In July 2020, Wofford College began a process to review and reflect on our college’s past, present and future. This began when students and alumni who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) started sharing a different Wofford experience, one that did not always live up to the high standards of our founding principles, mission and core values. Wofford College is not afraid of self-reflection, critical thinking and tough conversations, so the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) task force was formed to lead our research, listening and discussion. The group of 16 on the JEDI task force then worked with a team of student researchers and consultants to benchmark other colleges and universities, research Wofford’s history and compile feedback from Wofford students, alumni, faculty and staff. This group presented their final report to President Nayef Samhat and the Wofford College Board of Trustees at the Board’s May 2021 meeting, and trustees and the college’s administration began reviewing and considering the 30 recommendations presented by the group.
Throughout this time, trustees and the college’s administration also heard from dozens of other individuals in response to the process. At the direction of the Board, President Samhat and the administration began an in-depth review and study of all recommendations. This review included an assessment of the college’s current status and progress for each recommendation as well as potential next steps.
The Board of Trustees gathered in August 2021 to consider and discuss the administration’s review and responses to the recommendations.
The message to the Wofford community from the Board expresses gratitude, honors the academic program, supports student excellence and commits to researching and sharing Wofford’s common history.
Find the Board’s message at wofford.edu/strategicvision.
The message from the Board considers ALL of the research, data from the surveys and listening sessions, emails, calls and letters. The Board kept the college’s mission and core values at the center of their discussions. It also stayed true to its strategic and fiduciary responsibilities, committing to make decisions that will ensure that Wofford College thrives far beyond the lives of those who love and support the college today.
Where do we stand on the 30 JEDI recommendations?
The Board of Trustees affirms the dedication and commitment of President Nayef Samhat and the administration and endorses their efforts to work with students, alumni, faculty, staff and community partners to address JEDI recommendations, considering budgetary implications and prioritizing improvements that will enrich the student experience.
The administration has taken the 30 JEDI recommendations and developed action plans with progress and next steps. Please visit wofford.edu/strategicvision to review.
How to support student success and the college’s efforts in this area?
- Keep checking the wofford.edu/strategicvision site to monitor the college’s progress.
- Give to funds designated to support student success. A new fund that was established by a group of graduates from 1969 is the Wofford Way Unity Fund. This fund is designated to support needs that arise from the 30 JEDI task force recommendations. Visit wofford.edu/wwunityfund to give.
- Volunteer to serve on a college leadership committee.
Dr. Dwain C. Pruitt ’95 returns to Wofford as the college’s first chief equity officer
Dr. Dwain C. Pruitt ’95 has been named Wofford College’s first chief equity officer. In this role Pruitt will lead the college’s collaborative efforts to advance strategic goals, with emphasis on informing diversity initiatives, policy development, campus climate and the implementation of high-impact efforts that foster inclusion. He also will ensure institutional compliance with applicable federal and state laws related to Title IX.
Pruitt comes to Wofford most recently from the University of Louisville, where he served as the assistant dean for curriculum and governance in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Remaining connected with students has always been a priority, and I look forward to working with Wofford students both inside and outside of the classroom to develop a more just, equitable and diverse community,” Pruitt says.
He also has worked in undergraduate research at the University of South Florida and at Morgan State University’s College of Liberal Arts in a variety of administrative and student support positions.
by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89