Monday Moments with President Bergman: October 26, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on October 26th, 2020 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

As we continue to build out an action-oriented plan that promotes racial justice and inclusion at Gustavus, I have found myself reflecting on institutional culture and organizational change. The work of building a more inclusive, racially equitable culture is hard, and it requires a sustained, intentional, and long-term investment. The call to action to confront and end systemic racism embedded in U.S. society and its institutions (including in higher education) requires the full engagement of individuals, high levels of trust, and commitment to the common good. Inclusive organizations take tangible steps to counter the historical exclusion of underrepresented communities, root out systemic racism embedded in policies and decision-making practices, and reimagine how to fully support a diverse community.

At times, the task ahead of us may sound daunting. The good news is that the Gustavus community has demonstrated its capacity to do this kind of strategic work. Several years ago, we crafted the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan. The name choice was intentional, because we are inclined toward action. As a community, we developed a vision statement that is aligned with our mission to mobilize our community toward a better future. We promised ourselves that our plan will be a living document — not one that sits in a large three-ring binder, gathering dust on a shelf. As we implemented the plan, we involved many people and included a wide variety of stakeholder voices. We established goals, tangible action steps, and key performance indicators. We have continually monitored progress, and we have refreshed the plan as circumstances have changed.

Voilà! The Gustavus community has already demonstrated that it knows how to do transformative work that positively impacts the institution as a whole. That realization gives me confidence that we can tackle the work associated with Racial Justice and Inclusion with the same level of enthusiasm and determination.  A vision statement has been drafted:

Gustavus will be a just community where all of us feel a sense of belonging and benefit from an exceptional education.

As we begin to absorb this vision and unpack the words it contains, it will come alive. We will be able to envision big goals and we will understand how to best invest resources to generate meaningful results. We can do this.

And so, the journey begins. Pack your bag and let’s get going.

Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties!

With respect,

President Bergman


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