Inclusive VT – This link houses information and programs related to VT’s campus wide diversity and inclusion efforts.

Diversity Education –  Look here to find university led book circles, training in inclusive pedagogy, diversity search advocate programs, and more for faculty and staff.

Inclusive Insights – Inclusive VT Insights are micro-learning modules available to all Virginia Tech Hokies, anytime, anywhere.  Use them to facilitate discussions in meetings and classrooms.

VT Women Resources – This page includes resources for faculty and staff who identify as women.

VT Calendar of Events – Find many of the InclusiveVT events and how to participate on the University-wide calendar.

A random selection of books that help us explore all kinds of social, racial, cultural, and historical topics.  If you have others, please share them with us!

The Dismantle Collective describes allyship is a process.  An ally is defined as a member of a dominant group who works to dismantle oppression from which s/he benefits.  The Collective reminds us that that “ally” is not an identity, it is an ongoing and lifelong process that involves a lot of work.

Qualities of An Anti-Racist Ally

A list of qualities for genuine allyship was put together by Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) for their Anti-Racism Education Training in 2005.

  • Does something daily to earn the title of ‘ally.’ Recognizes that their “white ally badge” expires at the end of the day and must be renewed by a person of color.
  • Title is not self-identified by white people but identified by people of color
  • Understands that one person of color’s white ally is not automatically another person of color’s ally.
  • Identifies and names racism directly.
  • Takes the front line as a buffer; not as a ‘savior.’
  • Recognizes that remaining silent, “neutral” or “objective” can be a form of race privilege.
  • Takes responsibility for self-education and doesn’t expect POC to teach them.
  • Cultivates genuine relationships with people of color that are mutually beneficial.
  • Is hyper-vigilant about interrupting racism but is not hyper-arrogant about being a “white ally.”
  • Struggles every day with understanding and undoing aspects of their own privilege.
  • Works regularly to develop a deeper understanding of ongoing colonial relationships.
  • Understands that people of color’s experiences of racism is not debatable.
  • Doesn’t require people of color to display proof of racist injury.
  • Knows that people of color are the experts of their own experiences.
  • Acts in solidarity with people of color without taking over their liberation efforts.
  • Doesn’t expect gratitude from people of color, or to be recognized as a white ally.
  • Takes on racism as a problem because it is personally offensive.
  • Is motivated by a quest for justice, rather than a sense of guilt.
  • Open to and invites challenge. Expects support and accountability from other emerging allies.
  • Unconditionally opposes oppression with no strings attached.
  • Accepts that making mistakes is part of becoming an effective ally.
  • Acknowledges, apologizes for, and learns from own mistakes without retreating.
  • Interrupts racist statements or behaviors whether or not a person of color is present or objects.
  • Participates respectfully in communities of color and avoids “cultural tourism.”
  • Is committed to social justice and an end to oppression in all its forms.

In an blog entry I wrote, “until recently, being a white ally was an act of betrayal to all that was considered “American”. So much so that white allies were called “traitors to their race”.  White people in power sought to dismiss such people as pathetic self-loathers. In other words, those in power used this language as a way to isolate and stigmatize those who believed that “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity” (Ignatiev and Garvey, 1996). Ever since the concept of race was invented as a tool of social and economic control, whites who opposed racialization were shunned and ostracized for their beliefs. Since the 1690s, those who spoke against racial inequity faced a life of isolation and violence for their convictions. It was only in the early 1990s when white progressives took the “Race Traitor” moniker back as a source of pride and identity.

Scholars and authors like Theodore W. Allen, Noel Ignatiev, and John Garvey saw the Race Traitor as the intellectual soul of a movement seeking to dismantle the white race. As they saw it, whiteness was a barrier to justice and equality. They argued that deeply ingrained social problems could not be solved until the privileges of white skin were abolished. Since the white race is a historical rather than a natural construct, they said that this same construct can be undone. However, they warned that dismantling whiteness would only happen if a “noticeable segment” of whites were willing to reject conformity to their color. Therefore, anyone who was unwilling to dismiss the benefits conferred by racial status were just as complicit as white supremacists in impeding racial justice. This was a bold challenge to the heretofore culture of liberal complacency and scholarly apathy with regard to race and racism. Upon the shoulders of these scholars, activists, teachers, and laborers, we build our new white ally movement. We must learn from those who came before us and deepen our understanding of what it means to stand humbly in solidarity with oppressed people.”

From these scholars, we learn to ask ourselves a series of questions that challenge us to dig into the discomfort and injured egos to explore how we should show up as a humble, effective, and decentered ally. If you consider yourself a white ally, be sure you have asked yourself the same. I have posed some questions (and opinions) here as a start.

  1. Have you explored the true motivation for your actions? Do you want to see complete eradication of racism and unequal privilege in this country? If not, be honest with yourself and others and explore what is “in it for you”?
  2. Do you see racism as simply binary? Do you label people racist or not racist? Label them as good or bad people? Are you worried that others may see you as a racist or as a bad person? If you are still in this simplistic head space, you may find that you are not ready for true authentic allyship.
  3. Are you genuinely reflecting on how you cope (internally and externally) with being the target of centuries of repressed anger and inequity? Are you honest with yourself about how it feels to be the target of such ire? This is lifelong emotional work for white allies, and it does not get easier over time. Without such reflection, resentment grows because you become unable to separate the white individual YOU from the white collective YOU. If you are not acknowledging the personal torment it can cause to be the target of all that pain and anger, you cannot show up as an ally in an authentic way.
  4. Have you done the intellectual and historical research to understand the nature how we got to where we are today? Are you simply following Twitter assertions about injustice or are you really doing your own independent analysis?
  5. Are you unapologetically vigilant about ensuring that you and other white folks are taking your cues from Black leaders and Black agendas? Are you making sure to take a backseat in decision making and using your resources to advance Black and Brown created agendas instead of your own? If you think that you (or other whites) have any authority to drive the race agenda, you are in it for the wrong reasons.

White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy

Scaffolded Anti-Racism Resources

White Ally Toolkit Workbook

White Allyship 101

Selected Readings

Allen, T. (2012). The invention of the white race. London: Verso.

Ignatiev, N., &Garvey, J. (2014). Race traitor. London: Routledge.

Roithmayr, D. (2014). Reproducing Racism: How Everyday Choices Lock in White Advantage. New York; London: NYU Press.

Virginia Tech Principles of Community

Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching and learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. Learning from the experiences that shape Virginia Tech as an institution, we acknowledge those aspects of our legacy that reflected bias and exclusion. Therefore, we adopt and practice the following principles as fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members:

We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.

We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.

We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the
University. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.

We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on
age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.

We pledge our collective commitment to these principles in the spirit of the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Virginia Tech’s Indigenous Land Acknowledgement

Indigenous writer Selena Mills reminds us that land acknowledgements are an honest and historically accurate way to recognize the traditional territories of a place. They can be presented verbally or visually: think signage, short theatre presentations or simple spoken-word greetings.  We encourage administrators, faculty, staff and students to begin convenings with language that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

Virginia Tech’s American Indian & Indigenous Community Center has developed an acknowledgement that includes recognition of our complicity as a university in the practice of slavery and how this practice helped to build the institution we have today.

“We acknowledge the Tutelo and Monacan people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognize their continuing connection to the land, water, and air that Virginia Tech consumes. We pay respect to the Tutelo and Monacan Nations, and to their elders past, present, and emerging.

We also acknowledge the university’s historical ties to the indentured and enslaved whose labors built this institution. We pay respect to these people for their contributions to Virginia Tech.”

You can listen to Center Director, Melissa Faircloth describe the acknowledgement, why it is important and how we can use it here.

We encourage faculty, staff, and students to consider opening convenings with this language as a centering activity for our engagement, actions, and decision making. 

We do recognize that land acknowledgment alone is not enough. It’s merely a starting point. Ask yourself: how do I plan to take action to support Indigenous communities? The Native Governance Center provides some examples of ways to take action:

  • Support Indigenous organizations by donating your time and/or money.
  • Support Indigenous-led grassroots change movements and campaigns.
  • Encourage others to do so.
  • Commit to returning land. Learn more about how governments, businesses and individuals are returning land to Indigenous communities.

What’s new at CAUS and beyond

Are you working on a faculty search this summer?  Are you leading a faculty recruitment effort?  Here is some useful information!

Writing an Inclusive Job Description
A well-constructed job description contains not only the qualifications and criterion for the role, but also serves as the outline for selection and future job performance evaluation. Research and best practices indicate the following strategies can be used to create job descriptions that will
attract a diverse candidate pool in faculty searches.  Read more.

Inclusive Hiring Language
Why use Inclusive Excellence Language in your Position Descriptions?
The position description is typically the first item an applicant sees when making the decision to seek out your institution for possible employment. One might say that the position description is similar to receiving an “invitation” to attend an event. Research suggests that words within a position announcement can detract diverse candidates from applying for the position. Conversely, words can increase the diversity of your applicant pool when aligned with your Inclusive Excellence strategy. Read more.

Enhancing Department Climate

This brochure, Enhancing Department Climate, was prepared by the Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The brochure is a guide for department chairs with practical and actionable steps for setting an inclusive standard for department climate.

Enhancing Department Climate Brochure
Don’t forget to include your accommodation statement. It isn’t just the inclusive thing to do… its a requirement!

All institutional and departmental publications that describe or invite public participation or attendance in programs at the university, and all university-sponsored events held off campus, are required to contain a disability accommodation statement.

The statement must be in the invitation or announcement of the event. It should provide an event contact, email, and phone number. The accommodation notice will enable the event planner to arrange reasonable accommodations in advance.

Pre-registration for an event provides an opportunity for event planners to provide important details about the event. A comprehensive description of the event should include location, environmental conditions, captioning availability, the availability of ASL interpreting, etc. If an event includes overnight lodging, the event planner should investigate the accessibility features of the lodging.

What is an accommodation statement? Read more!

Sample Syllabus Statement

VT’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity is delivering an online development course entitled “Anti-Racist Teaching”.  This week’s lesson is on Enacting Anti-Racist Pedagogy.  Here is a snippet from this course…

Below is a sample syllabus statement that establishes the “why” at the start of the semester:

“This course’s syllabus was designed to reflect and foster an anti-racist approach to teaching and learning. Anti-racism, as defined by the advocacy group Race Forward, is “the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life.” Scholars have studied the application of anti-racist in the classroom for decades, and an anti-racist approach can be used in any field of study. What does anti-racism look like in the classroom? Though conscious choices about what authorial voices to focus on, intentionally designing communication expectations and power relationships in the classroom, using discussion to examine and oppose the forces of racism that exert influence on the field of study, and building continuous feedback and iteration into the design of the course itself, our goal is to cultivate the conditions for productive dialogue and constructive change to help us combat systemic racism through the lens of this course.  Conversations about systemic racism are rarely easy, and we expect that there will be times of disagreement and even conflict during our class discussions. That’s okay — and in fact, it’s often necessary. Our goal is to use the unique environment of a college classroom to engage peers from a wide range of backgrounds and communities, and become exposed to ideas and experiences that can help us question our assumptions, critically examine our own and others’ points of view, and learn from one another.”

Learn more by enrolling yourself at TLOS

Sign up for your free NCFDD sub-account membership
Virginia Tech is now an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). The independent center provides professional development, training, and mentorship opportunities to more than 65,000 members representing colleges and universities in the United States. The center focuses on helping faculty, particularly underrepresented faculty, successfully make the transition from graduate student to professor.

As an institutional member, graduate students, post-doctoral associates, and faculty members from all ranks can enroll in a free sub-account membership to get access to the center’s online resources which include webinars, multi-week courses, discussion forums, accountability matches, and career center, among others. Resources focus on increasing productivity, time management, maintaining work-life balance, resolving conflict, personal organizations, and cultivating mentors, sponsors, and collaborators. All faculty members at Virginia Tech are able to sign-up for an account to access the center’s online resources.

https://faculty.vt.edu/faculty-development/national-center-faculty-develop-diversity.html

The Urgency of Now

We are in the midst of radical social change: a global pandemic, a national social justice crisis, and environmental and climate shifts. Now, more than ever, we must address racism, economic inequality, and bias and discrimination based on identity. Now, more than ever, we need the innovation and creativity of diverse teams to solve global problems. Now, more than ever, we must reimagine how we identify, develop, and value talent. Now, more than ever, we must create more equitable opportunity and access to education. Now, more than ever, diversity, equity, and inclusion must guide our decisions. Now, more than ever, we need to create a more just and inclusive society.

The InclusiveVT Difference can make a difference.

Read more here.

College statement on Jan 6 in Washington DC

Dear CAUS colleagues,

The storming and desecration of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 by a violent mob represents an attack on one of our most cherished institutions of democracy. Democracy is a form of government that allows for peaceful protest and wondering aloud about the direction of the country but disavows the undermining of a peaceful transition of power or disfranchising the popular vote by an angry crowd. The attempt to prevent our elected representatives from certifying the legal results of a national election by resorting to mayhem and violence was without justification and propelled by regrettable misinformation articulated by politicians who should know better. These scenes and events are deeply troubling in that they have provided Americans a glimpse of the possibility of the end of democracy.

As academics, we the undersigned wish to reaffirm the value of democracy, and the importance of knowledge and truth in establishing and preserving it. The generation of knowledge and the pursuit of truth are fundamental to the continuing pursuit of a free, peaceful and just society. Art, architecture, policy and construction are ways to know and understand our world so that we can build it better. At CAUS, we are committed to being an academic institution that uses the knowledge and skills specific to our disciplines to encourage the development of a critically aware, socially just, and responsible citizenry. We also pledge that we stand against injustice and violence in our daily practice and believe that all Hokies can and should do the same.

Richard Blythe, Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Aaron Betsky, Director of the School of Architecture + Design

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Director of the School of Public and International Affairs

Brian Kleiner, Director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction

Ann-Marie Knoblauch, Interim Director of the School of Visual Arts

Lee Gardenswartz, Ph.D is a leading scholar in intercultural communications and intercultural studies.  

HOW DEI HAS EVOLVED OVER 40 YEARS
15 Mar 2021 4:30 PM |
Lee Gardenswartz, Ph.D. and Anita Rowe, Ph.D.

We’ve been doing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion work in the United States since 1980 and in that time, we’ve experienced a gradual and significant evolution in the field.

1. From race and gender to a broader, more inclusive definition

In the early days of diversity work, the definition was generally limited to race and gender and sometimes age. Our 4 Layers of Diversity model (1995), built on Loden and Rosener’s two-layer depiction, expanded the definition and discussion to many more dimensions of inclusion and exclusion. Now intersectionality is a common concept that expresses the complexity of our human differences. In addition, new dimensions keep being added such as mental ability and political affiliation as well as more accurate labels such as gender identity replacing gender.

2. It’s not just for them, it’s for everyone and everyone has a role and responsibility

When the conversations began years ago, discussions about inclusion did not encompass everyone and the issue was most often positioned as oppressed vs. oppressor. Now there is more of a sense that all have something to gain from inclusion and also all have responsibility to address inequities and biases. Allyship is front and center in the conversation, calling on those with privilege to use it in removing barriers to equity. There is an attempt to have all groups considered and included in both identifying obstacles and creating solutions.

3. Moving from individual development to systemic action for culture change

Early on, most of the effort and resources in DEI were focused on training as the “fix” for all that was wrong. Ranging from sheep-dipping and check-off-the-box sessions to deeper work on bias, isms and culture, training centered around giving individuals awareness, knowledge and skills. However, it soon became apparent that no matter how effective, training alone was not enough to change organizations. Attention turned to systems changes by focusing on policies and processes that needed to be addressed to remove barriers to equity and inclusion and truly leverage diversity. Now most organizations have detailed action plans that target changes in systems such as recruitment, reward and accountability as well as processes such as promotion and performance management.

4. Greater accountability with emphasis on leaders walking the talk

One of the most formidable and important changes we have seen is a focus on leadership accountability. More and more, leaders are expected to not just say the right things but also match their behaviors to those words. Lip service no longer works, and organizations know that what makes a major difference is leaders who walk the talk. They are held accountable for new norms and behaviors around equity and inclusion.

5. Clear strategic business case for EID

Early pitches for DEI tended to focus on appeals to morality and ethics. It was the right thing to do. However, it soon became clear that a more compelling case rested in the strategic arena. Leveraging diversity and developing inclusion were not an end in themselves but a means to an end. Achieving goals, whether that was reaching new market, closing the achievement gap, reducing health disparities or retaining satisfied customers, became the end and DEI was the means. DEI is now generally seen as increasing both individual effectiveness and the organization’s ROI.

6. Vocabulary has evolved

Before there was diversity there was multiculturalism, the indication that employees and customers did not all have the same background, beliefs, customs and language and that attention to those differences was needed. In the 1970’s, EEO laws focused attention on equality and Affirmative Action until the Hudson Report in the late 80’s moved the focus to diversity. It soon became clear that having differences wasn’t enough, though. Leveraging them through inclusion was required so Diversity and Inclusion became the name for this arena. Most recently, a renewed emphasis on equity has broadened the label and focus to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

7. Greater sensitivity to language

How we talk about differences matters and there has always been a focus on language and terminology in EID work. Though complaints about political correctness continue, the words we use about differences continue to change add to the vocabulary. Moves from Colored to Negro to Black or from Hispanic to Chicano to Mexican-American to Latino in the past have counterparts now in BPOC, LBGTQ and Latinx. Words like microaggressions, microinequities and cisgender are now common concepts and the use of preferred pronouns in introductions to indicate one’s gender identity is becoming more routine. The focus has shifted from knowing the correct label to an increased sensitivity in honoring how people want to be addressed and treated.

8. Understanding of bias as a human condition

Early in the days of Diversity and Inclusion, bias and prejudice were talked about as though they were blots on one’s character that had to be eradicated. People often came to diversity sessions with fear and trepidation thinking they would be shamed, blamed and chastised. Over the years, this work has moved to an understanding that bias is part of the human condition and that all of us need to be aware of it, understand it and then manage it so that it does not result in behaviors and systems that cause inequity and ineffectiveness. Neuroscience and work on unconscious bias has contributed greatly to this more helpful way to deal with prejudice.

9. Greater emphasis on results and evaluation

One of the weakest areas in DEI work has traditionally been measuring results – what works and what doesn’t and what is the impact of changes and interventions. Because of the increase in a strategic mindset, there is a greater emphasis on metrics. It is common for organizations to have DEI dashboards and scorecards where specific measures are monitored, and results quantified. In addition, measures have moved beyond demographics. Employee engagement as an indicator of inclusion, market share, and customer/end user feedback are examples of results that are now part of the evaluation landscape. And evaluation results are often tied to performance objectives.

10. Increasing polarization

As the desire for equity and inclusion has evolved, so has increasing polarization. Politics and religion have increasingly played roles in this division, often attempting to discredit DEI as a liberal and left-wing issue. This polarization has fueled a new level of emotionality that makes it more difficult to create environments of inclusion where all can belong and have a chance to thrive.

Most of these changes have helped create a climate of greater receptivity to DEI that has enabled the work to go deeper and have greater impact. However, increasing polarization in response to the hot buttons of our time – racial injustice, immigration, LBGTQ rights and Covid, has heightened emotionality and stoked the fires of resistance. Not only does dealing with differences often give rise to powerful feelings of fear, anger and frustration, but the challenges due to Covid have brought additional emotions to the work arena. Professionals across the board talk about feeling overwhelmed, isolated and disconnected. Our Emotional Intelligence and Diversity approach has been a way to engage people in the work of inclusion through their feelings, giving them the understanding and tools to remain resilient and effective in dealing with differences and change.

From: The Office of Inclusion and Diversity

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Diversity: Inclusion in the Modern Workplace course (DIMW) will transition to the PageUp Learning Management System (LMS) for employees.

In an effort to streamline the management of faculty and staff learning, the Office for Inclusion and Diversity collaborated with the Human Resources PageUp LMS group to provide a more integrated training experience for employees. An automatically generated course assignment notification will be sent by the PageUp LMS system to active faculty and staff who have not been previously assigned, started, or fully completed the DIMW course in the EVERFI platform.

This course is mandatory for all full- and part-time employees. If it was not originally completed in EVERFI, it must be completed in the PageUp LMS system within 90 days of notice. Faculty and staff will have the ability to view their course completion status in the PageUp LMS system dashboard.

For questions related to diversity training, please contact the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, Diversity Education team, at diversity@vt.edu.

For questions related to the PageUp LMS system, please contact hrservicecenter@vt.edu.

Dear CAUS students, faculty and staff,

The CAUS DEI committee is hosting an event this Monday, March 8 at 5:30pm, open to all who wish to attend. The conversation will be focused around the Virginia Tech Principles of Community and how these important pointers are used in our college. 

The prelude to the Virginia Tech Principles of Community includes the statement, “…we acknowledge those aspects of our legacy that reflected bias and exclusion.” How do we want to go about acknowledging this legacy at CAUS?  How do we hope to come to terms with historical biases and exclusions in our university and in our college?

In celebration of Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community Week, CAUS invites you to join us for an online viewing of “What Are the Principles of Community and Why Are They Referenced So Often?” A recorded discussion by Bev Watford, Associate Dean for Equity and Engagement in the College of Engineering and a live discussion with Cecily Rodriguez, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at CAUS.

Please register for the zoom event here. Hope to see you there! 

CAUS participates in Best Practice Sessions during VT’s Advancing Diversity Mid-Year Gathering

January 12, 2021

The Advancing Diversity Mid-Year Gathering is an InclusiveVT Touchpoint Event. Every year we gather to discuss compelling issues facing our community and celebrate exemplary diversity, equity, and inclusion practices occurring across campus.

By Whom? For Whom? An Initiative of A + D

The goal of our project is to find forums for conversations and actions, with the hope that those become vehicles for collectively finding ways for Design to address equity issues, both through teaching and the work done by students. In other words, we want to enact change, through an organic cultural shift in the School, in which ways of using design to address social issues becomes more informed, and more a part of the School’s culture.

In the video below, Architecture student, Cat Piper, moderates a discussion with Professors Sharone Tomer, Cecily Rodriguez, and Kathryn Clarke Albrights about the initiative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hasSHEn570A&feature=youtu.be

CAUS participates in Best Practice Sessions during VT’s Advancing Diversity Mid-Year Gathering

January 12, 2021

The Advancing Diversity Mid-Year Gathering is an InclusiveVT Touchpoint Event. Every year we gather to discuss compelling issues facing our community and celebrate exemplary diversity, equity, and inclusion practices occurring across campus.

By Whom? For Whom? An Initiative of A + D

The goal of our project is to find forums for conversations and actions, with the hope that those become vehicles for collectively finding ways for Design to address equity issues, both through teaching and the work done by students. In other words, we want to enact change, through an organic cultural shift in the School, in which ways of using design to address social issues becomes more informed, and more a part of the School’s culture.

In the video below, Architecture student, Cat Piper, moderates a discussion with Professors Sharone Tomer, Cecily Rodriguez, and Kathryn Clarke Albrights about the initiative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hasSHEn570A&feature=youtu.be

2021-2023 CAUS Equity and Inclusion Strategic Implementation and Action Plan
Read the implementation plan here.
Definitions to advance our work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Culture refers to the traditions, beliefs, and values of an individual or a group of people, both observable and invisible. Culture should be defined broadly and recognize that the intersectionality between cultural elements such as race, gender, sexual orientation, language, and ethnicity contribute to a person’s sense of self in relation to others, shaping the individual’s personal identity and sense of own culture (CAUS, DEI Committee, 2021).

Diversity is the individual and group differences among people. These include “individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences and behaviors (SHRM Business Plan for Diversity).” These differences are important qualities that we engage and value as we work and learn together in CAUS.

Equity is the social right to just and fair treatment for all people. Within CAUS, equity is an organizational expectation, ensuring that everyone has the resources and opportunities needed to succeed in every stage of education and career development. To achieve equity, we actively identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of marginalized individuals and groups. (Adapted from the original developed at UC Berkeley)

Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which all individuals or groups feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as fully participating members. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. Inclusion integrates diversity and equity into the culture of CAUS, embedding these shared values into the core academic mission and institutional functioning. (Adapted from the original developed at UC Davis)

Full document here.

Connect with Tech’s Cultural Community Centers

American Indian & Indigenous Community Center

The American Indian and Indigenous Community Center (AIICC) serves as a community gathering area and study space. You’ll find the AIICC in room 122 of the Squires Student Center, just to the left of the Welcome Center on the first floor.

Contact missy86@vt.edu to be added to the American Indian and Indigenous Community Center list.

Asian Cultural Engagement Center

The Asian Cultural Engagement Center (ACEC) is the most recent addition to CCC through the efforts of the Asian American Student Union in conjunction with CCC faculty. While the development of the center is ongoing, it can currently accommodate a maximum of 30 people for coalition building, meetings, programs, and gatherings, while also serving as a study space.

Subscribe to the Asian Cultural Engagement Center monthly newsletter.

Black Cultural Center

In 1984, black student leaders from the class of 1985 proposed the establishment of the Black Cultural Center to correlate with the increase in recruitment of black students. The BCC opened in 1991 in 126 Squires Student Center.

Contact tbrentley@vt.edu to be added to the Black Cultural Center list.

El Centro – Hispanic and Latinx Cultural and Community Center

Established July 2016, El Centro is Virginia Tech’s Hispanic & Latinx Cultural Center. You’ll find community, resources, and kinship in 309 Squires Student Center. The Center holds up to 30 people at a time for meetings, programs, and gatherings.

Sign up for the El Centro listserv and newsletter.

LGBTQ+ Resource Center

The LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Virginia Tech was opened on August 15, 2016. The current LGBTQ+ Resource Center would not be possible without the advocacy and support of many past and present LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff representing HokiePRIDE (formerly LGBTA), the LGBT Staff and Faculty Caucus, previous LGBTQ+ coordinators, and the Ex Lapide Alumni Society. We thank you for your energy and fierce advocacy.

Get updates from the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

Intercultural Engagement Center

This is a space where students, faculty, and staff can create and enjoy a welcoming and inclusive environment. The IEC helps to create this environment by providing students, faculty, and staff opportunities to come together across difference in order to deepen understanding, develop the capacity for difficult dialogue, and create community.

Subscribe to the Interfaith Circle Newsletter.

Share your event across the university!

Email your notice to:

Alicia P. Cohen, she/her
Director of Diversity Programs
Office for Inclusion and Diversity (OID)
540-231-1822
acohen@vt.edu

Virginia Tech encourages all bystanders to report any instances of discrimination or harassment to the Office for Equity and Accessibility.

You can contact OEA by phone at (540) 231-2010 or by email at: equityandaccess@vt.edu.

As we work toward increasing the diversity, equity and inclusion capacity at the college, we will use an organizational development approach.  During the initial phases, we will work to build awareness of the conceptual underpinnings and the importance of the work.  Opportunities for learning more will be available for all stakeholders in the college.  Targeted focus on incorporating an equity lens in all decision making and policy processes must follow.  Only then can we expect that stakeholders understand their individual roles and responsibilities in the advancement of this work.

Take a look inside communications and planning for DEI at CAUS.  We are a work in progress.  Information will be added as we move forward.

DEI Starting Points
We have a formal DEI Committee Structure What's next Leadership Information

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty will be a thought-partner to foster open and transparent communication with college senior leadership, working to promote and make progress on strategic priorities related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The committee will promote connections and alignment of needs, priorities and goals of students, staff and faculty across the college, stressing the importance of, and the college’s collective commitment to, this work.

The committee functions in an advisory role to college leadership and will focus their efforts in regard to the following identified areas:

  1. Building DE&I infrastructure – Institutionalizing structures to promote sustainable transformation
  2. Increasing college diversity – Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity
  3. Building a welcoming environment – Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate
  4. Embedding values – Integrating diversity, inclusion and equity values into the academic mission
MISSION AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The committee functions in an advisory role to college leadership and will focus their efforts on regard to the following identified areas:

  1. Building DE&I infrastructure – Institutionalizing structures to promote sustainable transformation
  2. Increasing college diversity – Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity
  3. Building a welcoming environment – Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate
  4. Embedding values – Integrating diversity, inclusion and equity values into the academic mission

The committee has the following broad responsibilities:

    1. Makes formal recommendations to the Dean and Director of Diversity on policies, actions and programs that to support and fulfill diversity related commitments by the college.
    2. Provides routine recommendations and insight to executive staff on issues of culture, climate, equity, inclusion, and diversity in the college.
    3. Reviews and supports the development of School DEI workplans.
    4. Facilitates communication of school DEI goals that inform the annual college DEI implementation plan.
    5. Supports the development of the annual inclusion and equity diversity plan at the college level.
    6. Advises, recommends and supports strategies for recruitment and retention of a diversified faculty, staff and student body.
    7. Reviews and supports strategies for integrating diversity into the curriculum.
    8. Reviews and evaluates diversity related programming and actions in collaboration with the Diversity Director annually.
MEMBERSHIP

Each school director shall nominate the following:

  1. 2 faculty (must come from different programs within the school)
  2. 1 staff (may come from any part of the school)
  3. 1 student (graduate or undergraduate)

Five members are identified by their role. These members have no terms and are filled by the individual (or designee) who serves in that position within the University.

  1. CAUS Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  2. CAUS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  3. CAUS Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
  4. CAUS Director of Academic Advising
  5. University Libraries Head, Art & Architecture Library

Treatment of Current Committee Members

All current committee members are grandfathered into the new committee structure.  For those schools who have more than 2 current representatives on the committee, those positions will not be replaced once the current committee member’s term is complete.

Ad-Hoc Members

Committee leadership may ask for additional members for specific projects or subject matter expertise.  Terms for these members would be based on the completion of the project or need.

Additional Guidelines for Membership

  1. Faculty and staff serve a three-year term.
  2. Students serve one-year terms.
  3. Members in good standing, having attended regular meetings or otherwise actively supported the committee’s mission may request to serve (1) additional term.
  4. The committee shall consist of no less than 20 and no more than 25 members.
  5. The committee may consider the inclusion of alumni and community representatives.
  6. In general, committee membership should reflect a diverse mix of employees, taking into consideration factors such as race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, etc. In addition, members should reflect different business areas of the college.
  7. Participation on this committee is an official form of service and is recognized by the college for evaluation
MINUTES

The Committee Chair will provide minutes of the meetings to committee members.

LEADERSHIP

Committee leadership shall consist of a chair and deputy Chair. Both positions shall serve a term of one year.  After a one year term, the deputy chair then serves a year as committee chair.

VACANCIES

When a vacancy on the committee exists, nominations for new members shall be collected.  The committee will send recommendations for approval to the dean or designee in the fall for member installation in January of the following year.

RESIGNATION

Any member may withdraw from the committee at any time using a resignation letter sent to the committee chair.

ATTENDANCE

This section is intended to support the full contribution of all committee members. Committee members are required to attend monthly board meetings and engage in decision-making. Failure to contribute and engage regularly may warrant replacement on the committee.

MEETINGS

Each year, the Chair of the Committee will develop a regular schedule for meetings. At a minimum, the committee will meet at least once per quarter during the academic year. The schedule will be distributed to committee members and maintained on the College’s website.

SUBCOMMITTEES

Subcommittee administration

  1. The chair appoints subcommittee leaders in consultation with the deputy chair. The chair is responsible for ensuring that subcommittees are actively engaged and kept abreast of plans and activities at each committee meeting.
  2. Subcommittee leaders have a two year term that coincides with the elected chair and deputy chair.
  3. Standing and ad-hoc committees may be added as needed.
  4. The chair-appointed leader and other volunteer subcommittee members determine activities, including the time and place of subcommittee meetings.
  5. Notes shall be taken at subcommittee meetings.

Subcommittees are aligned with overall CAUS DEI Goals. Subcommittee functional areas are as follows:

  1. Building Infrastructure
    • Policy and Process Review
  2. Increasing College Diversity
    • Student Recruitment/Engagement/Retention
    • Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Engagement
  3. Actively Building a Welcoming Environment
    • Programming and Events
  4. Embedding Values
    • Curriculum Identification/Development
  • Kathryn Albright
  • Abiola Akanmu
  • Ninoska Bertran-Turcios
  • David Bieri
  • Cathryn Copper
  • Tracey Drowne
  • Meredith Drum
  • Paul Emmons
  • Vern Ferguson
  • Nate Heavers
  • Josh Iorio
  • Rob Jacks
  • Nate King
  • Theo Lim
  • Johnson Olayiwola
  • Faith Patton
  • Susan Rosebrough
  • Natalia Smith
  • Sharone Tomer
  • Brianna Traut
  • Elif Tural
  • Zuleka Woods

As we work toward increasing the diversity, equity and inclusion capacity at the college, we will use an organizational development approach.  During the initial phases, we will work to build awareness of the conceptual underpinnings and the importance of the work.  Opportunities for learning more will be available for all stakeholders in the college.  Targeted focus on incorporating an equity lens in all decision making and policy processes must follow.  Only then can we expect that stakeholders understand their individual roles and responsibilities in the advancement of this work.

Take a look inside communications and planning for DEI at CAUS.  We are a work in progress.  Information will be added as we move forward.

DEI Starting Points
We have a formal DEI Committee Structure What's next Leadership Information

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Committee for Students, Staff, and Faculty will be a thought-partner to foster open and transparent communication with college senior leadership, working to promote and make progress on strategic priorities related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The committee will promote connections and alignment of needs, priorities and goals of students, staff and faculty across the college, stressing the importance of, and the college’s collective commitment to, this work.

The committee functions in an advisory role to college leadership and will focus their efforts in regard to the following identified areas:

  1. Building DE&I infrastructure – Institutionalizing structures to promote sustainable transformation
  2. Increasing college diversity – Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity
  3. Building a welcoming environment – Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate
  4. Embedding values – Integrating diversity, inclusion and equity values into the academic mission
MISSION AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The committee functions in an advisory role to college leadership and will focus their efforts on regard to the following identified areas:

  1. Building DE&I infrastructure – Institutionalizing structures to promote sustainable transformation
  2. Increasing college diversity – Increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity
  3. Building a welcoming environment – Ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate
  4. Embedding values – Integrating diversity, inclusion and equity values into the academic mission

The committee has the following broad responsibilities:

    1. Makes formal recommendations to the Dean and Director of Diversity on policies, actions and programs that to support and fulfill diversity related commitments by the college.
    2. Provides routine recommendations and insight to executive staff on issues of culture, climate, equity, inclusion, and diversity in the college.
    3. Reviews and supports the development of School DEI workplans.
    4. Facilitates communication of school DEI goals that inform the annual college DEI implementation plan.
    5. Supports the development of the annual inclusion and equity diversity plan at the college level.
    6. Advises, recommends and supports strategies for recruitment and retention of a diversified faculty, staff and student body.
    7. Reviews and supports strategies for integrating diversity into the curriculum.
    8. Reviews and evaluates diversity related programming and actions in collaboration with the Diversity Director annually.
MEMBERSHIP

Each school director shall nominate the following:

  1. 2 faculty (must come from different programs within the school)
  2. 1 staff (may come from any part of the school)
  3. 1 student (graduate or undergraduate)

Five members are identified by their role. These members have no terms and are filled by the individual (or designee) who serves in that position within the University.

  1. CAUS Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  2. CAUS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  3. CAUS Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
  4. CAUS Director of Academic Advising
  5. University Libraries Head, Art & Architecture Library

Treatment of Current Committee Members

All current committee members are grandfathered into the new committee structure.  For those schools who have more than 2 current representatives on the committee, those positions will not be replaced once the current committee member’s term is complete.

Ad-Hoc Members

Committee leadership may ask for additional members for specific projects or subject matter expertise.  Terms for these members would be based on the completion of the project or need.

Additional Guidelines for Membership

  1. Faculty and staff serve a three-year term.
  2. Students serve one-year terms.
  3. Members in good standing, having attended regular meetings or otherwise actively supported the committee’s mission may request to serve (1) additional term.
  4. The committee shall consist of no less than 20 and no more than 25 members.
  5. The committee may consider the inclusion of alumni and community representatives.
  6. In general, committee membership should reflect a diverse mix of employees, taking into consideration factors such as race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, etc. In addition, members should reflect different business areas of the college.
  7. Participation on this committee is an official form of service and is recognized by the college for evaluation
MINUTES

The Committee Chair will provide minutes of the meetings to committee members.

LEADERSHIP

Committee leadership shall consist of a chair and deputy Chair. Both positions shall serve a term of one year.  After a one year term, the deputy chair then serves a year as committee chair.

VACANCIES

When a vacancy on the committee exists, nominations for new members shall be collected.  The committee will send recommendations for approval to the dean or designee in the fall for member installation in January of the following year.

RESIGNATION

Any member may withdraw from the committee at any time using a resignation letter sent to the committee chair.

ATTENDANCE

This section is intended to support the full contribution of all committee members. Committee members are required to attend monthly board meetings and engage in decision-making. Failure to contribute and engage regularly may warrant replacement on the committee.

MEETINGS

Each year, the Chair of the Committee will develop a regular schedule for meetings. At a minimum, the committee will meet at least once per quarter during the academic year. The schedule will be distributed to committee members and maintained on the College’s website.

SUBCOMMITTEES

Subcommittee administration

  1. The chair appoints subcommittee leaders in consultation with the deputy chair. The chair is responsible for ensuring that subcommittees are actively engaged and kept abreast of plans and activities at each committee meeting.
  2. Subcommittee leaders have a two year term that coincides with the elected chair and deputy chair.
  3. Standing and ad-hoc committees may be added as needed.
  4. The chair-appointed leader and other volunteer subcommittee members determine activities, including the time and place of subcommittee meetings.
  5. Notes shall be taken at subcommittee meetings.

Subcommittees are aligned with overall CAUS DEI Goals. Subcommittee functional areas are as follows:

  1. Building Infrastructure
    • Policy and Process Review
  2. Increasing College Diversity
    • Student Recruitment/Engagement/Retention
    • Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Engagement
  3. Actively Building a Welcoming Environment
    • Programming and Events
  4. Embedding Values
    • Curriculum Identification/Development
  • Kathryn Albright
  • Abiola Akanmu
  • Ninoska Bertran-Turcios
  • David Bieri
  • Cathryn Copper
  • Tracey Drowne
  • Meredith Drum
  • Paul Emmons
  • Vern Ferguson
  • Nate Heavers
  • Josh Iorio
  • Rob Jacks
  • Nate King
  • Theo Lim
  • Johnson Olayiwola
  • Faith Patton
  • Susan Rosebrough
  • Natalia Smith
  • Sharone Tomer
  • Brianna Traut
  • Elif Tural
  • Zuleka Woods

DEI work in each school looks very different.  Some schools have formalized DEI committees with formal plans and metrics, some schools have ad-hoc committees that address pressing and urgent needs, and some work on discrete efforts focused on a particular stakeholder group. Each effort is in a different stage of development, but what is clear is that there is a readiness to formalize our efforts and streamline our communications across the college.  Below, you will find information about efforts in each school.

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