As the nation wrestles with concerns surrounding racial, religious and cultural divides, the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is working to address those social matters here at NIU.
“ADEI has been diligently partnering with campus staff, faculty and students to foster a campus environment that celebrates and embraces diversity and inclusion,” said Chief Diversity Officer Vernese Edgehill-Walden.
One of the most visible and effective ways the office does so is through its Conversations on Diversity and Equity (CODE). This program is designed to engage students in learning about the cultural differences that shape our world.
This past semester, they offered more than 70 sessions of the program, thanks to collaborations and partnerships with the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, First- and Second-Year Experience UNIV 101 and 201 sections, the College of Law, Residential Housing, the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning, Career Services and others. Working with Student Involvement and Leadership Development, ADEI was able to share its program with 191 student organizations where they discussed opportunities for coalition building for social justice causes.
Efforts like those have dramatically increased the number of students, faculty and staff who are participating in diversity training programs. In FY 15-16, 600 faculty, staff and students participated in diversity education, with that number growing to 782, the following year. This year, during the first half of FY 17-18 alone, the department has seen more than 900 Huskies participate in diversity education.
“That growth is very exciting because NIU is committed to creating initiatives and programs which challenge and dismantle negative assumptions about otherness,” said Jocelyn Santana, a training and diversity specialist in ADEI.
In the spring, ADEI will conduct CODE Facilitator Training on Jan. 10-11. The two-day workshop teaches participants about the many dimensions of social identity, helps them analyze how their identities can impact their approach to diversity and social justice work, provides them a better understanding of power, positionality, and oppression, and teaches them conflict and resistance intervention.
To learn more about the role of CODE Facilitators or how to request an educational workshop for your group visit the CODE page on the ADEI website. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a facilitator, participating in this act of service to the NIU community, and pursuing additional diversity professional development opportunities, contact Jocelyn Santana, Social Justice Education Coordinator at 815-753-1582 or through email at [email protected].