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Race, Equity, and Inclusion (REI) Committee

Appointed by Dean Pam Grossman, the Committee on Race, Equity, and Inclusion is convened by Raquel Arredondo, the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Co-chaired by the Dean, Deputy Dean Matt Hartley and Professor Howard Stevenson, the Committee comprises faculty, staff, and student representatives working together to:

  • Develop proposals about how the School may best marshal its resources to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, mitigate instances of sexual bias and harassment, and increase literacy around these areas.
  • Address ongoing issues related to school climate and safety around race and diversity.
  • Prioritize and take actionable steps each year to confront matters which impede the advancement of an equitable, inclusive, and diverse community. Priorities for 2023 include:
    • Student/Staff/Faculty Diversity: Focus on International Student Experience, led by Dr. Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher and Shiyu Jiang
    • Racial Literacy: Focus on Operationalizing the Penn Experience, led by Dr. Leland S. McGee and Jack Drummond
    • Ableism and Disability Inclusion: Focus on Awareness and Inclusive Practices to Support Individuals with Visible and Non-Visible Disabilities, led by Raquel Arredondo and Gabrielle Newell



Ed Brockenbrough
Nelson Flores
Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher
Pam Grossman
Matt Hartley
Howard Stevenson
Sharon Ravitch


Raquel Arredondo
Kristine Chin
Jessie Harper
Miriam Harris
Nakia Jones
Jasmine Marshall-Butlerr
Leland S. McGee
Patrick Sexton


Mitali Temurnikar
Shiyu Jiang
Gabrielle Newell
Jack Drummond
Keriann Mosely
Luciano Zuniga

Meeting Notes



Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 5/10/22

Dean Grossman Updates:

  • Sarita Brown will be both our Commencement speaker and on a panel that day on issues of access and education.
  • A couple of REI committee members attended Penn’s Lavender Graduation
  • We will continue with our moratorium on GRE’s.

Raquel Arredondo Updates:

  • Pulse survey – some highlights: we measured six categories; 621 respondents -- 445 were students (70% of overall feedback); 70% staff response rate.
    • Overwhelmingly students, staff, and faculty felt like they “belonged” and felt valued
    • Still analyzing nuanced feedback.
  • One Book/One GSE – thanks for members who shared suggestions, and Raquel and Dean Grossman are discussing possible options. Considering creating more book discussion options through our Scholars of Color speaker series. They hope to make a final decision in June.

Student/Faculty Diversity:

  • Finalizing report. Yield rates for Hispanic students are lower. Will plan on sharing with the faculty in the fall.
  • Working with Admissions on asking about LGBTQ+ status for incoming students; the question was fairly open-ended this past year, and the committee will work on refining the question next year.
  • OutEd is now an official student group renamed the Pride Alliance.


  • Has gathered feedback on its extensive series of events this past year to inform next year’s planning.
  • Developed a list of ongoing inquiries that were shared
  • Future plans were shared.

Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 4/12/22

Raquel Arredondo

Dean Updates:

  • Final Scholar of Color visit Joy Gaston coming up – Wednesday, April 20 @ noon
  • Commencement speaker will be Sarita Brown, head of Excelencia in Education; will also be part of an upcoming panel
  • Mention of upcoming Commencement and past graduate celebration in May

DEI Update (Arredondo)

  • Climate Study/Pulse Survey – doing the Pulse Survey now and will conduct Climate Study in the fall. There will be an incentive from the Student Government for participation in the Pulse Survey.
  • One Book One GSE – thanks to those who have submitted recommendations. Raquel will be reviewing and gathering some more and hopes to settle it at the May 10 meeting.
  • MLK Day of Service Project (rescheduled) – has now been announced for April 21 as a paint project. Got an overwhelming response from students.

Working Group Updates:

  • Racial Literacy: Penn Experience (Tiao) – currently thinking of this as an expanded pilot. All students who would take our incoming requirements do the first two modules (West Philly is one). There will be an analysis of assessments and will also look across other schools to compare and decide of we need to do a GSE-specific assessment. In discussions about creating long-term facilitators, who might also be utilized for One Book/One Penn GSE. Goal: a year from now have a more permanent plan. Dean mentioned that she is thinking of incorporating this into faculty orientation in some way. Jessie Harper is working on version 3.0 of the Penn Experience.
  • Student/Faculty Diversity: Admissions Update (Patel/Butler/Nelson) – Pooja Patel presented on “2021 Students Who Decline” data. Presented on reason for student declines – accepted employment or enrolled at a different institution. Vast majority who say no are white in US; for international students it is largely Asian students. Top factors for declining admissions are financial aid, academic program, and geographic location.
  • LGBTQ+ (Sexton) – Looking to add question into the climate survey about experiences with content in their classes; OutEd has been revitalized and re-named the GSE Pride Alliance as an official student group – working towards sustainability via bylaws and resources from the Student Government and connections to this sub-committee. The group is also thinking about what to do during Pride Month; possibly lavender at graduation. Will also be looking at collecting better data around LGBTQ+ admissions.

Note: WISDOM is looking to have two events before the end of the year.

Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 3/15/22

Raquel Arredondo

Climate Study –

  • Contract has been signed
  • Will be reviewing the questions and then sharing with a larger group for feedback. Hope to launch at the end of this month. [Note: climate study will now be implemented Fall ‘22]

Women of Color in Higher Ed event –

  • Next Thursday from 3-7

One Book/One GSE –

  • Looking for ideas for a summer launch book

Penn Experience modules: Racism, Reconciliation and Engagement (presented by Jessie Harper)

Discussed the history of the development of the modules. Now many Penn schools are using it, and Dr. Harper is working to create an updated version that will be more streamlined, possibly with modifications to the platform, and with a student advisory group, etc.

Focus groups on the modules

  • ELX Diversity Fellows (led by Nelson Flores) – in process of reviewing modules. Thinking about how to incorporate portions into ELX classes.
  • Teaching Programs (led by Patrick Sexton) – two Philly-based teaching programs incorporate much of this material. ISTR program runs special topics every year (which includes alumni) and is using this in a different way – a curated version as part of discussions on justice and equity. This has been successful and led to rich discussions.

Leland McGee is working on recommendations for a few possible approaches, for example, requiring all international students to take a selection of modules, tailoring to specific programs, etc. Continuing to gather feedback.


Racial Equity - Tomorrow there is an event for admitted doctoral students of color to learn and network.

Sub-committees then met

Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 1/11/22

Welcome from Dean Grossman

Faculty searches are going well; so far two women of color will be joining us next year – more news from additional searches to come; staff searches also ongoing with a focus on building diversity further.

Raquel Arredondo

MLK Day Update –

  • We are hosting a virtual breakout room for STEM kits.
  • Joyful Readers – partnering with them and a school on an Amazon booklist for book donations.
  • City Year – because they have had to cancel their MLK work due to the surge, they will be creating service projects throughout the year. We will be doing something in the spring with them in the courtyard of Roxborough High School.

Black History Month –

  • In planning stages, but looking to highlight the work of our community.
  • Will investigate connectivity with Du Bois house through faculty and opportunities.
  • Potentially highlighting our connection to Sadie Alexander.

Working Group Breakout Discussions

Racial Literacy:

  • Penn Experience – UTAP has completed their beta testing of the Penn Experience program; Identity Labs launched in the summer. Diversity Fellows is also piloting the program. ISTR is just beginning to pilot the program and will be customizing for their needs and using modules as the basis for focus groups. Leland McGee to do an assessment on the piloted program and ask about changes/recommendations in programming. A group discussion then took place about how we can support the work further.
    • Next step – we will have faculty take a look at the Penn Experience and make recommendations to customize it to the school’s needs; then they will take to the Executive Committee to discuss.
  • DEI Concentration – Raquel Arredondo has a meeting in early February with the Registrar to begin discussing. Previous discussions with the Registrar indicate that the concentration needs to be housed within a division in order to administer. The group discussed the need to have someone create an audit of courses with DEI dimension.
  • Scaling TLL PD Programming to the school – consider leveraging staff and faculty meeting to develop stake in this work. Raquel is conducting an audit of what’s been done over the last few years to determine where the gaps are, what can we do to further synthesize the work that’s been done, and what the road map is for future PD work.


Goal to produce a report on student diversity by program and give an update on faculty diversity, what the processes are, etc. This working group will regroup when they have specific data from Leslie Levin in Admissions. Will touch base with Jessie about faculty outside of standing faculty.

Recruitment in academic programs – the working group will talk with the Admissions team to discuss what is already being done and what they can do to support—as well as what are the key learnings from successful programs.


Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 2/4/21

Dean’s Comments

  • Our goal right now is to strengthen infrastructure for our REI work. We are in the process of getting University approvals for a proposed director position that would oversee schoolwide work.
  • Thrilled to announce new faculty director of HEARD, Gerald Campano. His goal is to create a collaborative community of inquiry, and to try to provide the intellectual material and even emotional support for people at GSE engaged with this challenging work.
  • Black history month message going out this week, with a focus on learning about African American history both nationally and locally.
  • We will present a list of dates honoring diversity in a future meeting for discussion.

New Challenges Around Diversity in our School (Stevenson/All)

Do we need to re-prioritize or re-align our goals in the face of the pandemic/virtual learning? Should we have a discussion about how things have changed, how we think about the rapidly-shifting politics of race now. Even as we construct courses and strategies, the knowledge about diversity writ large and racism is changing every day. Is it relevant for the urgency of now? Are we coming up with concrete strategies to address this urgency?

A wide-ranging discussion ensued, including creating partnerships with other campus organizations, taking on one particular issue around poverty to create a strong advocacy stand on to rally our capital behind. How do we track our efforts?

Updates from Working Groups (All)

Racial Literacy Group

  1. Faculty training – TLL division is piloting anti-racism workshops for faculty. Beginning this month, a conversation about brave spaces. March and April – there will be two separate anti-racism workshops – one for white faculty and one for faculty of color. [This was informed/in response to June 2020 community meeting to address white supremacy and anti-racist practices in smaller meetings.]
  2. Course evaluation – the committee will be proposing an additional question for course evaluations about how faculty have taken up DEI issues in the classroom.
  3. Certificate in REI Proposal – exploring 2 paths for this – establishing a concentration at GSE that would appear on student transcripts; 2nd approach is to work with the Center for Professional Learning – targeted to audiences outside of GSE.
  4. The Penn Experience – this is a curriculum set up by SP2, and we are considering how we could take on this 10-module curriculum that rigorously goes into addressing race and equity issues. The current modules have an SP2 spin, and we would want a GSE spin. Currently working on one module for students in the fall.
  5. Staff – Supporting Chief Talent Officer Emma Grigore’s continuing work, including an inclusivity guide to support faculty and staff in developing meetings and how to have inclusive classrooms. The group is also hosting a GSE book drive. Emma is also discussing racial literacy training for staff via Howard Stevenson – possibly a 4-week intro for staff.

LGBTQ+ Working Group – after surveys and focus groups, we are now following up with virtual panel discussion next February 12 “Out at Work,” featuring alumni and being moderated by Ed Brockenbrough. Taylor Odle is planning an event on Safe Zone Training with Penn’s LGBTQ center.

Police in Schools – we divided into 4 sub-committees to work on mission, creating GSE workshops, and established a Canvas site of resources for this group. Goal this spring is to bring in people who have a vested interest in these issues, including possibly Charles Ramsey. Monique Morris will be coming in as a Visiting Scholar of Color and will also meet with the group. Exploring a panel idea highlighting GSE community members involved with BLM in Education.

Student and Faculty Diversity – sub-committee to look at faculty data – what does our community look like as far as race and diversity? They are also looking at student diversity and the ways that students engage, particularly in admissions; how yield rates vary across race and ethnicity. Nelson Flores shared early findings on doctoral student diversity with the executive committee. Improve the pipeline of people we are bringing into our community at faculty, staff, and student level. Important that we are tracking this – there is a recognition that we improve what we track.

West Philadelphia Engagement – a group of volunteer students are being trained in coding and are looking at writings of 6th and 7th graders; this will be shared with Howard Stevenson to inform future work.

HEARD Updates (Harper)

Now has an updated website! Exploring idea of “Get HEARD” – new lecture series – doctoral students share early research; people from Philly and Penn community coming in for lectures of panel discussions. Inaugural speaker has been secured – LaRhonda Thompson discussing a pilot study she has done in schools. Discussion of whether we would open the lecture series up beyond the Penn community.

Presenting Work of Affinity/Working Groups on GSE Website (All)

It is a challenge to get the word out and build awareness. Discussion ensued of how to highlight on One Penn GSE, also sending out information to community through emails. The school’s social media were complimented, and school is encouraged to continue doing this.

Diversity-Related Resources for Teaching (Hartley/Harper)

Beginning stages of building repository of materials. When we pivoted online, faculty were resources to one another (as well as staff). We created a repository, including best practices, many people have contributed. Looking for readings or even recorded events that people find helpful – looking for people’s input. Potentially organized under faculty affairs. Jessie Harper would like to include the racial equity course review.

Committee was encouraged to attend the 2021 Ethnography Forum.

Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 12/2/20

Adding diversity/inclusion language to our search ads – It has been suggested that we add more specific language into our search ads encouraging diverse candidates. New language has already been incorporated into recent faculty searches, and we are considering how we can do this with our staff advertisements (Chief People Officer Emma Grigore was invited to the meeting to discuss).

  • A discussion ensued about making sure we reach everyone in our hiring process, including part-time faculty, successful strategies other schools have employed, and that there is consistency across the school.

One Book/One GSE Next Steps – Facilitators have had a debrief and notes have been gathered. Next steps around anti-racism efforts were discussed, including inviting more student engagement in the planning process. More programming is being developed for all community members and the affinity groups are meeting regularly. One challenge is building more awareness, and the group discussed some potential strategies to build awareness.

Updates from Working Groups

Policing in Schools Sub-Committee – the group has decided to form four priorities/areas of responsibility with a focus on K-12 policing: to collect resources for the committee and GSE; creating a list of speakers to invite to come in to inform our work; workshop for alums and practitioners; working on mission/purpose. Sub-committee may propose a statement for a stand for GSE to take.

Racial Literacy for GSE – has not had an opportunity to meet since the last meeting. The group hopes to host anti-racism workshops for each division – one for people of color and one for white participants. For staff, hoping to host a workshop with Howard Stevenson’s group (and encouraging/getting manager approval to attend). For students, exploring access to SP2’s racial literacy course. The group is working on a survey to send to students to get their feedback on how we engage from a student’s perspective, and then develop ways to give useful feedback to faculty. A certificate at GSE on diversity and inclusion has been proposed.

LGBTQ+ -- following up with their Out At Work event, which is being scheduled for February. Panelists have been confirmed. Objective to have alumni share insights on navigating careers for LBGTQ+ students. The sub-committee is also hoping to partner with the Penn LGBTQ+ Center on safe zone training.

Student/Faculty Diversity committee – this sub-committee is examining the racial composition of our community, including our faculty hiring process and how we collect data across the faculty groups. The group shared some of their early findings, including around student admissions, and is also researching best practices.

International Student Working Group – student disengagement is a challenge. This sub-committee is polling various programs to see how they are engaging students outside the classroom, and if they feel that it is working. Individual connections are the best right now. ISS has said they have been reducing events because of Zoom fatigue and focusing on 1:1 meetings. The group will look at what other colleagues and institutions are doing. Learning that students are connecting outside formal school channels. The committee is developing an on-site event in China aimed at both current and prospective students at the Wharton China Center

Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Notes 10/7/20

Dean’s Remarks

  • One Book One GSE schoolwide conversations begin next week.
  • Faculty/staff diversity work continues, and the standing faculty data analysis has begun.
  • We are planning ahead of the election and creating opportunities for people to come together ahead of time. Messaging is being developed.
    • Also (1) making affinity group spaces available and (2) creating off-ramps for faculty and staff, not just students, who don’t feel capable or safe to participate in discussions.
  • HEARD will be organizing an ongoing discussion groups to discuss issues around race.

Sub-committees are meeting and working on creating a short-term and long-term action item for each group. Dean Grossman suggested that anyone interested in joining any of the REI sub-committees should let Jessie Harper to know.

International Sub-Committee update Many of the membership have rotated out, with two remaining members from last year. Four next steps:

  1. Recruiting more people to sub-committee.
  2. Determining if last year’s concerns are still relevant.
  3. Identifying any new concerns.
  4. Educating faculty about international student needs and climate.

Discussion of the launch of the international student working committee (separate from REI). Can we partner with that group to push information out to students, inform staff, and pull in information from a variety of folks who work with international students.

LGBTQ Sub-Committee – planning to launch the “Out At Work” panel event, with the goal of getting alums to discuss how they have navigated their careers as LGBTQ folks, such as challenges of moving out of higher ed supportive space to less welcoming education spaces.

The sub-committee is exploring idea of launching an affinity group as well as events not just within Penn GSE but the broader community.

Policing in Schools Sub-Committee – Identified four priorities/areas of responsibility to collect resources for the committee and GSE. Will invite in scholars and activists; launch workshops on school policing; will make recommendations for curricular changes. Members are taking on developing a vision statement for GSE.

Race Sub-Committee – mission has been clarified -- The mission of our committee is to expand opportunities for Penn GSE students, staff, and faculty to develop their racial literacy--defined by Dr. Howard Stevenson as the ability to read, manage, and resolve racially stressful moments--in courses, meetings, and other GSE-affiliated spaces.
This mission centers around skill-building to navigate racially stressful moments. It does not necessarily cover supports for those who are experiencing racial trauma. It is critical for GSE to establish separate initiatives to provide those supports.


HEARD (Leland) – SP2 has a required module on race, including the history of Penn on race and West Philadelphia. SP2 is interested in having other schools to engage in this work, and partner.

Faculty/staff diversity committee that Nelson Flores is leading – have an outstanding request for faculty data (including professional faculty) and student data. Looking into impediments to having a more diverse student population.

Affinity group on Whiteness – the planning group has met numerous times. Just sent out an email inviting people and had a good response. They will be developing activities.

Black affinity group – working to build connections with the community – for example Black-owned businesses. Hopefully next year, we may be able to provide some enrichment opportunities for the West Philadelphia community and kids. Computer literacy, lacrosse, and dance are being considered. Also learning about some of the obstacles, such as insurance, we may need to overcome.

Latinx affinity group – the first meeting will happen later today.

Asian affinity group – a meeting has been scheduled for this week. A planning document has been developed by students.

LGBTQ affinity group – report already given by Patrick Sexton.

Investing in West Philadelphia – ambitious agenda moving forward with the Penn Alexander School (PAS) and Lea School. Efforts range from a monologue project to leadership training. Penn GSE has also bought licenses for NearPod for West Philadelphia SDP schools and is exploring additional supports.

Contact the Penn GSE Dean's Office

Diana Johnson
Executive Assistant, Dean's Office

Kate Hellings
Chief People Officer

Eric Kaplan
Chief of Staff

Matthew Hartley
Deputy Dean

Susan Yoon
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs

Raquel M. Arredondo
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Lizzie Petela
Dean’s Office Coordinator