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Patton Announces New Position to Lead Inclusivity Training

By KYLE NAUGHTON

As part of the college’s efforts to improve “cultural competency and racial awareness” on campus, President Laurie L. Patton has announced the establishment of a new position, entitled director of diversity and inclusion education and training.

Patton announced the position in a college-wide email sent to students, faculty, and staff on Monday. This individual will be responsible for both evaluating Middlebury’s current level of inclusivity competency and creating educational training programs tailored to campus community members.

The new position follows an ongoing conversation regarding diversity and racial sensitivity at Middlebury, which took center stage during the town hall event held at Mead Chapel on Nov. 8. Specifically, the administration’s decision comes in light of requests made by students and faculty alike to incorporate educational facilitators within additional skill-building diversity programs.

The administration hopes this new faculty position will increase racial awareness and cultural sensitivity throughout the college. The new director is thus expected to highlight the complexities underlying micro-aggressions, racial bias, and de-escalation as a means to prevent instances of misunderstanding moving forward.

Establishing diversity expertise within the administration will also provide additional flexibility regarding the nature and frequency of educational sessions. Middlebury will be equipped to both bypass outside organizational dependence and alter its training programs over time to maximize their effectiveness. This system also affords more opportunities for community feedback to actively shape the direction of future diversity initiatives.

The administration intends to begin recruiting for the position during early 2018, following the formation of a search committee composed of students, staff and faculty members. Candidate qualifications will range from experience in racial and social justice education to an understanding of restorative communal practices.

Students are encouraged to provide input both during the hiring process and once the diversity education programs begin.

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