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 Does Amherst Offer CRGs?
Alongside student-centered programming focused on belonging, and continuing the College’s efforts to respond to the needs articulated in the 2017 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 did Amherst conduct a pilot period for CRGs?
There are a number of best practices in the world of CRGs, but we wanted to ensure we were putting in place a structure that worked best for our community. Throughout the pilot, we assessed the effectiveness of programming, meeting schedules, facilitator support, and budgetary considerations, to name a few. This information informed the current model that is in place.
What groups were a part of the pilot program?
The pilot groups were:
- People of color
- First generation
Why were those specific groups chosen?
Some of these groups had already been meeting in informal ways on campus. Others had 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 help determine schedules and content for CRG gatherings, coordinate logistics, and meet regularly with Rocky Wood to provide feedback and discuss what support would be helpful moving forward.
For more information on co-facilitator responsibilities and guidelines, please click here.
What if I have an idea for a CRG that I think would be useful for our community?
Great!!! We welcome proposals for new CRGs that community members believe will meet the needs of the staff and faculty community and serve the CRG mission. To propose a new CRG, please complete this form.
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.
All meetings should 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 the Office of Workforce Equity and Inclusive Leadership. 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 budget for each CRG.
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 Rocky Wood at email@example.com.