In the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, we want to foreground two statements: one from the Faculty and one from the Campus Diversity Council. These statements highlight the immediate need to reform our curriculum, policies and practices to become an anti-racist institution with a specific focus on anti-Black racism.
Commitment to Anti-Racist Action from the Faculty
While America and other parts of the world have demonstrated time and time again that Black lives are dispensable, the TCNJ community has done little to combat this viewpoint by demonstrating that Black faculty, staff, and students matter. We must act with urgency to address the crisis of anti-Black racism in our world and on our campus. The truth of the matter is that the college does little to nurture its Black members. Although TCNJ often speaks of “diversity and inclusion,” this initiative has been co-opted to make white allies feel comfortable while doing little to recognize and interrogate the ways in which Black people feel antagonized on campus. Diversity and inclusion initiatives must acknowledge how academia both benefits from and is complicit in white supremacy, the problematic history of predominantly white institutions (PWIs), and include a specific anti-racism agenda that extends beyond theory towards ongoing praxis. Read More.
Black Lives Matter Call to Action prepared by the Campus Diversity Council (CDC)
The current political climate has presented a defining moment for The College of New Jersey. While we have been confined in our homes due to COVID-19, we have used this time to deeply reflect not only about our physical proximity to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also about the pandemic of racist behavior of some police officers towards African Americans. The senseless deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, just to name a few, will forever be etched in our national collective consciences. In a united chorus, we heard people of all backgrounds and nationalities say that BLACK LIVES MATTER. Read More.
The HSS Anti-Black Racism Task Force was formed in the Summer of 2020 at the request of Dean Jane Wong.
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) at TCNJ stands in solidarity with the College’s goal to become an anti-racist institution where Black Lives Matter. Toward this overarching goal, the Dean of HSS formed the HSS Anti-Racism Task Force, comprised of faculty and staff from each of the School’s departments. The Task Force is charged with examining the HSS curriculum, the accessibility and success of students of color in our Signature Experiences, and the experience of faculty and students of color in HSS toward the goal of advocating for actions that would create and further an inclusive HSS community that is free of bigotry and racism.
There are 19 members, consisting of Department Chairs, Faculty, Staff, and Administrators, with proportional representation from each of the 11 HSS departments and the Dean’s Office:
2020-2021 Task Force Membership: Co-Chairs are Associate Dean Lisa Grimm and Dr. Shaun Wiley; Vice Chair is Dr. Holly Haynes,
The Anti-Black Racism Task Force may be reached directly by email: HSSAR@tcnj.edu
Please use this link to submit feedback to the Task Force: Anonymous Feedback Form
HSS Dean Statement
In HSS, we strive to examine, understand, and shape the human experience across time and place. Sadly, part of that story is a history and persistence of oppression and discrimination against people based on false claims about their biological inferiority. In the United States racism has generally taken the form of white oppression and discrimination against Indigenous People, People of Color, and especially against the Black community. In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois, an historian, sociologist, and Black civil rights activist, remarked that “the Nation has not yet found peace from its sins.” More than a century later, many of the very same national sins – those tied to the same anti-Black racism – still abound. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor are merely the most visible reminders of them. Racism has been deeply embedded in America from before its founding and still exists in nearly every community and institution in the country. Read More.
Minutes and Resources
HSS Anti-Black Racism Task Force Meeting Minutes
Agenda (See Minutes here)
- Announcement (Budget, Website)
- Budget is roughly 4,000
- Will hold off on purchasing books
- Check with library
- Curate lists of articles and other short form media (podcasts, TED talks, etc.)
- Website content
- Meeting minutes
- Subcommittee work
- Link to other reserves across campus (AVI, Bias response, etc.)
- Discussion and Prioritizing Subcommittee Goals and Action Steps
- Curriculum & Signature Experiences
- Student Life
- Subcommittee tasks by next meeting
Agenda (See Minutes here)
- Update and review Committee Activity Reports (asynchronously)
- Book update and Website preview (Send website information for subcommittees to Lisa Grimm by Wednesday, November 11)
- Review of Goals from Student Life Committee
- Items from Subcommittee:
- Assessment: None
- Curriculum and Signature Experiences: None
- Faculty: None
- Student Life: See above
- Discuss Visit by Diane Goodman
- General Check in
Agenda (See Minutes will be posted after approval)
- Approve minutes from 11/4/20 meeting (asynchronously)
- Discuss Visit by Diane Goodman
- Anti-racism teaching capacity survey to faculty
- Inclusive excellence in signature experience survey to Chairs
- Communication with chairs (regarding where to post job ads, curriculum, signature experience)
- Send all together? Prioritize and split up?
- Communication at all-school meeting
- Dean’s role in the spring
Here is the slide deck from the presentation: HSS School Meeting
- Review memo on revising the Reappointment and Promotions document for CFA.
- Discuss best practices for generating student focus groups on departmental cultures.
- Overload report data.
Resources (this section is currently under development)
For Faculty and Staff
The Task Force has developed Student Feedback classroom racial and cultural climate items. All HSS faculty have access to these questions in an item bank within Evaluation Kit. Please watch this 2 minute video that demonstrates how to access the items in the item bank.
There is no maximum limit to the number of overload semesters in HSS. Please see the advising website for the new process that directs students to complete an interest form as the first step in the process. Students do not approach Department Chairs first for signatures.
The short-term goals of each subcommittee are included below.
Clicking on each goal will reveal the current action step. As goals are met, reports will be posted as will new goals.
Current Members: Dr. Jess Barnack-Tavlaris, Dr. Matt Bender, Dr. Lynn Gazley, and Dr. Ada Onyewuenyi
The charge of the Assessment Subcommittee is to assess where inequities exist in students’ academic progress and access to signature experiences (research, internship, honors designation, etc.). We are focusing on things that can be remedied at the departmental level or within Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).
Goal 1: The charge of the Assessment Subcommittee is to assess where inequities exist in students’ academic progress and access to signature experiences (research, internship, honors designation, etc.).
Ask HSS departments for lists of course codes used for internship, research, and departmental honors experiences. Use these course codes to generate lists of students who have participated in these experiences over the last six academic years (2013-2014 through 2020-2021). Ask the Director of Faculty Student Collaborative for data on HSS student participation in the Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience (MUSE) from 2013 through 2020. Compare these lists of students with college-wide demographic data to determine inequities in access to and completion of these experiences for BIPOC, 1st generation, and transfer students.
Develop a survey for HSS departments that aims to determine (1) the mechanisms (informal and formal) and/or processes (application, word of mouth) for which students learn about and get involved in the above-mentioned academic experiences, and (2) asks how departments assess academic excellence (for honors awards, honor designation, etc.). Assess the results of this survey to determine inequities. Present this data to departments and request plans for dismantling these inequities.
[March 2021 Update: We are waiting on reports from each department about signature experiences and academic excellence (Due March 15). We have sent a request to CIE for demographic data on students who participated in Muse Summers 2014-2020. We will have the whole Task Force review our emails to R & R for I/IP reports and PAWS IDs that correspond with signature experience codes.]
Goal 2: Assess inequities in students’ academic progress toward degree completion and work with HSS departments to acknowledge and dismantle these inequities.
Ask HSS departments for lists of required courses for their majors that have high D/F/W and repeat rates (“kill” courses). Examine college data for the last six academic years ( 2013-2014 through 2020-2021) to assess inequities related to success in these courses for BIPOC, 1st generation, and transfer students. Present this data to departments and request plans for acknowledging and dismantling these inequities.
[March 2021 Update: Progress on Goals 1 and 3 will inform Goal 2.]
Goal 3: Assess inequities in students’ completion of courses for which they have received an Incomplete (I) or In-Progress grade (IP)
Develop a how-to document that shows HSS departments how to run reports of their students who carry I and IP grades. Have departments disaggregate the data by BIPOC, 1st generation, and transfer status. Encourage departments to develop and implement procedures to track students who carry I and IP grades for more than one semester, and to develop a strategy for providing better support to these students.
[March 2021 Update: We will have the whole Task Force review our emails to R & R for I/IP reports and PAWS IDs that correspond with signature experience codes.]
Current Members: Dr. Janet Gray, Dr. Lisa Grimm, Dr. Holly Haynes, Dr. Dave Mazeika, and Dr. Cynthia Paces
The charge of subcommittee on Curriculum and Signature Experiences is to support departments and faculty in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences as we engage in curricular review and revision to support anti-racist pedagogy, policies and practices. We will also engage in TCNJ-wide efforts to change TCNJ policies and practices that are related to curriculum and the signature experiences.
Action Item: We will support TCNJ efforts to add racial climate questions to the end of course evaluation forms through the governance process. As this issue moves through governance, our subcommittee will mobilize to support the inclusion of the questions and encourage HSS participation. Additionally, we will provide recommended optional questions for use in Canvas in Fall 2020. These optional questions are for use by the faculty member only and will not be shared with Chairs or administrators.
[March 2021 Update: Racial climate items were developed, discussed by the Task Force and distributed to HSS Faculty in November 2020. Currently developing a Question Bank for Faculty that can be accessed from Evaluation Kit]
Action Item: We will develop two survey instruments, one for departments and one for individual faculty, in Fall 2020. The surveys will ask departments and faculty to reflect on their capacity to educate students on systemic whiteness, white supremacy, anti-racism, and anti-Black racism, with a goal of sharing results with departments.
[March 2021 Update: Faculty survey instrument was developed with Task Force feedback, and distributed to faculty. Data was analyzed and organized with reports sent to Department Chairs in December 2020. Chair survey was developed with Task Force feedback and distributed to Chairs (due April 15).]
Departments vary in approval rates and we have very little data on the number of students who are eligible for overload (in terms of GPA and units) but are denied at the department level.
Action Item: Starting Fall 2020, The overload process will be described as an application process and not an approval process. All interested students will be able to apply directly to the Dean’s Office for overload. Associate Dean Lisa Grimm will send Department Chairs a notice to either meet with the student for advising or to approve the student request. From a student perspective, this should be less intimidating and less cumbersome. There will be no form with signatures, just a short application in Qualtrics.
[March 2021 Update: New process implemented in HSS in Spring 2021. Data for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 analyzed and compared with a report presented to the Task Force. New language describing overload process was shared with Program Assistants for Advising Newsletters, posted on the HSS website, and shared with other key campus stakeholders for feedback: EOF, CSS (Pride Mentors, Cooperman), and Bonner.]
Current Members: Dr. Piper Kendrix Williams, Dr. Glenn Steinberg, Dr. Shaun Wiley, and Dr. Simona Wright
The charge of the Faculty Subcommittee is to help to recruit, hire, support, tenure, mentor, and celebrate Black faculty (and African American Faculty in particular). The committee is also charged with developing initiatives to train, support, and hold faculty accountable for their anti-racist practice. Given our charge, the Subcommittee will work closely with Departments and Hiring Chairs, Human Resources, and the Division of Inclusive Excellence.
Goal 1: Create an ongoing training program to support faculty and staff in cultural competency, anti-racism, and social justice.
Develop and implement a year-long training program for existing faculty and staff.
Develop and implement a training program as part of orientation for new faculty and staff.
Develop and implement a training program for anti-racist advocates, who will be responsible for supporting anti-racist efforts in departments (in terms of hiring, curriculum, and climate) and holding others accountable for racist behaviors (e.g., assisting in reporting related to TCNJ’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace/Educational Environment).
Goal 2: Recruit, hire, support,mentor, tenure, promote, and celebrate Black (and, specifically, African-American) faculty.
Advocate for a targeted tenure-track hire for AfAm-Crim: [Action: AfAm Studies made a request to the Provost to hire Michael B. Mitchell.]
Curate lists of diversity-focused job boards in each unit.
Include Black students on search committees and compensate them for their work.
Create and implement anti-racist training for members of faculty searches.
Create a new faculty fellows program for Black faculty, including faculty whose teaching, scholarship, and service promotes anti-racism.
Create one or more named professorships for Black faculty whose teaching, scholarship, and service promotes anti-racism.
Provide automatic resources for Black faculty (e.g., SOSA, MUSE, Sabbatical).
Provide an annual report of the progress of the major initiatives/hiring/support strategies etc.
Reconsider and revise how PRCs and the dean use end-of-term student feedback in personnel reviews for Black faculty, who frequently receive racist feedback from students.
Clearly communicate procedures for TCNJ’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace/Educational Environment (e.g., place them on syllabi and in departmental and school communications, as well as on an easily-accessible website).
Advocate for a revision of the end-of-term student feedback forms to include a question concerning the racial climate of the classroom. [Action: Steering included a request in the Student Feedback charge to CFA, which was approved.]
Current Members: Dr. Tao Dumas, Dr. Mindi McMann, Mrs. Dee Dee Miles, Dr. Felicia Steele, and Dr. Nick Toloudis
To identify opportunities to improve the experience of students of color in classes, majors, and student groups that operate in concert with HSS and to identify HSS policies and procedures that may adversely affect students of color. As a subcommittee, we assert that we cannot presume to understand exactly what our students’ experiences are like without hearing them and making them part of the conversation. Our recommendations regarding student needs are based on our perceptions (as faculty and staff) of those needs. Until we know how students experience our specific institution, our recommendations are necessarily provisional and based on scholarship rather than testimony.
Work with HSS administrators, honor society advisors, and the development office to establish funds that will cover the costs of honor society fees for students and procedures for those funds to be applied automatically for students in pre-identified groups (e.g. EOF, Cooperman) and by application for other students to ensure broad access to student involvement in those areas.
Work with HSS faculty to develop materials that illuminate the “hidden curriculum” for students.
HSS faculty should rename “office hours” to “student hours.”
Develop a battery of questions for faculty and staff to assess departmental cultures (e.g. speaker series and students’ level of participation in identifying speakers; departmental cultures of student-faculty interaction; departmental grievance procedures).
Develop a corresponding battery of questions for students to assess students’ sense of autonomy and privacy, their sense of involvement and being represented in the department, involvement in student opportunities and groups, and sense of safety and trust with faculty and administrators.
HSS should ask institutional research for the following data: D/W/I rates across demographics as well as Academic Integrity Violation data across demographics.
[March 2021 Update: Drafted student survey questions and contacted IRB with questions.]
TCNJ Policies and Resources
Bias reporting is managed by the Bias Education & Support Team (BEST). As stated on their website:
BEST is not an investigatory or disciplinary body. The Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution, Title IX, and the Office of Human Resources are responsible for investigations and disciplinary proceedings. BEST may discuss with the reporter how to file a complaint if it appears that there may have been a violation of TCNJ’s Student Code of Conduct or breach of College policy.
Please click this link to report a Bias incident: Bias Reporting Form
BEST supports those affected by bias and will discuss the related policies and processes for bringing a formal complaint, but does not investigate bias incidents. The Office of Anti-Violence Initiatives, also provides support for members of the campus community, “At AVI, we’re dedicated to the prevention of power-based personal violence in our community. Power-based personal violence is an umbrella term we use for sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking. We work to prevent violence through a collaborative team of professional staff and student interns and peer educators.” This office follows processes outlined in the TCNJ policy manual.
Sexual harassment, which includes Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, is covered under Title IX and the Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy can be reported directly to the Title IX office using the Reporting form for Title IX or Sexual Misconduct Incidents.
Discrimination and Harassment Reporting
As explained on the Office of General Counsel’s website, TCNJ policies and procedures prohibit any discrimination or harassment for any of the following protected categories:
Atypical Hereditary Cellular or Blood Trait
Domestic Partnership Status
|Gender Identity or Expression
Liability for Military Service
Marital /Civil Union Status
Sex/Gender (including pregnancy)
Retaliation (for having filed a discrimination complaint, participating in a complaint investigation, or for opposing a discriminatory practice)
- Please click here to Report Discrimination or Harassment
- Here is the policy document: Policy prohibiting discrimination in the Workplace/Educational Environment
Outside of the bias or discrimination processes, TCNJ also has processes in place to handle other student concerns, such as: