Monday Moments with President Bergman: March 8, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on March 8th, 2021 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Last Friday, we announced that Gustavus has launched a search to hire its inaugural Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. This new leader will have institution-wide responsibilities that are centered on equity, inclusion, and racial justice, will be a member of the Cabinet, and will report to me. This represents another positive step for the College in our journey toward achieving the vision put forward by the President’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (PCDEI) in fall 2020: Gustavus will be a just community where all of us feel a sense of belonging and benefit from an exceptional education.

The search committee has been appointed and has broad representation from across the Gustavus community. I am grateful to all the members of the search committee as we undertake this important search. The involvement and support of our entire community will be important in this search process, and we will provide opportunities for everyone to meet candidates later this spring.

In preparation for the search, we have designed a prospectus that outlines the opportunities, challenges, and expectations of the new position. I included a short statement in the prospectus that encapsulates my thinking and commitment to advancing equity and inclusion at Gustavus. I would like to share that message with you here:

I have three fundamental beliefs related to the work of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), addressing injustices, and building a sense of belonging in organizations: (1) This work and the cultural changes associated with meaningful progress require an ongoing commitment over years, and perhaps decades—it is more like a marathon than a sprint. (2) Senior leaders, including the president, must be active and engaged champions of DEI initiatives. (3) A bias for action is essential to overcoming the inertia that is inherent in complex organizations.

Over the last five years, and particularly since the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, Gustavus Adolphus College has been focused on a strategic, institution-wide commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice. The Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, adopted in 2016, is mission-driven, student-centered, and recognizes DEI as an institutional priority. In recent months, our community has experienced a renewed commitment to advance racial justice and inclusion, an increased sense of urgency for transformational change, and a conviction that now is the time to take bold and sustained action steps toward our DEI goals.

I am pleased with our progress, and, at the same time, I recognize that much work lies ahead of us. I look forward to filling this important, new leadership position, and I am committed to working closely with this individual to enhance and ensure the ongoing success of Gustavus Adolphus College.

The long-term success of this new senior leader at Gustavus will be dependent on how well we all “get ready” for their arrival on our campus. One of the steps you can take now is to participate in the educational opportunities that the PCDEI has rolled out for students, faculty, and staff. I would also encourage you to check out the variety of resources listed on the PCDEI website:

Gusties, this is an exciting time and there is much work to be done as we continue to advance the cause of racial justice and inclusion. Let’s lean in, commit to learning and understanding, and show the world how we live out the Gustavus core value of justice.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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