President’s Council on EDI visits LINK courses

Members of the President’s Council on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion visited all 16 sections of first-year LINK courses this semester to facilitate workshops about identity, intersectionality, and privilege.

A required course for all non-performing arts majors, LINK 101 is designed to introduce students to resources at Marymount Manhattan College and to build connections and collaboration between them, peer leaders, and faculty. Through units on academics, career, and self-development, the course seeks to help first-year students transition to college life in New York City.

President’s Council leaders collaborated to develop a curriculum focused on giving students an opportunity to reflect on their social group memberships, how they experience privilege and disadvantage based on those memberships, and the capacity to notice and interrupt patterns that reduce people to a single identity, or a single story. According to Christine Gregory, MMC’s Chief EDI Strategist, the sessions created space for students to get to know each other beyond the surface so they could see their classmates as whole and complex people. “We believe that this exploration of social identity will lead to increased levels of respect across differences and a more inclusive MMC,” said Gregory.

As a result, nearly 300 first-year MMC students participated in thoughtful discussions about social identity, intersectionality, and privilege. Ryan Atwell, Associate Director of Career and Professional Development, is the instructor for one of the LINK sections. He noted that the Council’s visit to his class provided his students with an important reminder that MMC is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive campus. The session “helped my students to look at their own identities and privileges to better understand their own access, and their peers’ access, to different resources,” Atwell said. “This class provided an affirmation to students that MMC is not only a safe space but that these crucial conversations are encouraged by their faculty.” Atwell was pleased to see that students were passionate about sharing their personal experiences and identities and that they offered Council facilitators excellent suggestions for ways to strengthen the sessions.

Ava Lederman, a first-year Studio Art and Psychology major with a minor in art therapy, appreciated the EDI conversation in their LINK course. “What I got from the presentation was a genuine sense of care for each of our intersectional identities. The presentation made it easier to broach these topics, and for people who are not as familiar to understand them,” said Lederman. Lederman appreciated that the session was focused on community-building–“not just understanding, but appreciation.” 

Assistant Director of First-Year Experience and Student Success Initiatives Michelle Ng concluded that the EDI Sessions were very well received across many LINK 101 sections. Said Ng, “Students were able to share their personal experiences experiencing bias and/or unknowingly being biased toward others. These self-reflection exercises allowed students to broaden their thinking about how assumptions and beliefs could impact interactions. The LINK 101 EDI sessions helped to promote a culture of inclusion for our first-year students and showcased EDI values as a priority for the college. I’ve heard amazing feedback from the LINK 101 faculty about the EDI sessions, and many students said that it was their favorite class session!”

For more information on EDI at MMC, click here

Published: November 07, 2023