Thursday April 9, 2009

Campus Report : April 9, 2009

Dialogues on Diversity

Eight employees, enthusiastic about improving campus diversity and newly trained to facilitate ethnic and racial dialogue, led meetings throughout the winter term to help 34 dialogue participants know themselves and their colleagues better and discern their roles in institutional change.

The program, led by Jack Ling, executive director for institutional diversity and inclusion, and Celine O'Neill, learning and organizational development manager, is the second round of campus dialogues on race and ethnicity in the 2008-09 academic year.

The participants, all volunteers, met four times in small groups to explore identity, experiences, power, privilege and interpersonal understanding, Link said.

"It's not necessarily about changing UD, but looking at how the changes an individual makes in himself can change the environment," he said.

Such grassroots methods show more promise than those that aim to bring about change through a mass approach, O'Neill said.

"When we set our expectations for the dialogues, the goal was not grand-scale institutional change," O'Neill said. "The purpose was to reflect on our experiences, hear the experiences of others and come to a deeper understanding of others."

The grassroots approach, she said, "acknowledges that we all have a different capacity to make a difference on campus."

Ling and O'Neill are planning a third series of dialogues for staff in the summer months and one for faculty and students in the fall term. The program has the support of Joyce Carter, vice president for human resources, and President Daniel J. Curran.

For information or to register for future dialogues, contact Ling at 229-4073.