STRATEGIC PLAN 2
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION PLAN 2020
NOLS is committed to building a diverse community that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or veteran status.
In Vision 2020: NOLS Strategic Plan 2014–2020, we have committed to extending the reach of our mission to a broader audience, providing students with the best experiences possible, and better engaging our alumni. Achieving these three strategic goals demands we make diversity and inclusion (D&I) part of the fabric of our culture. The world is becoming less Europe- and North America-centric, more urbanized, and more connected. The United States will soon be a plurality nation, where within two decades no single ethnic group will be in the majority. At the same time, it is aging, with the population over 65 years old expected to double by 2060, representing one in five residents. These demographic changes present the opportunity to evolve with society by engaging with a broader range of people.
WHY WE CARE Demographics alone do not drive us. We care about diversity and inclusion for a myriad of reasons. »» Inclusive classrooms improve student outcomes and experiences. »» Research shows that diversity in teachers and role models (our instructors) will improve student experiences and outcomes. »» Diversity brings a broader range of perspectives, ideas, and ultimately better decisions. »» Inclusion and cultural competence are also important to our students in their lives after NOLS, where being a leader demands that they interact effectively with people very different from themselves. »» Cultural competence and inclusion are integral to leadership, which is a core of our mission. »» Inclusive workplaces improve staff satisfaction and retention. »» Diversity fosters healthy organizations just as it nurtures healthy, stable ecosystems. »» Research shows diversity increases market share and improves business performance. »» The future of our outdoor classrooms is tethered to connecting more and different people with nature. »» These same people will benefit from what we teach, which is relevant and useful to a broader range of people than we currently reach. »» Educational institutions should create inclusive environments in order to decrease the risks of bullying or discrimination claims.
CELEBRATING OUR SUCCESS During the five-year term of the last strategic plan, we achieved success in many realms. »» We implemented a schoolwide inclusion training program for staff and have begun integrating inclusion and cultural competency into our curriculum. »» We led a course on Denali with the first team of African Americans who attempted North America’s highest peak—a team which has since inspired thousands of young people of color to connect with the outdoors, resulting in media recognition as “Heroes of the Year” and an Outdoor Inspiration Award presented by the Outdoor Industry Association. »» We launched a successful fellowship program for people of color that has built bridges to employment with the school. »» We set records for women in middle management positions, people of color taking NOLS courses, and the percentage of local in-town staff in our international locations. »» We shifted and widened our student age demographics through our Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) programs. »» We now offer WMI courses and local educator courses in Spanish; in fact over 7 percent of WMI instructors can teach in Spanish. »» We have the capacity to support WMI course students who communicate in American Sign Language or Exact Signed English
But our work is not yet done. This plan will help further an inclusive organizational community within NOLS that is more inviting to a more diverse range of students and staff. Over the next seven years, we will continue to monitor demographic changes and set ambitious but reasonable target metrics for gender, ethnic, and international diversity at the school. Through scholarships and other program innovations, we will continue to expand access to a NOLS education to those whom otherwise could not afford one. In addition, this plan outlines goals for increased inclusivity in our administrative, classroom, and field environments. Finally, this plan creates accountability at every level of the school by holding specific departments and leaders responsible for taking tactical steps and innovating new ways to meet our D&I goals.
DIVERSITY GOALS Although diversity does not only connote gender, racial, or other visible differences among people, we will annually track gender, ethnicity, and nationality, which constitute quantifiable aspects of diversity.
SCHOLARSHIPS Scholarship funding (expressed as a percentage of budgeted revenue) will remain the same or increase incrementally year upon year.
Field Courses »» By 2020 at least 42 percent of field course students will be female. »» By 2020 at least 20 percent of American field course students reporting their ethnicity will be of color. »» By 2020 at least 12 percent of field course students reporting citizenship will be non-U.S. citizens. Classroom Courses »» By 2020 at least 37 percent of Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) students will be female. »» By 2020 at least 15 percent of WEMT students reporting their ethnicity will be of color. »» By 2020 at least 6 percent of classroom course students reporting citizenship will be non-U.S. citizens.
Field Courses »» By 2020 at least 42 percent of field course instructors will be female. »» By 2020 at least 74 percent of field course instructor teams will be mixed gender.
»» We will strive for incremental year-upon-year growth in the number of field instructors of color working for the school each year, with at least 35 people of color working field courses in 2020. »» By 2020 at least one instructor on every international field contract will be a national of the region. Classroom Courses »» By 2020 at least 45 percent of classroom instructors will be female. »» By 2020 at least 60 percent of WEMT instructor teams will be mixed gender. »» By 2020 at least 60 percent of Wilderness First Responder (Wilderness First Responder (WFA)) instructor teams staffed by NOLS will be mixed gender. »» We will strive for incremental year-upon-year growth in the number of classroom instructors of color working for the school each year, with at least 15 people of colorworking classroom courses in 2020.
»» We will strive for gender balance in our schoolwide staff body by 2020. »» By 2020 at least 10 percent of American staff (regardless of location) will be of color. »» By 2020 at 80 percent of each international operating location’s in-town staff will be nationals of the region.
»» We will strive for gender balance in our schoolwide manager pool by 2020. »» By 2020 at least 5 percent of American managers (regardless of location) will be of color.
We will track data on gender, rather than sex.
We will track data for instructors who worked in the reporting year, rather than current instructors.
We will track data for staff who worked for NOLS in the reporting year, rather than for staff who are employed by the school at the end of the fiscal year.
To reduce margins of error in ethnicity and citizenship reporting, we will track ethnicity and citizenship as percentages of those who report this information.
TRACY BAYNES, STEP
»» We will strive for gender balance in our schoolwide director pool by 2020. »» By 2020 at least 1 director will be of color. »» By 2020 at least 75 percent of our non-U.S. operating locations will be led by a national of the region.
NEW TRACKING METRICS
»» NOLS will become more accessible to primarily Spanish-speaking families of current and prospective students. »» NOLS will continue to grow its pool of multilingual instructors and staff so we can run more courses in the native language of the countries in which we operate. »» We will make administrative language more gender inclusive. • Forms collecting demographic information, will ask for gender and not sex. • The NOLS database field currently entitled “sex” will be changed to “gender.” Though gender options in our database system are currently binary, we will explore including non-binary gender, transgender, or a write-in gender on forms, as appropriate. »» We will make our in-town work environments inclusive. • The retention and perceived usefulness of our D&I curriculum—the stickiness—will improve. (See
tactics on page 7 for measurements of success). • The inclusion index, i.e., whether NOLS is becoming more inclusive for people from target demographics will increase. • By 2016, we will ascertain whether we have challenges retaining employees in target demographics and subsequently set appropriate goals related to their retention. »» We will make our classroom and field environment more inclusive. • We will integrate inclusion and cultural competence into our leadership curriculum. • We will analyze and track the number of inclusion-related incidents on courses over the next two years and subsequently set appropriate goals for inclusion incident management.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS American means a citizen of the United States for purposes of this plan.
Field courses are courses that are at least two consecutive days long and are camping-based.
Classroom courses are courses that are not camping-based and encompass most Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) and some NOLS Professional Training courses such as Risk Management Training and Leadership Navigation challenge courses.
Inclusion means embracing and celebrating —and not overcoming, tolerating, or surmounting— the strengths of our diversity and ensuring everyone feels welcomed and valued for who they are. Diversity is what we are, and inclusion is what we do.
Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively across various facets of diversity, to flex with differences. Cultural competence is what we need to be inclusive. It requires: (1) being self-aware of your own culture, assumptions, values, styles, biases, attitudes, privilege, etc.; (2) understanding others’ cultures, assumptions, values, styles, biases, attitudes, privilege, etc.; and (3) based on this knowledge, understanding your potential impact on others and interacting with them in a situationally appropriate way for greater effectiveness and inclusion.
Managers include Levels D, DE, and E staff in the United States and non-U.S. equivalents, as determined by NOLS Human Resources.
Directors include Level C staff and higher in the United States and non-U.S. equivalents, as determined by NOLS Human Resources. Diversity connotes the unique differences among individuals in a group. Ethnicity is not the only way in which we are diverse as a group. There are countless visible and invisible facets of diversity. Furthermore, a person cannot be diverse (as in “diverse candidate”). Instructors include field and classroom instructors.
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Staff include all personnel paid to work for NOLS, including instructors, Level 1; 2; and 3 employees; and interns. Students include all persons who take a NOLS course that is at least two consecutive days in length, with some specified exceptions such as Wilderness Risk Management Conference attendees and instructor seminar participants. People of color include U.S. citizens who do not identify as only white or Caucasian under the current U.S. Census ethnicity categories. Region refers to the geographical area encompassing a particular operating location that shares a common culture. For example, NOLS Mexico may choose to define its region as including only Mexico or all of Latin America. Target demographics means demographics that are priorities for NOLS to increase within its staff and student body, specifically females, people of color, and international citizens.