By SUSAN JONES
In its second year, the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program issued three times as many certificates as the first session in 2017. And now the program is gearing up for a new round of workshops.
Registration opened up last week for the program, which has two required workshops, along with four electives to complete certification. Multiple sessions are offered in the two required classes, which have filled up quickly in the past, according to Kelly Hardon, administration coordinator for Organizational Development in the Office of Human Resource. Each class can hold about 30 people. Hardon says they’ve already had many people register for the new classes.
“It’s really gratifying that a wide variety of people from around the university have participated,” Hardon says. “And we’ve gotten very positive and meaningful feedback.”
In August, 80 faculty and staff members were given certificates at an awards breakfast. The previous year, only 25 certificates were awarded. The total attendance in fiscal year 2018 was 680, compared to 470 in 2017.
Kelly Tatone, administrative assistant in the School of Medicine’s Asthma Institute, completed the certificate program earlier this year and had nothing but praise for the course.
“I got so much out of it,” Tatone said. “Some of the courses were honestly life changing. I know other people in the classes felt the same way.
“The best thing about it was it was a safe place to talk,” she continued. “It was a very diverse instructional staff. And they said this is a safe place, and we’re going to be respectful of each other.”
“I gained valuable insight into our human community that, while right in front of me, hadn’t been clear before. I was given language to address things and cope with those who are less inclined to inclusion and diversity.”
Tatone found the “Identity, Power, and Privilege” workshop, which will be offered at a later date, particularly eye-opening. She said it helped her and others recognize the privileges they have.
At different stations, participants took a bead for every statement they agreed with, such as “I have never been followed around in a store” or “I’ve never been questioned about my credit card.”
At the station on race-related issues, Tatone had a pile of beads, but when she looked at the black woman beside her, she had none.
Other stations dealt with gender issues, with statements like, “I’ve never been judged on my looks” or “People don’t comment on my outfits at work.”
Or religious biases: “My religious holidays are celebrated at work” or “I normally get the day off for my religious holidays.”
Sign up soon
The workshops are open to all faculty and staff. Those interested can take classes over several semesters to get the certificate or can just sign up for individual workshops. The classes can be taken during work hours — at the discretion of supervisors for staff members — without using vacation or personal time.
More classes will be offered in the spring and certificates will be awarded toward the end of the school year, according to Hardon.
The required classes are:
- “Fostering a Diverse and Inclusive Environment: The Why and How,” 9-11 a.m. Oct. 10, Nov. 2 and Nov. 30
- “Preventing Sexual Misconduct: Understanding Your Responsibility,” 1-3 p.m. Sept. 25 and 29
New this year in the elective classes is “Religion Diversity: Challenging Assumptions to Advance Inclusion,” 2:30-4:30 p.m. Nov. 8, led by Margarita Delgado Creamer, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies. The workshop is designed to “increase participants’ awareness of the importance of religion in society and of their assumptions about what religion is, should be, and its place in their own life and others’ lives,” according to the announcement.
Other workshops being offered this fall are:
- “Different Like You: Recognizing Stereotypes and Removing Barriers”
- “Understanding Harassment: How to Recognize and Respond”
- “Baby Boomers to Millennials: Respect and Productivity in the Workplace”
- “Intercultural Competency: Beyond the Basics”
- “Veterans on Campus: Understanding Resources and Opportunity”
- “Workplace Bullying: Understanding a Barrier to Equal Opportunity”
- “Gender Theory, Gender Diversity, and Trans-Inclusive Spaces”
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 412-648-4294.