Dr. Roland Davis will be working with the Deerfield community for the 2020-21 school year as a consultant for the Office of Inclusion and Community Life (OICL) and will help with the revision of Deerfield’s disciplinary procedures. Davis was temporarily hired during the summer, but due to the departure of Director of Inclusion Marjorie Young, he has extended his stay for the entire year. On campus, he will serve as a presence of guidance and advocacy for students.
Co-Chair of the OICL Task Force and Dean of Faculty John Taylor said that Davis’s impressive resume and promising work for other institutions was what initially attracted the Task Force to hire him. Davis received his Doctorate in Education from the University of New Hampshire, Masters in Social Work from Boston College, and Bachelor of Arts in History and Sociology from Bates College. He has previously led the Stanley H. King Institute for 18 years, a reputable counseling and training program for teachers and administrators of independent schools in promoting listening skills and empathy. He also served as Director of the Office of Intercultural Education at Bates, as well as the Harvard Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
Since his introduction to the Deerfield community, Davis has met with members of the Deerfield Black Student Alliance and the Asian Student Alliance to hear about personal experiences of different demographics on campus.
“Hearing [students’] stories was incredibly disheartening to me,” said Davis. “There’s a lot that’s being talked about nationally with regards to experiences of students of color at predominantly white institutions like Deerfield, and conveying their stories to the adults within this community is something I feel is needed.” His role as consultant consists of reporting back to the Inclusion Task Force to help them make informed decisions about cultural competency and inclusion on campus.
In addition to working with alliance leaders, Davis also met with focus groups composed of randomly selected students. This helped him garner an understanding of what students already know about the disciplinary procedures that currently exist at Deerfield, and where and how this information has been broadcasted to them. As part of his work with the Inclusion Action Plan Committee, he is exploring the future of the Discipline Education Empowerment Reconciliation (DEER) proposal along with other questions addressing the disciplinary review process.
Davis plans to return to campus again in January to further work with alliance leaders and the various task forces. He explained that his goal for future visits is to simply hear more from Deerfield students themselves.
Davis said, “I’ve been in the game of the field of education long enough to know that there are two kinds of experiences: the experiences that schools tell themselves that students have, and the actual lived experiences of those students, and rarely do the two ever line up. I have a goal of creating a better community for them, whatever that community may be. That’s what gives me joy.”