DEI 101: Explore

What does diversity mean to you? Does diversity represent a person? A gender or ethnicity? Or is diversity a means of self-expression? Whatever your definition we encourage you to consider this: diversity is greater than what you can see. Diversity encompasses how you think, what you believe, how you express your ideas, your age, generation, cultural heritage and so much more.  

We recognize that diversity can be a powerful word. The word carries connotations that are polarizing for some and political for others. This toolkit is designed to encourage curiosity, self-reflection, and active dialogue. We included terms, ideas, suggestions, and reflections as you explore the diversity continuum. As with any journey, this will not be a straight line. You may experience acceleration, a pause, or even a stall out as you (re)consider your views on topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, access, and belonging. We encourage you to let curiosity be your guide. 

The Diversity Wheel (Marilyn Loden and Judy Roesener, 1990) represents a framework for thinking about the different dimensions of diversity within individuals and institutions. 

How Curious Are You?

The team at The Conscious Leadership Group highlights 15 actions you can take to reduce drama, attract and retain top talent, and increase engagement. As college union and student affairs professionals, being open to new ideas, perspectives, and approaches to team dynamics will help you build the next generation workforce. Watch these videos, share with your team, and use our discussion guide to explore the concepts further.

Watch these four videos and use the discussion guide with your team or colleagues.    

Week 1: Are you above the line or below the line?  
Week 2: Do you like to be right?
Week 3: What is your “hidden iceberg?”
Week 4: Are you modeling behaviors you admire?

*All videos were “Created by The Conscious Leadership Group.” 

Where Are You on the Diversity Continuum? 

According to the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC), people can find themselves at, or between, the points on the Intercultural Development Continuum. Each point suggests a position or mindset about diversity, equity, and inclusion. None of the points along the curve are right or wrong; they simply depict a mindset about culture and its relevance to you. We invite you explore the continuum and ask yourself: Do I have a monocultural mindset or an intercultural mindset?

Self-assessments are one method to establish a baseline from which to measure progress. We selected two assessments to help you decide: Do I have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? What you learn about yourself might surprise you. 

Isn’t Everyone Biased?

What are your preferences (hint: preference is bias)? This presentation uncovers how preferences can lead us to embrace (or resist) innovation, explore or assume, engage or reject, empower or implode. Do you believe your preferences can change? This is your opportunity to explore bias from a fresh perspective and channel your beliefs. What you learn might surprise you. 

Take the Justice & Equity Assessment 

The ACUI Justice and Equity Assessment is a tool for college union and student activities professionals to assess the level to which their facilities, departments, and programs/services are socially just and equitable. 

The tool has three parts:  

We created this tool as a guide for institution leaders to consider how their department or unit:  

  • Centers the lived experiences and intersectional identities of students  
  • Addresses the power dynamics, policies, and practices ingrained in the higher education context 

Let the pre-assessment questions spark curiosity as you think about the leadership and advocacy, campus policies on recruitment and retention, and the language used in discussion about justice and equity at your institution.   

Have you ever been told, “When you’re my age you’ll understand?” Or, “When you’ve been here as long as I have, you’ll know…” Or, “We (emphasis on the pronoun) do it this way…”

While it may not seem like this fits the definition of a microaggression, it is! This term is often presented related to offenses experienced by folks of a certain ethnicity or gender, but ageism is an area where microaggressions are common. Have you ever been called, “kiddo,” by someone who thinks of you as one of their kids? Or what about being referred to as a “Boomer?” Does that offend you? If so, there are ways you can respond. 

Watch these four videos and use the discussion guide with your team or colleagues.    

Week 1:  Microaggressions are like Mosquito Bites
Week 2: What are microaggressions?
Week 3: How to respond to Microaggressions?
Week 4: Why does this matter?

Understanding Self-Identity, & Culture Mini-Course 

Understanding Self, Identity, & Culture is a skill set under ACUI’s Social Justice Core Competency.  This course explores how one’s own intersecting identities and behaviors shape one’s worldview and lived experience, identity and cultural difference on campus, how and why intersecting identities and behaviors manifest in differing situations, the impact of privileged identities on campus and how campus climate and identity shape one another. 

Join us for upcoming discussions where we explore ways to increase inclusion and belonging.