Equity and Inclusion-The Missing Pieces?

Equity and Inclusion: The Missing
by Kathy Lechman, PhD
Director, Equity and Inclusion
• To define equity and inclusion
• To identify strategies to enhance our efforts to
create equitable and inclusive environments
• To share best practices
Establishing a safe zone
Respecting each other
Actively Listen
Be open
All questions are welcome
Disagreeing is ok
No judging each other
Participant driven
Framing the conversation
• Free write on the following
Your thoughts on diversity
In a social context, what does equality mean/look like?
Define inclusion
How do you know if you are included-how are you
treated when you feel included
Diversity, a mosaic of people who
bring a variety of backgrounds,
styles, perspectives, values, and
beliefs as assets to the groups
and organizations with which they
Equity is not the same as formal
equality. Formal equality implies
sameness. Equity, on the other
hand, assumes difference and takes
difference into account to ensure a
fair process and, ultimately, a fair
(or equitable) outcome.
“The active, intentional, and ongoing
engagement with diversity—in people, in
the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and
in communities (intellectual, social,
cultural, geographical) with which
individuals might connect—in ways that
increase one’s awareness, content
knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and
empathic understanding of the complex
ways individuals interact within systems
and institutions” (AAC&U, 2009, ¶ 3).
• Not earned…given
• Ascribed based on an identity…that we
have no control over
• Having privilege gives you advantages over
• What do you do with your privilege?
“In order to truly understand
issues of diversity, we must
consider the idea of privilege
and how it impacts everything
around us—in and out of the
classroom. .”
– Teaching Effectiveness Program
University of Oregon
How did systems of
oppression and privilege
begin and how are they
able to continue?
anyone who holds privilege, whether it is skin
color, gender, sexuality, class, ability, or age, must
recognize their privilege as such and take
responsibility for it. Lip service alone is not going to
cut it. Simple recognition without any firm
commitment to material and/or personal change is
politicking the chameleonesque movements that
allow a person of privilege to appear progressive
and caring about someone else’s well-being at one
moment in time and space, yet fail to act when
moments of potential rupture arise in their space of
personal comfort. Politically correct attitudes tell
people what they want to hear without revealing
what lurk within:
– Johal, 2005, 286-287
How are perceptions formed?
• Perceptions are formed by
associating with people who are
similar to us in race, ethnicity,
socioeconomic status, income,
education, lifestyle, etc. These
perceptions can become
Intent vs. Impact
Intent vs. Impact
• Even those with the best of intentions
cause harm.
• When we focus on our intent vs. our
• “we think that as long as we did not intend
to cause harm we should be afforded the
benefit of the doubt (Cullen, 2008:19)”.
What can we do?
• Step outside of our comfort zone
• Learn about different groups even if you do not
work with them
• Understanding historical context is important
• Take pride in and celebrate your heritage
• Attend ethnic heritage festivals of different
groups-even if you are the only one who is
What can we do?
• Talk about differences
• Avoid “I don’t see color” the reality is that we are
different shades and it is okay.
• Don’t be afraid to buy multicultural toys for
• Identify and acknowledge your assumptions and
• Operate with a culturally relative lens
What can we do?
• Who determines what the norm is?
• Nuclear family versus extended family
• Ethnocentrism
• Do not equate different with pathological or
What can we do?
Learn about the deeper aspects of culture
Do not place value judgments on people who do things
differently than we are accustomed to
Continue to learn
Stretch yourself personally and professionally
Ask questions
Engage in discussions
• Your thoughts on diversity-dictate how you
will approach equity and inclusion.
• What will you do to build inclusive
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