason. “We already have a strong sense of what our values are. We just need to figure out how to articulate them in a way that’s crystallized, so that we can talk from a common language.”