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Swarthmore Expands Curricular Support for Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion

Red and orange trees on Parrish Beach

In a recent message to the campus community, President Valerie Smith announced several College commitments to racial justice that have been made possible by generosity of members of the broader community:

  • A tenure-track faculty position for an environmental humanist with a focus on Native American and Indigenous studies was approved by the Council on Educational Policy (CEP) earlier this year, and a search to fill it is underway. This is the first tenure line faculty position fully dedicated to Environmental Studies. The position was made possible through generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which we secured with the help of Director of Institutional Relations David Foreman.
  • Mellon funding also supports, in part, the creation of a second faculty line — the first tenure-track position fully dedicated to the Black Studies Program. The position was requested by the program in 2018 and approved by CEP in spring 2019.
  • In addition to the Mellon Foundation funding, the faculty line in Black Studies was made possible by two generous gifts, including one from Winston Zee P’07 and Peggy Chan P’07, who have established the College’s first endowed chair in Black Studies. Known as  the Peggy Chan Chair in Black Studies it “will support a Black Studies faculty member whose work fosters innovation and interdisciplinarity.”
  • Faculty who teach courses in Asian American Studies at Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr have come together to propose a new Tri-College program in Asian American Studies. This proposal, which has already been endorsed by the Curriculum Committee, brings together and coordinates courses into a coherent program of study across all three campuses.

The announcement comes after President Smith revealed the eight new courses focused on racial justice, inclusion, and equity that were made possible by the President’s Fund for Racial Justice.

"My sincere thanks to all of those who contributed their time and energy to these important endeavors that emphasize the importance of placing the experience of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as central queries for interrogation and study in our curriculum," writes Smith. "It serves as a testament to our shared commitment to creating a more just and inclusive community."

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