Building a Culture of Equity and Inclusion: August 2013 Workshop

In August 2012, the President's Office convened a diversity summit for faculty and staff; seven committees 
formed to advance the work identified as crucial next steps in fostering diversity and inclusion.  Since 
then members of the Diversity Facilitation committee have met with the goal of developing a campaign to 
help students, faculty, staff and administration establish cultural competencies that will aid us in building 
a culture of equity and inclusion.  We are launching the campaign August 19/20, 2013, with a two-day 
workshop led by Dr. Kathy Obear of Alliance for Change to train twenty-nine facilitators, each of whom 
will commit to planning and leading two 90-minute sessions throughout the academic year.

The Workshop and Beyond
The two-day workshop will provide sixteen hours of training for facilitators and come with a $300 
stipend.  Facilitators will learn and practice core facilitation skills through a variety of activities, 
discussions and scenarios related to diversity and inclusion.  Dr. Obear will help facilitators navigate 
difficult dialogues and triggering events that might arise in their work and focus on presenting a breadth of 
differences so that facilitators understand a full range of micro and macro aggressions experienced at the 
university.  She will also model an example of the 90-minute session that facilitators will be asked to 
lead and provide facilitators with practical, concrete skills for success.  Facilitators may be asked to do 
some pre-work, including readings and a detailed self-assessment, prior to the workshop.
Beyond the two-day workshop, facilitators will be invited to deepen their capacity as facilitators by 
working in small groups or as a whole to practice delivering these 90-minute sessions.  They will then be 
expected to plan and deliver two 90-minute sessions over the course of the academic year; most sessions 
will be delivered with a partner, and each facilitator will receive a $100 stipend per session.  Dr. Obear 
has further agreed to meet virtually with facilitators to debrief their experiences leading sessions and to 
identify action steps that will help them continue developing their facilitation skills.

The 90-Minute Sessions
The 90-minute sessions presented by facilitators will be interactive, built around examination of stories 
from the Welcome Project and/or scenarios adapted from experiences people on campus have had with 
bias and exclusion.  Facilitators are not expected to be perfect models of equity and inclusion; instead 
they will model the kind of sharing and self-examination hoped for from participants.  This will serve the 
two-fold purpose of increasing trust among participants and impressing upon participants the ongoing 
process of change necessary for equity and inclusion. The Diversity Facilitation committee anticipates the 
following outcomes from these sessions.  Participants will:

  •    recognize the changing demographics of campus and Valparaiso University’s commitment to inclusion,
  •    identify the breadth of social dynamics (race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual  
       orientation, disability, religion, etc.) that contribute to bias and exclusion, 
  •    learn strategies to address conflict around bias and exclusion and to create safe, inclusive spaces in the 
       classroom and work environment.