Steps towards a More Inclusive Lawrence

Lawrence has always been dedicated to the issues of diversity and inclusion. Given the current national political climate and trends in campus culture across the country, Lawrentians are thinking about the future and issues of inclusion now more than ever. Lawrence is committed to supporting a student body with diverse backgrounds and is working to distinguishing itself as an institution of inclusive excellence. To better serve the needs of students and create a supportive work environment, Lawrence University has taken significant steps in increasing its commitment to “fostering a diverse and welcoming learning community that embraces all members, including those marginalized by aspects of their identities.” Examples of visible steps include the introduction of new faculty and staff in diversity-related positions, new courses on issues related to diversity, opportunities for personal and professional development, and updates to university technology and procedures.

The 2016-2017 academic year brought a wave of new leadership when the university authorized new positions for a Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Dean of the Faculty, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, a Title IX Coordinator, a Diversity Center Coordinator, and a Dean of Academic Success.

Several faculty members have also contributed to these efforts. Through a grant from the Mellon Foundation and the work of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs, Lawrence has developed, implemented and offered training in a process for actively recruiting strong, diverse applicant pools for faculty positions. Due to another grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Pedagogy Taskforce continues to actively search for ways to diversify curriculum and support all faculty in adopting pedagogical methods suitable for a diverse student population. Students also saw two new courses pertaining to Native American identity, history and culture, a new course in Latin@ Studies taught in English, and a new faculty member, the first fully dedicated to Ethnic Studies, at the start of the 2016-17 academic year. These opportunities enhance the student experience by encouraging interdisciplinary thinking and exposing students to real world challenges and concepts.

In January of 2016, Lawrence invited the consulting firm InciteChange! to provide training to students, faculty and staff by engaging them in conversations relating to cultural competency and social justice. More than 120 individuals participated in these workshops designed to help Lawrence obtain the tools necessary to strive towards becoming a more inclusive community. Additionally, in March of 2016 Lawrence entered into a yearlong partnership with Sustained Dialogue, an organization that helps build institutional culture around inclusive leadership, facilitation and conflict management. Training continued into the fall when Dr. Placida Gallegos of Jones and Associates led a Diversity and Inclusion Workshop at the Fall 2016 Meeting of the Board of Trustees. These trainings and workshops enable students, faculty, and staff and alumni to more cohesively work together to address relevant social problems.

One such concern brought forth by students involved the ability to update one’s preferred name and pronouns in the Voyager system. Students are now able to control, where legally possible, the name that appears on their academic records and student ID’s. New students are able to input their preferred name to help in generating email addresses, and questions regarding gender neutral housing have been added to the new student housing questionnaire. These important steps are key to supporting students and recognizing identity. Other procedural changes include the launching of the online bias incident report. This form is meant to serve as an educational tool to help Lawrence better identify and monitor incidents of bias on campus, and to provide a means of discussing and working through incidents.

Lawrence is dedicated to supporting students and continuing to foster an inclusive environment where all can thrive. The primary way of achieving this is through authentic dialogue across our differences and recognizing the need for continuous improvement. In encouraging dialogue we can continue to learn from one another and become a more welcoming campus every day.

Progress Timeline


April 2019

February 2019

January 2019


  • Established Ethnic Studies Major.
  • Most diverse incoming class in terms of racial and ethnic identity in the history of the institution.
  • Inclusive Pedagogy Committee achievements:
    • Several sponsored workshops by external facilitators on microaggressions, cognitive science and learning including the authors of The Courage to Teach and Teaching Naked.
    • Several on-campus presentations by Lawrence faculty and staff including recipients of previous mini-grants for course enhancements.
    • Awarded mini-grants for six new projects designed to enhance teaching.
    • Purchased the books Teaching Naked and Teaching Naked Techniques for members of the faculty and staff who requested them.
    • Held two faculty community of practice discussions on structuring inclusive group work and enhanced trust in the classroom in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Lawrence received two grants related to increasing the participation and success of students underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math.

October 2018

  • Cultural Competency Lecture Series, "Gender Inclusive language: Smash the Binary."
  • LUCC Unconscious Bias Training.
  • Land Acknowledgement shared for the first time by President Burstein at Katherine Cramer's convocation, "Listening Well in a World That Turns Away."

September 2018

  • Diversity planning retreat focused on the theme of "Claiming Our Voices."
  • Advanced Upstander Training with FIT Oshkosh.
  • Town Hall Meetings about Campus Climate Survey results.
  • Cultural Competency Lecture Series, "Cultural Appropriation: What Is or Isn't - Understanding the Complexities around Race, Culture, and Consumption."
  • Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day.
  • Women on Campus Coffee Hour.

February 2018

  • Advanced Upstander Training with FIT Oshkosh.


November 2017

  • Advanced Upstander Training with FIT Oshkosh.

September 2017

  • Second annual diversity planning retreat.

May 2017

  • Cultural Competency Lecture Series, "Activism and Social Change."
  • Planning for Annual Diversity Conference hosted in Warch Campus Center.

April 2017

  • Critical Issues forum, "What is the Purpose of Higher Education?"
  • Cultural Competency Lecture Series, "Religion and Spirituality."

March 2017

  • Lecture on immigration followed by individual consultations with national legal expert.
  • Launch of Faculty and Staff Allies Network groups.
  • Fox Cities Diversity Officer's Collaborative formed.
  • Community conversation on political common ground.
  • Cultural Competency Lecture Series, "Gender and  Intercultural Competence."

February 2017

  • Inclusion statement adopted by faculty.
  • Second Session of the Community Conversation on Safety with the Appleton Police Department.
  • Critical Issues Forum, "What is Race?"
  • Applying the Rethinking Mentoring Model (Phase II).

January 2017

  • Community Conversation on Political Ground.
  • Kick off of the Rethinking Mentoring initiative for faculty
  • Kick-off of the Cultural Competency Lecture Series. First lecture, "Reframing Disability."


December 2016

  • Full Speed to Full Need campaign reaches $68M of $85M goal. The intention of this fund is to increase access to a Lawrence Education by covering a student's full financial need.

September/October 2016

  • Student, Staff, Faculty Listening Sessions.
  • The President's Committee on Diversity Affairs established subcommittees to address specific areas in which we need systemic change.
  • Community Conversation on Safety.
  • Creation of Campus Collaborative D&I Team.
  • Student Advisory Board Team developed.