The current leadership of the POD Network, constituted by its Executive Committee and its governing board, the Core Committee, writes to all members to acknowledge and to apologize for allowing structural and interpersonal racism in the POD Network now and over time to remain unexamined and unaddressed. We recognize and regret that members of color have thus experienced myriad forms of harm and marginalization. We regret the pain and distress we and others have caused, and acknowledge that we all lose when some members’ voices are silenced or not heard. We acknowledge that the organization has regularly fallen short of its professed values in terms of the inclusivity of its culture, membership, and leadership, which have been predominantly white during the more than forty years of the POD Network’s existence. Members of the Executive and Core Committees also write to officially apologize for acts of bias, racism, and exclusion that any colleagues of color have endured through the organization’s processes, structures, and events, last year and in the past.
Over the past eight months, POD members have raised serious concerns about racial transgressions and harm experienced by members of color within POD contexts, including in the conference proposal review process and also through micro- and macroaggressions at the annual conference, in leadership and committee work, and in interpersonal relationships between members. The Executive and Core Committees recognize the time, energy, and emotional labor that these colleagues were forced to expend through unpaid and generally unrecognized work. We credit the work of these colleagues for educating us and providing vision for the important equity work the POD Network must take on. The Executive and Core Committees apologize for and deeply regret these injustices and the harm they have caused to people of color in the field of educational development and in the POD Network.
The leaders of the POD Network have taken the first of many future steps toward a robust change process and will work with experts within the POD Network and external consultants in this process. We commit to doing the necessary work to continue our education into how structural and systemic racism operates within our organization; to critically examine our processes, policies, and practices; and to identify and enact changes that will lead to an organization that is more equitable and one that empowers, values, and centralizes people of color as members, colleagues, and leaders. We call the entire membership into the work ahead—into listening well to and honoring the work of those who have already been leading such work in the POD Network and at their home institutions—and making the deep and enduring changes that are needed.
At the recent fall Core meeting, Core and Executive Committee members formed working groups, which are currently active, to:
- Write a Request for Proposals (RFP) to engage a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultant or consultants to:
- guide a wide-reaching self-study to address known and newly identified problems,
- review policies and procedures that create barriers to pathways into POD Network leadership,
- determine a process and structure for adding a member to the Executive Committee that has Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion expertise, and
- provide professional development for leaders and members;
- Strengthen and improve communication between the Diversity Committee and the Executive and Core Committees;
- Overhaul the conference proposal review process, with a particular focus on ensuring that DEI-related proposals are reviewed by those with expertise and/or training in DEI.
In addition, the Executive and Core committees are working on responding to substantial feedback from the conference evaluation, including additional micro- and macro aggressions experienced by conference attendees.
This work will need to be ongoing; therefore, over the next 3-5 years, the POD Network commits to:
- Implementing recommendations that come from the above work;
- Encouraging and supporting white POD Network members to engage in ongoing learning about antiracist perspectives and practices;
- Supporting colleagues of color to create spaces within the organization and at the conference for mutual support and key learning about how to navigate institutions (their own, as well as the POD Network) that are predominantly white and/or characterized by assumptions, values, and practices that systematically exclude or marginalize people of color.
It is with humility that we acknowledge the structural and systemic as well as interpersonal racism that persists within our organization, and we greet the challenges ahead with hope and determination. We know the changes won’t happen overnight, nor without errors and missteps along the way. However, we believe that if we bring consistent effort each day moving into the future, we can create an organization in which our espoused ideals—particularly our organizational commitment to equity—more closely match the lived reality of our members.
Executive and Core Committee Members
Angela R. Linse, President
Cassandra Volpe Horii, Past President
Donna Ellis, President Elect
Francine Glazer, Incoming President Elect
Greg Siering, Chair, Finance Committee
Hoag Holmgren, Executive Director