January NODA Committee Highlight
Thursday, January 23, 2020
The work of orientation, transition, and retention professionals is often centered on understanding and supporting a wide range of students, family members, and campus partners which necessitates a strong and lasting commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable experience on our campuses and within NODA. As an association, NODA has been dedicated to ensuring its members have opportunities to develop, be heard, and to bring forth concerns.
After an extensive review of the needs of NODA’s membership, in the spring of 2016 the NODA Board of Directors approved the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion led by Dr. Kathryn Kay Coquemont. This committee was given three charges: examine the strengths and challenges of the association, develop recommendations to address the concerns of membership, and provide guidance for the future of the ad hoc committee. During their time together, the committee utilized the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks (GBIB) created by the Diversity Collegium and peer associations to determine the opportunities and potential priorities that existed for NODA to become an association rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. From that group, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee emerged as a standing committee ready to look toward the years ahead.
As the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) committee has worked together over the past couple years, there have been several accomplishments the committee is proud of completing. Under the chairmanship of Marc Skjervem and LeAnne Wiles, the D&I committee was instrumental in writing and advocating for the NODA Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Commitment statement that was accepted in 2018. This hallmark statement was a way for the association to affirm the importance of equity, inclusion and social justice in the work we do as higher education professionals and within the association itself. Another effort the D&I committee supported was advocating for and contributing ideas toward the brand new Equity and Inclusion Officer position on the NODA executive officer team. Within the coming weeks, NODA will have elected its first person to this position. The scope of the role will help guide the strategic direction of equity and inclusion work within the association while also supporting the D&I Committee in moving forward its future educational initiatives.
The D&I Committee understands that there is still much work to be done within the association. To this end, the committee hosted listening sessions during the 2018 and 2019 NODA Annual Conferences. These listening sessions were facilitated by members of the D&I Committee and have allowed committee members a brief opportunity to provide updates on the work of the committee before opening the floor to guided discussion questions from NODA members in attendance. NODA members have provided valuable insights and lived experiences related to the work of D&I and where the committee’s efforts should be focused within NODA.
D&I Committee members have also made an effort to liaise with all other NODA committees by checking in with committee co-chairs and offering space for conversation on how to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion topics within the work of each committee. Hopefully by maintaining these connections, the association as a whole will operate with a social justice lens in all of the work that we do.
Moving into the year, the committee will work alongside the new Equity and Inclusion officer to develop new initiatives and program frameworks dedicated to engaging members and students year-round and during regional conferences. The committee has also discussed opportunities to create accessible educational opportunities for NODA members through webinars, group chats, enhanced utilization of NODA Connect, and additional affinity opportunities during the annual conferences.
The D&I Committee currently meets once each month and invites members to submit continuous feedback to guide the work centered around the NODA Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Commitment statement.