Continuing Community: Checking In

Share your passion for DEI at LMU with this Zoom background. Feel free to download and use via the ‘Season’s Greetings’ link at the end of the article.

INTERCULTURAL AFFAIRS | We are at the end of the fall semester of the most surreal and challenging year we have ever faced as a university. More than that, as a world. As members of the LMU community, we are socially distanced, as well as physically apart from one another and our beautiful campus.

Although we are not on the bluff, we can hardly step away from our computers. Our online connection to our LMU work and study paradoxically feels like both lifeline and oppressive ties that bind, simultaneously. Some of us have never even experienced the LMU campus since beginning our work or studies at the university.

So, in our online existence, what does it mean for us to be part of the LMU community? How connected do people feel? In the midst of pandemic uncertainty and the magnified stresses of everyday life, does everyone still feel a sense of being valued, of belonging, of feeling supported at the university? And if a continuing global pandemic were not enough of a challenge, how has the killing of unarmed Black people and the global movement for racial justice affected us all?

October 2020 Community Check In Survey
The findings from the Community Check-In survey describes patterns of (continued) disruption of our work/studies, home lives, and social lives due to COVID-19, as well as the impact of racial injustice on the LMU community, especially its Black community. Check out the October 2020 Community Check-In Brief to read about the findings. We provide Part I in this issue, focusing on role (i.e., undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty) and race/ethnicity. In Part II, we will report findings based on gender identity, disability, caregiver status, and location.

D&I Quick Tips:  Equity in an Online Environment
We are all online all the time and know Zoom fatigue is real. What does equity mean for LMU in a time of remote work and learning? How do we think about access and inclusion in our virtual classrooms and work spaces? We offer some concepts and considerations in our latest, now digital D & I Quick Tip (DIQT) series on Equity online, titled “Inequities Are Virtual, Too.” We hope it gives you some good ideas to mull over the break and possibly try out next semester.

Faculty Workshop Series: Sign-Up for Spring 2021
The community check-in survey findings revealed that faculty have been heavily impacted by the movement for racial justice in thinking about their work. Does this mean faculty are thinking about how they are teaching and whether they can do more in their courses to educate students toward justice?  Perhaps.

If you are a faculty member thinking about these questions, consider whether you want to be considered as part of the pilot faculty cohort for the spring 2021 series: “Teaching for Justice: Anti-Oppressive Teaching and Pedagogy 101.” This six-week intensive workshop series will be facilitated by faculty peers in each college/school and begins on Friday, Jan. 22. As a pilot, it will be small and subsequently refined and developed into a workshop series that will be offered in summer 2021. There are five spots for each college/school and participants will have the chance to reinvigorate a specific course syllabus, revise or develop an assignment and grading rubric as anti-racism in practice. If you are interested, please contact CTE for application information at For other faculty and staff, we will offer a spring 2021 anti-racism drop-in workshop series through CTE, with sessions covering topics such as “Mental Health in the Online Classroom: Professors as First Responders 101” and “Equity Grading Online.” So, stay tuned for dates and times.

Closing 2020
Most likely, very few of us will be sorry to be done with 2020. Nonetheless, the winter break and season of Advent invites us to reflect on what we have learned this year. For me, there is wisdom to be gleaned from this year of challenge, separation, and suffering that I want to hold close, even after we are back “in person” to our lives.

I want to remember that kindness is more important than any of us may have previously realized. That sustaining hope and staying close to community is critical for not falling into despair. And that riding my bike, walking the dog, playing music, and being in the dirt of a garden can help lift my spirit in concrete ways. In this liminal moment we are in – between the ending of one year and the beginning of the next – may we ponder all that we have seen and learned, and like Mary, treasure the truths that have been revealed about our lives. May we remember the Christmas story about the young, weary wanderers who sought temporary lodging in a simple stable, far from home. A divine promise and unprecedented birth that represented not only new life, but incarnated hope. Can we, too, live in radical hope of renewal in the midst of dislocation and uncertainty? It is, in this moment, exactly what we are being invited to do.

Season’s Greetings on behalf of OIA (Steven Neal, Kim Misa, Joe Bernardo, Hillary Henderson, and Seal Flores, with graduate assistants, Kennedi Lurry and Che O’Grady, and student assistant Tiana Lockett),

Jennifer Abe
Vice President for Intercultural Affairs