Inclusive Excellence: Our Commitment and Call to Action

Monday, June 8, 2020

Subject: Our Commitment and a Call to Action

Dear Wentworth Community members:

We feel profound anger and anguish in the murder of George Floyd. It is the most recent incident in what has been a tragic pattern of systemic racism. This sad history dates back to the forebears of a nation that benefited from slavery, followed by Jim Crow laws and other government and institutionally-sanctioned racism against Black people. The past is present in cities across the nation, including our home, Boston, in the form of discrimination and disparities in education, employment, health, housing, wealth, and the everyday experience of Black communities.

We seek to turn our anger and anguish to hope and action for meaningful change. Wentworth, from its founding, has been committed to educational access and providing pathways to new economic and employment opportunities. We are proud of what we have accomplished in these areas, but our work is not done. We must do more. The protests across the nation and the calls for justice remind us of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. evoking of the phrase “the fierce urgency of now” delivered in the I Have a Dream speech as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. Dr. King, shortly before his assassination, challenged the nation to see that “this is a time for vigorous and positive action.” The protest marches across the nation and emerging social movements give us renewed hope, more than a half a century after the passage of landmark legislations on civil rights, voting, and housing, that we will move closer to achieving the dream, but there remains hard work and serious commitment ahead for all of us.

At the forefront of our emerging strategic plan is Inclusive Excellence. As a community of innovators, designers, builders, makers, problem-solvers, change-agents, and entrepreneurs, this is the moment where we must lead. The immediacy of the issues that we as a higher education institution can address is multifaceted, and we challenge everyone in the community to act. This link connects you to the section of our emerging strategic plan that is dedicated to our pursuit of inclusive excellence. This work is already underway and seeks to build organizational structures that support inclusive excellence, integrate inclusive practices, and improve access and demographic representation.

We will seek your input on what we can do together, and we challenge you to act individually. This is an opportunity for learning in every sense of the word. It is also an opportunity for becoming cognizant of the implicit biases that we all have. The time for action is now. These actions must be sustained because we have seen them stall out too often in our lifetimes. In messages to follow this week, we will share additional commitments to action that we will take as a University. In addition, we will be sharing ideas for how each of us, as individual members of our university community, can participate in ways that are connected to meaningful change.     

We must fully commit to, and follow through on, our individual and collective efforts to write the next chapter of Wentworth’s history and a brighter future for our University, the City of Boston, the nation, and the world.

Respectfully yours,

Gregory B. Janey, CCM, ‘04, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Mark A. Thompson, Ph.D., President
Ian Lapp, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Erik Cote, Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Policy
Michelle Davis, Chief Marketing Officer
Rebecca Eckstein, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management
David Fraboni, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Amy M. Intille, Vice President for Executive Affairs
Mary Ellen R. Keeney, Interim Vice President for Human Resources
Lynn McCormick, General Counsel
Courtney L. McKenna, Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Policy
Vish Paradkar, CIO and Vice President for Technology Services
Robert L. Totino, CFO and Vice President for Finance
David Wahlstrom, Vice President for Business
Annamaria Wenner, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs