Linda Carter Griffith, the current Dean of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD), was named the new Assistant Head of School for Equity and Inclusion on Tuesday. The new position, which Griffith will assume on July 1, 2015, was created to fulfill the goals set forth in the 2014 Strategic Plan.
“[Griffith] is the obvious and perfect person to do the work, in my opinion,” said Head of School John Palfrey. Palfrey affirmed that the previous position of Associate Head of School will not be filled and that the new role will be a hybrid of Griffith’s current responsibilities and the former duties of the Associate Head of School.
“[The new role] is both explicitly heightening the awareness around equity and inclusion work and the prominence of it in the school, but also reallocating some of the duties among the senior administrative team,” Palfrey said.
While her current role as Dean of CAMD mostly involves working directly with students and their organizations and clubs, her new position will enable Griffith to work both with and for the entire Andover community.
“I’ve had a lot of ideas and support on campus for additional initiatives to support faculty, administration and staff and to work with alumni, the Development Office and trustees. The role of [Assistant Head of School for Equity and Inclusion] puts me in a position where there is visibility and the high level of support that I would truly need to work with all of those constituencies equally,” said Griffith.
“Instead of planning the day-to-day programming, I will be helping administrators, faculty and staff reflect and ask if each aspect of the school — curriculum, athletics, theater — is an inclusive, welcoming environment,” Griffith continued.
Griffith looks to tackle the task of analyzing the results of the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) Survey that will come out this spring. With the information from the survey, Griffith said that she would work with others to strategically consider how to move forward and improve Andover in such areas.
“We are a diverse community, and our school ranks high in our commitment and value in multiculturalism. But where we lose is in inclusivity — how included do various members of the community feel?” said Griffith.
“There’s often an expression of being invited to a table but wanting to help plan the menu too. It’s a wonderful analogy used in diversity work; people have been invited to the table, but who is planning the menu? We’re hoping to help each member of this community feel like they can put something on that table and help form it,” she continued.
As a result of Griffith’s new appointment, a new position in the CAMD office, likely to be entitled “Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion,” will be created. The person in this role will work directly with all student diversity programming as well as support underrepresented students of color, according to Palfrey in an email to the entire Andover community.
“This person will take on much of the student-centered programs and report directly to me. That being said, I could never give up the intimate interaction with the students completely, so I will still work closely with some of the student organizations,” said Griffith.
Griffith said that she hopes to work with the future Associate Dean in creating a much more conscientious and sustainable training education to develop student leaders with a lens of diversity and inclusion. Along with the Dean of Students Office, Griffith plans to train proctors and prefects around these issues.
Although Andover has been at the forefront of initiatives related to diversity and multiculturalism for many years, there is still much work to be done, especially regarding the “Equity and Inclusion” component of the Strategic Plan, said Palfrey.
“This feels like the right time to have someone at a significantly new level in the administrative position to oversee more or less the aspects of equity and inclusion throughout our entire community,” said Griffith.
As a member of the Andover community for over 25 years, Griffith has served as an Instructor in English, house counselor and Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster, among other roles.