Emory & Henry ushers in new academic year with focus on inclusion

Posted by Leah Prater
As some students return to the campus of Emory & Henry College and most start their studies remotely due to the global pandemic, concerns for social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion remain at the forefront of dialogue on campus as well as in the country.

A comprehensive approach to new initiatives and conversation is taking shape with students and employees.

During the summer months, the office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) hosted well-attended weekly Zoom meetings for employees, students, alumni and community members. The meetings featured local and national guests who shared their insights on making change through activism, community engagement and social justice work. Candid and thoughtful conversations revealed the many different perspectives and beliefs that Americans across generations are attempting to understand and put into context as we move forward.

 “These sessions were well received and extremely informative,” said John Holloway, Vice President for DEI at Emory & Henry. “Some nights we talked for two hours so all voices and opinions could be shared and honored. We don’t all come from the same frame of reference and that’s OK. It’s important to learn, grow and become compassionate and empathic to everyone’s situation and to build our awareness.”

During welcome back activities held August 13-14, the newly appointed Interim Associate Chaplain and Director of the Dialogue and Inclusion Center, the Rev. Sharon Bowers, delivered a heartfelt and passionate message to embrace this time of change. She said, “The rhythm and flow of cycles of change begin with awareness.  It has been said that awareness is the first step for change. We must become aware of the plain and simple fact that staying the way we were and are is not a viable option. Everything in life has a cycle. And along with it, there is the opportunity for radical transformation. DEI is our vehicle for radical transformation. We can no longer remain lodged in the past, resting upon our perceived laurels.” 

In addition, a committee of faculty members specifically formed to look into DEI leadership in the classroom shared a resolution embracing social justice and inclusion in the classroom that was unanimously approved and adopted by their peers.

“With this vote the faculty promises to revisit all areas of instruction, from curriculum to classroom strategies, to create a welcoming environment for all students and employees,” noted Dr. Shelley Koch, professor of sociology. “Not only do we have a COVID-19 crisis in our country, we have a social crisis.  We need to think about our responsibility as a faculty at this moment. This is really important to me because it signals to my students – present, past, future – that I am committed to making my classroom and this institution more inclusive and I am trying to be a better teacher and person.”

Through its strategic planning efforts, the College has 15 new DEI strategies that are being developed and implemented through the creation of anAdvisory Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This group consists of faculty, staff, students, and a trustee member.

“This is a time to integrate all voices,” said Holloway. “We are in a critical moment to make change, not only on our campus, but also in our attempts to encourage inclusivity in our region, country and world. Our students will be the ones leading change through their educated voices and informed minds and hearts. We are at the epicenter of change.”

  • Emory & Henry campus
We are in a critical moment to make change, not only on our campus, but also in our attempts to encourage inclusivity in our region, country and world. Our students will be the ones leading change through their educated voices and informed minds and hearts. We are at the epicenter of change.
- John Holloway, Vice President for DEI

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg" alt="Student Safa Farhoumand helps dedicate the Interfaith Prayer Room." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer">Emory & Henry College Opens Interfaith Prayer Room</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Equipped with chairs, tables, prayer rugs and religious texts, a room in the lower-level of Memorial Chapel on the Emory & Henry College campus is now available for students of all faiths to have a quiet place to pray and meditate.</p><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/313-eamphs-wehc-launches-spring-fund-drive"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg" alt="Student Sam Mungai hosts a weekly call-in music request radio show on WEHC 90.7FM." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/313-eamphs-wehc-launches-spring-fund-drive">E&H’s WEHC Launches Spring Fund Drive</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> WEHC 90.7, Emory & Henry College’s “College and Community Station,” has launched it spring fund drive. Between now and March 9 the station is planning to raise a good share of its annual fundraising goal. <a href="/live/news/313-eamphs-wehc-launches-spring-fund-drive" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg" alt="Students at the School of Health Sciences campus in Marion, Va. Applications are now being accept..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2137" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program">Emory & Henry Announces New RN to BSN Program</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Due to an ever-demanding increased need for nurses in the region, Emory & Henry College has established its first-ever RN to BSN program and is now enrolling students to start classes this fall. <a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/735-koch-uncovers-the-inequalities-of-food"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.jpg" alt="Shelley Koch" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/38/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,492,2136,2630/6049_Shelley_Koch-2.rev.1552061534.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2136" data-max-h="2138" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/735-koch-uncovers-the-inequalities-of-food">Koch Uncovers the Inequalities of Food</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Dr. Shelley Koch has released her third book, <em>Gender and Food: A Critical Look at the Food System</em>. The book looks at different aspects of food and how it is affected by gender inequalities. <a href="/live/news/735-koch-uncovers-the-inequalities-of-food" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>