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TLC #58: MCLA creates Chief Diversity Officer position; PROFILE—Print Shop Williamstown

Recent friction between students of color and MCLA administration not the main reason for creation of execution position of Chief Diversity Officer says college president

By Phil Roeder [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons and By Magicpiano (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons; Chief Diversity Officer
Graphic composed of photo of Murdock Hall, by Magicpiano; CC BY-SA 3.0 and Iowa City protests by By Phil Roeder; CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons



Hey Greylock Nation—

Today is Sunday, October 15, 2017, and you’re listening to episode 58 of the Top Left Corner. I’m your host, Jay Velazquez, and, as always, I thank you for tuning in.

We spoke this week with Dr. James Birge, President of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. The posting of the newly created executive level position of Chief Diversity Officer caught our eye, so we thought finding out a little bit about what went into the decision to create the position would be illuminating.

We also caught up with Elinor Goodwin, owner of the Print Shop, Williamstown, who is now comfortably settled into her new digs on Spring Street. The Print Shop has long been the go-to source for all the printed items that this digital media startup, The Greylock Glass, needs on a regular basis. And there’s a reason for that, which we’ll hear about on this first edition of the resurrected segment, the Berkshire Business Files here on the Top Left Corner.

Elinor Goodwin; from
Elinor Goodwin; from web site of the Print Shop, Williamstown

Berkshire Business Files: The Print Shop

The Print Shop Williamstown, a full-service print shop and marketing agency, is located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. We work with organizations of all sizes: service professionals, banks, schools, teams, administration, parents, booster organizations and coaches to provide attractive materials within what are often limited budgets. We enjoy working with our clients from developing marketing concepts, to design, through to the printed publication. We also assist organizations with advertising campaigns—soliciting, designing, and placement of advertising.


Chief Diversity Officer

Locations: North Adams, MA
Posted: Sep 27, ’17
Type: Full-time

About Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts:

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is a dynamic and vibrant four-year public college located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1894, MCLA is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college of the Massachusetts State University System. MCLA was named a Top Ten Public Liberal Arts College by U.S. News and World Report. MCLA is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), a national consortium positioned at the forefront of the conversation on the value of a liberal arts education. MCLA also earned a place on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges. The ranking cites colleges that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost, and the College was again named to the President’s Honor Roll for Service by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Job Description:

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) invites applications for Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). We are the designated public, liberal arts college among the nine State Universities of Massachusetts and one of 29 Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) in the country. We seek to be an exemplar of diversity, equity, and inclusion by creating an environment where anyone can excel in their learning, teaching, and work.

The CDO will be a thought leader and action driver in extending and deepening our diverse and inclusive MCLA community. The CDO will work with academic, administrative, and student leadership to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued and reflected in all areas of the college, and will help build and maintain bridges to our community and region in regard to shared commitments to inclusion and equity for all. The CDO will be a member of the College’s Executive Staff and report directly to the President.

General Duties and Responsibilities:

Work with faculty, executive and administrative staff, and students to direct, implement, and oversee institutional planning on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that positively impact student and employee experiences at MCLA.

Translate and implement best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education at MCLA.

Work with President to develop departmental budget that enhances the size and function of the Chief Diversity Officer’s office and provides resources for programming, meetings, professional development, and travel.

Identify and help to ameliorate the conditions/policies/practices at all levels of institutional life that impede the development of an inclusive climate in order to achieve the college’s mission.

Work with academic and faculty leadership to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into the curriculum and faculty teaching methods.

In collaboration with others, develop comprehensive diversity and inclusion training and education programs for faculty, staff, administration, and students that improve how we interact with one another, that value diversity and inclusion in decision-making, and that create a welcome environment for students and employees regardless of background.

Collaborate with Human Resources Office, faculty, staff, administration, and students to review, revise, and work toward the goals of the College’s Diversity Statement, including, but not limited to, hiring a diverse workforce that is reflective of the student population.

Support and contribute to the efforts of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to implement new and/or revised policies and programming that contribute to a healthy campus climate and to cultivate a broader institutional dialogue on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Work with existing staff and policies at the College to help respond to matters regarding incidents of bias and/or to establish a system that provides just approaches and remedies to bias at MCLA.

Effectively communicate with internal and external populations on matters regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion and advise others on strategies to improve communications.
Represent MCLA at public meetings and serve on external Boards that enhance campus/community partnerships.
Work with other campus offices to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in their function (i.e. human resources, admissions, institutional advancement).
Collaborate with designated faculty members on diversity initiative matters.
Supervise student workers/interns and ad hoc project staff.


Earned doctorate or other terminal degree strongly preferred
Six to ten years of diversity and inclusion-related work in higher education
College teaching experience highly desired
Significant experience facilitating group dialogue in a higher education environment or other setting
Demonstrated experience with analyzing a complex environment for strategic intervention
Strong interpersonal skills to establish effective relationships with campus colleagues, students, diverse constituents, and local community members
Excellent writing, communications, and organizational skills
Demonstrated experience working with and training students and colleagues on matters related to race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and other identities
Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality

Additionally, the MCLA community has identified the following desired characteristics in a Chief Diversity Officer: Someone who is action-oriented while rooted in theory and reflection; one who values collaboration and communication; one who respects diverse thoughts, solutions, and opinions; a thought leader capable of hearing others’ ideas and capable of sharing her/his/their own ideas and thoughts; a leader who values transparency; a leader committed to the ideals of social justice.

Additional Information:

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible, position.

The deadline for applications is October 16, 2017.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and affirmative action in its educational programs, activities and employment practices. The college complies with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations advancing equal employment. Applicants who will enrich the diversity of the campus community are strongly encouraged to apply. Visit

Application Instructions:

Interested candidates must apply electronically and should submit a letter of interest and resume by clicking the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the job description page found HERE (Submission period ends 10/16/17).




OPINION: Building Bridges

by Sheila Velázquez

About a week after 9/11, I flew from Montana to Boston, a trip that required, as all trips from Bozeman do, a stop at Salt Lake City. The flight from Bozeman was not filled, but the absence of passengers became more apparent in Salt Lake. I had a long time until my next flight and sat in the nearly empty waiting area, reading a book and people-watching. A group of young men sat in the row of seats facing me. There were perhaps seven or eight, well-dressed, maybe students or young businessmen. But the single thing that was painfully noticeable about them was that they were Middle Eastern. I say painfully because of how this would change their lives from that day forward.

Two security officers were engaged in an animated conversation by the trash receptacle, and so I crumpled my burger wrapper and walked over to see what the commotion might be. One said, “But we have to let them on. There are no restrictions.” And there weren’t. No one was being searched, checked or otherwise treated any differently because of the language they spoke or their likely religion. No shoes in baskets or x-ray machines. No confiscated knitting needles. That would come. I walked back and glanced at the young men. They were very quiet, barely whispering in Arabic.

A man was arguing with the woman at the ticket counter. His mother was refusing to board the flight if “those people” would be on it. She was demanding that they not be allowed to fly so that she would be safe. But she was the one who did not board the plane.

Another man approached the group and began sputtering that he wasn’t blaming their people for the attack on the Twin Towers. Did he even understand who their people were? He was sweating and looking very uncomfortable as he groveled before them in an attempt to buddy up to them. It was obvious that he wasn’t so sure that this group wasn’t planning to terrorize their fellow passengers, and he wanted to be on their side if they did. He was pathetic. The young men did not answer him.

As the time of departure drew closer, more people showed up, and after observing their fellow passengers, only a few chose to stay. We boarded on time, maybe twenty of us in addition to the young men scattered about in the seats of the big plane. Anyone who wanted to could put up the armrests and stretch out and take a nap, which I did.

I am not saying that the idea that they might be part of some larger attack did not cross my mind. It did. I had watched the second towers fall in real time just days ago. I was trying to understand how there could be such hate that could lead to such tragedy.

Just a few years earlier I had stood at the top of one of the towers with a group of Muslim men who were visiting the university where I worked. They were Middle Easterners visiting the West to learn about the best we have to offer. Unfortunately, their Muslim brothers and sisters are now too often exposed to the worst. While in the program I became friends with a staffer who invited me to a party she and her husband were planning. When I arrived I realized what it was like to be the outsider. Everyone else was both Black and Muslim.

Fear and prejudice are the real enemies. If we allow them to take over, they will block out the will and the energy needed to build the bridges necessary for us to work together toward the nonpartisan goals we all share. A bridge must be strong and properly designed. It must be fashioned of the strongest materials and continually maintained and shored up when a weakness is detected. It must never be allowed to weaken and fail. And if done properly, it can last forever.


Top Left Corner #34: The Prejudice We Deny, the Racism that Kills

Part 2 of our series, “The Shattered Shield” examines the way institutionalized racism subtly, sometimes subconsciously, guides official action leading to dire consequences.

Tracey Benson, former principal of Pittsfield High School (still image from interview by We Are Pittsfield). Perspectives on racism were not discussed in that interview.
Tracey Benson, former principal of Pittsfield High School (still image from video interview by We Are Pittsfield).

Today is Sunday, September 11, 2016. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I do thank you for tuning in to Episode 35 of the Top Left Corner.

This installment of the show features a tragic continuation of a conversation that I had with Tracey Benson, who was first a guest on this show in April of 2015 in advance of his MCLA appearance with Veronica Benavides. That public discussion revealed the outcome of their case study, “Letters from Ferguson: A Community’s Response to Race and Racism.”

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