Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Colleague Resource Group?
Colleague Resource Groups (CRGs) are groups of people (staff and faculty) who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics, interests, or life experiences.
Why is Amherst starting CRGs?
Alongside student-centered programming focused on belonging, and continuing the College’s efforts to respond to the needs articulated in last year’s staff survey, Amherst is developing and implementing programs and initiatives to enhance the staff and faculty workplace and community experience.
By providing opportunities for people of similar identities, experiences, and interests to gather, CRGs help staff and faculty connect to each other and strengthen their relationships and sense of purpose and belonging, allowing community members to bring that increased sense of engagement to their work. Research confirms that CRGs have the potential to increase morale, retention and engagement. Participants will be provided with opportunities for cross-campus collaboration, to provide experiential feedback to inform college-wide programming and practices, to share and receive information, and to identify paths for professional and leadership development. This supports the College’s efforts to increase connection across departments and divisions, and sustain a community of belonging for all.
The Offices of Inclusive Leadership and Human Resources are collaborating in this effort, with Dina Levi and Maria-Judith Rodriguez as co-leaders.
What is the Mission of the CRGs at Amherst?
The mission of the CRGs is to create an affirming gathering space for all staff and faculty interested in sharing identities, experiences and/or interests.* The CRGs will support the College’s efforts to build community, transform our culture, and connect to and achieve its mission. They will also support efforts towards the inclusion of historically marginalized communities.
Why is Amherst conducting a pilot period for CRGs?
There are a number of best practices in the world of CRGs, but we want to ensure we are putting in place a structure that works best for our community. Throughout the pilot, we will assess the effectiveness of programming, meeting schedules, facilitator support, and budgetary considerations, to name a few.
What groups will be a part of the pilot program?
The pilot groups are:
- People of color
- First generation
Why were those specific groups chosen?
Some of these groups have already been meeting in informal ways on campus. Others have been specifically requested by staff and faculty members.
Who can attend CRG meetings and programs?
Every CRG is open to all members of the staff and faculty.
Can I join more than one CRG?
Yes! Please participate as widely as your time and interests allow.
What is involved in co-facilitating a CRG and what should I do if I want to be a co-facilitator?
Co-facilitators will help determine schedules and content for CRG gatherings, coordinate logistics, and meet regularly with Dina Levi and Maria-Judith Rodriguez to provide feedback and discuss what support would be helpful moving forward.
We are looking for co-facilitators for every group -- please contact Dina and Maria-Judith at CRGs@amherst.edu if you are interested.
What if I have an idea for a CRG that I think would be useful for our community?
Great! We welcome your ideas. Once the pilot program has ended, we will reach out to the community with details on how to start a CRG.
When and how frequently will CRGs meet?
Each group will determine a meeting schedule that is most appropriate for its members, likely every four to six weeks. However, during the pilot period, because there will be work to do to get the program off the ground, groups will likely meet every two weeks.
All meetings will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
What will CRG programming look like?
It is up to the co-facilitators of each CRG to work with the group and determine what effective programming will look like, following standard guidelines provided by Dina and Maria-Judith. CRGs may provide campus-wide programming such as speakers or activities, may consider meaningful conversations or outings, or may simply provide space and time to come together.
Is there financial support from the college?
Amherst is invested in the success of CRGs and has allocated a small budget for the pilot program. The total amount of funding for CRGs moving forward will be assessed at the end of the pilot period.
As a supervisor/chair, what can I do to support CRGs?
Supervisors and chairs can support this pilot program by communicating the importance of CRGs as opportunities for staff engagement, inclusion, and enhancing the overall work experience, and by facilitating time for employees to participate.
What if I have more questions?
Please email your questions, comments or suggestions to CRGs@amherst.edu.