Faculty & Professional Learning Communities on Diversity & Inclusion
How do you engage with students of diverse backgrounds without offending them?
How can you recruit and retain additional staff and faculty of color?
How do we help all students become culturally competent in order to succeed in life and career upon graduation?
Affirming diversity takes work, knowledge, and skills. Western Michigan University is committed to doing what it takes to become a truly diverse and inclusive university where all students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds, nationalities, and identities feel welcomed, included, and have equal access to the resources they need.
The Office of Faculty Development and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion have joined forces to offer Everyone Counts. This program began in February 2010 as a way of engaging faculty, graduate student instructors, and staff on diversity through the Southwest Michigan RACE Exhibit Initiative. As such, the inaugural program focused on race and ethnicity and empowered participants to explore this topic in a supportive community. These learning communities serve to equip faculty, graduate student instructors, and staff with the skills needed to implement course objectives and campus programming centered on diversity.
Each year participants will focus on a topic area of diversity. In this year-long experience, participants will engage in regular meetings within a diverse group of 8-12 people who discuss literature on their diversity topic area, share best practices, listen to guest speakers, attend workshops and conferences, and dialogue around challenges and opportunities. The learning communities are designed for both personal and institutional transformation. Participants will be able to:
Each participant will select an individual “focus course” or program to work on, or a group may work together on a collective program. Participants will be supported in the development of learning outcomes by their facilitators and their community. Participants are also encouraged to engage in action research in their courses or programs, and present project results at local, regional and national conferences.
Each participant will be expected to:
Past participants found the Everyone Counts program to be both engaging and beneficial. They offered the following feedback:
“The learning communities gave me a chance to voice my questions and thoughts on diversity which I think, in turn, has helped me get over any shyness of being a voice for diversity in a larger context.”
“[The learning communities] changed the way I look at the culture at WMU, and has encouraged me to try to find ways to facilitate discussions about those things that make us unique, as well as those things we have in common.”
“I shared with our community members and facilitators that our bi-weekly gatherings were, at times, the most meaningful, difficult, and rewarding blocks of time I would have in a two week span while at work.”
“Everyone Counts has been an extraordinary journey for me and I will always be grateful that I was a part of this very important work on our campus.”
Participants in the inaugural Everyone Counts program not only engaged in personal and professional development, but they also created projects where they could apply new skills and ideas. Below are just a few of the projects started by the participants.
The 2013-2014 Everyone Counts Learning Community experience will begin in September 2013. Participants in the 2013-2014 learning community will focus on race and racism as a topic area. In addition to regular sessions with your learning community, this learning community experience will also be supported by larger sessions where participants will have the opportunity to engage with invited speakers who offer different perspectives on race and racism.
The Everyone Counts Learning Community will meet bi-weekly on Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Fetzer Center. To ensure a meaningful experience, participants are required to attend the following sessions throughout the year:
All staff and faculty (part-time and full-time) as well as graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to apply. If you are interested in participating in EVERYONE COUNTS, please complete the application packet, consisting of:
Application packets are due by Friday, June 21 to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Mail Stop 5372.
For additional information feel free to contact the Program Directors: