4 New Year Resolutions for Title IX Coordinators (That You Can Keep!)

As a former Title IX Coordinator for a college and for a K-12 public school district, I thought a lot about what resolutions make sense for a Title IX office this year, as many schools are in the midst of a COVID campus shutdown.  In prior years, a return from the holiday break in December would involve a Title IX office frantically addressing support measures as you head into a new semester, completing complex investigations from the prior semester, and hoping for a peaceful second semester to allow for proper planning for the following school year. It goes without saying that 2020 was a unique year, and many Title IX offices report a decreased number of claims as the result of campus closures and the predominant online learning structure for most schools.  Before you predict a sleepy second semester, remember a Title IX Coordinator’s job is never done and you can always find work to do! This short list of resolutions stems from my own reflections about what I did right in prior positions, and a lot from what I wish I had done better.  The Title IX Coordinator job is one in which you are constantly learning, striving to do more, often with little resources. Below are four suggested Title IX resolutions for you to consider in the coming months:

Resolution 1 - Make Yourself Known If you walk through your campus, do people know you are the Title IX Coordinator?  In a typical school year, the Title IX Coordinator would often be in the office, bogged down in complex investigations, meeting the changing and challenging reporting and documentation requirements of Title IX.  A Title IX Coordinator would normally only see the light of day as they arrive at work and return home.  For smaller colleges and school districts, the Title IX Coordinator is often not a stand-alone position, meaning that the person in this role is juggling a whole host of other responsibilities. A complaint often heard from students is that they don’t even know who the Title IX Coordinator is so how could they know how to file a complaint.  While many campuses remain closed, or only open to administrative staff, the chance to connect on campus is simply not there.   Here are some thoughts about becoming a known leader on your campus:

  • Administrators - develop a monthly plan of outreach via email or attaching yourself to a campus communication, such as “Title IX Updates.” When providing necessary notices that need posting in particular offices, deliver these documents in person so you know where and how they are posted, and you learn the names of the administrators in the office who may receive initial communication from students.  In a multi-campus environment or if your administration is virtual, this will be more challenging, so consider personal emails to the site departments.
  • Students (on campus) – Reach out to student groups, walk through campus, attend student meetings. As administrators, we often believe that students will reach out when they need our services, but the truth is that is not often the case.  Adopt a proactive approach and reach out to student groups whose interests align with the services that your office provides.
  • Students (online) – Ensure that students can get access to all the information that your office would provide in the face-to-face environment. Make sure your website is user-friendly, and adopt a timely response time to emails. Outline how your office is accepting complaints and generally operating during COVID.  Include photos of your staff and yourself along with any that might show the work you are doing (i.e., training you have provided).
  • Community members, including parents -Participate in meetings on topics that might not seem directly related to Title IX, even if these are only happening on Zoom or Google Meet. A well-functioning website will go a long way with this group as well.

Resolution 2 - Connect with the Local Title IX Community One of the greatest assets that has served me well over my 10+ years in Title IX work is the ability to connect and collaborate with the local and national Title IX community.  Since the new regulations on Title IX were adopted in August 2020, many questions abound about how to make the necessary changes to policies and procedures.  A great source of relevant information is from your local community members who hold similar positions.  Are you connecting regularly with this group?  It is often a great comfort to learn that you are not the only who has questions about policy interpretation or what to do next.  As many of you know, the Title IX Coordinator job is one that turns over frequently.  Having this network of professionals and regularly connecting with them can make a big difference in what can be a very isolating job.

Resolution 3 - Explore Professional Development Opportunities A Title IX Coordinator’s job includes many responsibilities, and a slower time like we are in now might be just the chance you need to attend a training and develop a new skill.  In the past, trainings often required you to take time off work, travel to another location, and return to double the work.  Many training companies have moved all of these opportunities online, and now is a great time to schedule some trainings for yourself.  Consider a monthly calendar of opportunities going forward.

Resolution 4 - Train Your Staff One of the most dynamic responsibilities for a Title IX Coordinator is to train faculty, staff, and students.  The new regulations made a number of changes to who needs to be trained regularly and which topics.  For some colleges and school districts, this may have been the first school year efforts were made to train all of your staff or your trainings required significant changes.  But training does not need to be a one-hit wonder for the Title IX office.  Develop creative ways that you might get yourself in front of the various audiences on your campus or consider developing some “public service” messages for your website.

HOW CAN TITLE IX CONSULT HELP YOU STICK TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS?

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *