Students Explore DEI at Fisher in Psychology of Diversity Course

January 20, 2022

Throughout the fall semester, students in Dr. Kimberly McClure Brenchley’s Psychology of Diversity course formed mock task forces to develop recommendations for actionable changes at the College that would foster diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Students present their DEI recommendations during their final class session.

In small groups, the students developed definitions for DEI at Fisher and identified areas for improvement at the College as it relates to racism, sexism, heterosexism, weightism, or ageism. They presented their findings to their peers and Dr. Marlowe Washington, Fisher’s senior diversity officer.

Each group provided data and facts about the “-isms,” relating it to course content and citing outside sources and texts they read throughout the semester. The students made a case for why improvement in that area was needed at Fisher and proposed solutions to address those needs.

One group offered recommendations for fostering a more inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students on campus through the creation of a “Committee of Belonging,” and the campus-wide recognition of Coming Out Day and Transgender Remembrance Day. Another group spoke about weightism, and how small desks in classrooms create an uncomfortable learning experience for individuals with larger bodies. “Comfort is an important part of confidence,” one student said while making the case for the purchase of larger desks and work spaces.

Dr. Marlowe Washington listens as students present their DEI recommendations for Fisher.

Other groups pointed to a need for more diverse faces on the College’s website, a greater representation of women in STEM fields, an increased presence of male mental health counselors in the Health and Wellness Center, among other efforts that can bolster DEI efforts on campus. At the heart of each recommendation was idea that representation matters.

Following their presentations, Washington offered his gratitude for their work and ideas and provided an update on the status of DEI work at the College, encouraging each student to become active participants in the efforts.