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St. Olaf College

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
1520 St Olaf Ave
Northfield, Minnesota 55057
(507) 786-2222
Email address
School Information
"Founded in 1874 by Norwegian Lutheran immigrants, St. Olaf is a nationally ranked liberal arts college of the ELCA located in Northfield, Minnesota." "St. Olaf College offers a traditional four-year liberal arts education distinguished by both breadth and depth. Within the bachelor of arts degree program, academic majors are offered in 41 different disciplines and subject areas in the natural and mathematical sciences, fine arts, social sciences, and humanities. Students also may pursue an individually designed major on any subject that permits coherent, in-depth study using resources available through the college." The college enrolls over 3,000 students, has over 200 faculty, and offers 41 different undergraduate degree programs. (Source: (Source:
General Information
In addition to sponsoring the “Bringing Anti-Racism Training up the Hill" podcast, St. Olaf College has financed research into inclusivity. Fifty “inclusive teaching and learning” project grants were awarded by the college. The university has instituted anti-racism training sessions for students, staff, and faculty. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at St. Olaf works to "[attract] and [retain] a diverse population of students, faculty, staff, and Regents."
  • One of the priorities of the 2023 St. Olaf Strategic Plan is to "[c]ontinue to increase student diversity" and to "[i]ncrease sustained engagement among students who are racially and culturally different from one another...."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • The university announced, "Beginning in January, all St. Olaf College faculty, staff, and students will participate in a campus-wide anti-racism training program led by the Washington Consulting Group. "Each faculty and staff member will sign up for a 2.5-hour training session, and students will sign up for a 2-hour session."
  • The college announced, "The St. Olaf Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office will be offering a professional development opportunity for our staff and faculty on November 17 titled 'Critical Dialogue Strategies to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work and Conversations.' During this training, faculty and staff will gain facilitation skills that will aid in leading, participating, and moving forward the DEI work in departments and offices across campus."
  • The college offered professional development opportunities, such as "Understanding the Bias Reporting System," "Restorative Justice Training," "Understanding the Trial and Verdict of Derek Chauvin," "Cultural Humility Workshop," "Critical Dialogue Strategies Workshop," "Outward Inclusion and Outward Leadership Workshop," and "Latinx: To Be or Not to Be?"
  • The college announced the "Diversity in the Workplace — Student Workers Training." The college said, "This is a new DEI initiative sponsored by the Taylor Center, the Piper Center, the Vice President for Human Resources, and the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. This initiative supports St. Olaf’s commitment to create an equitable and inclusive community, and gives students perspectives and skills that they can use both on campus and in their work after graduation."
  • "The college has created a campus-wide training program with the expectation that everyone will participate in this transformational educational process, which is designed to lift up and honor all of our humanity and build our skills and competencies for the ongoing work of co-creating an inclusive St. Olaf Culture."
  • One of the priorities of the 2023 St. Olaf Strategic Plan is to "[e]xpand employee professional development opportunities that advance anti-racism, equity, and inclusion."
  • Regarding its commitment to anti-racist work, St. Olaf's Division of Student Life states that it would "[f]ocus on starting anti-racism conversations and work with staff starting with onboarding and roll out opportunities for long-tenured members of our division." Additionally, the division would "[e]nroll in outside training and professional development to learn and implement best practices for anti-racism work."
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The college announced, "First-year students engaged for the first time this fall with the new Ole Core Curriculum. This new Ole Core responds to the request of students and faculty to be more intentional about integrating discussions and conversations around DEIA. One of the many changes of the new Ole Core is adding a power and race requirement where students gain knowledge of how race and ethnicity can contribute to inequality in contemporary U.S. society, and how these forms of inequality intersect with other social characteristics and institutions such as gender, religion, sexual orientation, social class, and the environment."
  • Intro to Race and Ethnic Studies (RACE 121), is "required for the concentration and major [Race and Ethnic Studies]," and is described as follows: "This course provides an introduction to critical concepts and key readings about race and racism that are important to the field of Ethnic Studies. Focusing on identities and communities, students learn about racial formation and difference in U.S. and comparative cultural and historical contexts. How does race intersect with class, gender, nation, and sexuality to produce privileges and oppressions?"
  • St. Olaf utilizes the "Theory of Transformation" in order to advance and embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into its curriculum and pedagogy. A summary of how DEI is incorporated is listed and includes the following strategies: "Equity and inclusion intended learning outcomes in multiple other majors and concentrations, Conversations, and other academic programs" and "Courses across the curriculum examining one or more aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion."
Disciplinary Measures
  • St. Olaf outlines its bias reporting protocol and states, "The college expects its students, faculty, and staff to refrain from acts of intolerance directed at other members, including (but not limited to) harassment, hate speech, and discrimination."
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • The Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts at St. Olaf provides the college community with "accessible learning materials and resources to situate and explain the persistent impact of racism and support anti-racist, decolonized praxis in the classroom, campus community, and beyond."
  • St. Olaf's Division of Student Life provides a variety of anti-racism resources which includes a link to the Black Lives Matter organization. The Division states, "we affirm this pain; we denounce racism, we firmly believe Black Lives Matter, and we are committed to building a racially just society and an antiracist community."
Program and Research Funding
  • 50 “inclusive teaching and learning” project grants were awarded.
  • The purpose of the George Floyd Fellowship for Social Change is to "directly support the advancement and development of the Black/African-American community in the United States whose populations reflect the social, political and economic barriers creating the conditions leading to the police involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN on May 25, 2020." Students chosen for the fellowship "will work towards improving the collective experience of these marginalized communities by focusing on and advancing the work of racial justice, social justice and equity within the academic and/or pedagogical framework."
  • According to the college's "Theory of Transformation" financial resources section, St. Olaf "allocates millions of dollars each year to support the college’s DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] efforts."
  • Zoom discussion series “Voices of Equity on the Hill” launched with a podcast titled, “Bringing Anti-Racism Training up the Hill,” in which panelist recommended anti-racist readings.
  • The College announced, "This year we launched the Co-Creating an Inclusive Community Initiative that aims to engage students, staff, and faculty in working together to envision and create a more inclusive St. Olaf: one in which people of all identities experience connection, belonging, and agency."
  • In March 2022, the college hosted a speaker event on "Antiracism as Religion."
  • The Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier released a progress update on the college's antiracism initiatives.
  • On May 6 and 7, 2022, the college will be hosting the "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium."
  • The Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at St. Olaf "counsel[s] the President and the President Leadership Team on the implementation of equity, inclusion, and anti-racist strategies...."
  • St. Olaf outlines in detail its "Theory of Transformation' which "identifies and defines our DEI aspirations and the many ways we are working to realize them." Its DEI goals are diagramed, and can be clicked on for further, more detailed information.
Symbolic Actions
  • The college said, "This year we established the inaugural Social Justice Award to recognize an individual faculty member or group who has made an outstanding contribution to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at St. Olaf."
  • The St. Olaf Biology Department released an anti-racism statement which reads as follows: "While today we hope that biological inquiry offers pathways to mitigate racism and injustice, the field of biology has been the source of misinformation used to justify unequal treatment of humans. Socially constructed human races have historical roots in the work of biologists, but we now know they are not biologically based. The boom of human genomic data in the past 20 years continues to show that socially constructed race does not correspond to the genetic variation observed in populations of people on the earth. While race is a social concept, systemic racism continues to harm people of color in countless ways, including negatively impacting health outcomes and creating obstacles to career advancement in the sciences."
Last updated March 11th, 2024
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