Faculty, staff enhance ability to facilitate diversity in classroom


Faculty and staff participate in the Summer Institute for Intercultural Professional Development and Pedagogy

This is a guest post from Office of Diversity and Inclusion:

This fall, 30-plus faculty and staff from across the University will be more equipped to facilitate diverse experiences in their educational offerings and to promote inclusion and equity at the University. They participated in the Summer Institute for Intercultural Professional Development and Pedagogy this past July.  Advanced by members of the Curricular Changes and Faculty Development sub-committee of the Campus Climate Implementation Team, the Institute emerged from recommendations provided by the campus community in fall 2014 as part of the Deliberative Dialogue Series on Inclusion.

Jose Villalba, senior associate dean for faculty, evaluation, and inclusivity, and Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, director of diversity education, spearheaded the effort with support from Barbee Oakes, chief diversity officer, Lynn Sutton, vice provost, and Catherine Ross, director of the Teaching and Learning Center. Former Wake Forest Fellows Muhammad Siddiqui and Nia Evans also contributed greatly to the development and implementation of the Institute.

Participants in the Institute were selected after completing an application for admission and were assigned pre-readings for discussions during the two-day, overnight experience at Graylyn International Conference Center. The Institute covered a wide-range of topics, including facilitating difficult dialogues in the classroom and campus settings, the role that self-awareness plays in cultural competence, and best practices for creating inclusive spaces. Each participant left the Institute with a personal action plan to continue to strengthen their skills, and they also reported significant increases in their confidence and ability to manage complex discussions around difference, empathize with others, among other measures of intercultural competence according to a pre- and post-test administered by Dr. Villalba.

“What I find most impactful about the Institute is that faculty and staff now have more tools and skills at their disposal to improve interactions with students, shape campus departments, and create programs,” said Villalba. “Their willingness to challenge themselves to be more inclusive and aware as educators is a great model for our campus community and hopefully will inspire others to do the same.”

The Institute is a part of the Dean of the College’s “Maximizing Inclusivity + Minimizing Apathy (MIMA)” professional development series for faculty and staff. MIMA offers skills-based workshops in the fall semester and awareness/theoretical sessions in the spring. This October, faculty and staff can look forward to a session that addresses the complex mental health concerns of students on campus. The session is co-sponsored by the Learning Assistance Center, University Counseling Center, and Office of Academic Advising. For more information, contact Jose Villabla at villalja@nullwfu.edu.