Office Launches Diversity and Inclusion Training

In September 2018, President Bradley announced commitments to launch anti-bias training, beginning with student facing administrators and eventually for all Vassar employees.  In January, the Professional Development Office initiated a series of bias awareness and education workshops for division employees, facilitated by consultants Diane Goodman and Tanya Williams. More than 160 division administrators and support staff from administrative offices, Campus Dining, and Safety and Security participated in the half-day workshops between January 8 and January 17.  The long-term goal is to train a team of administrators to sustain diversity, inclusion and equity training for the division.

Understanding and Confronting Unconscious Bias

Have you ever wondered how unconscious or implicit bias can affect the campus workplace and student learning or support? According to the Kirwan Institute, implicit bias refers to the “attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.” To read more about implicit and unconscious bias, visit Implicit Bias Modules—a series of interactive lessons created by the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University. In 2018, the Institute facilitated an implicit bias workshop for administrators and faculty during All College Day.

Harvard University’s PROJECT IMPLICIT offers an online Implicit Association Test (IAT) to begin the process of understanding and becoming more aware of our implicit biases. It’s a good first step on the journey!

Administrators, support and service staff from several Dean of the College offices, including Health Services, Safety and Security, Student Growth and Engagement, and Health and Wellness, SAVP, Campus Activities, Residential Life, and Career Development, have participated in 2-hour implicit bias workshops facilitated by Dean Pittman.

Fall 2018 Gender Inclusive Language and Leadership Workshops

Capria Berry, Director of Transitions, and Michael Drucker, Associate Director of Residential Life, facilitated a “no-question-too-small” Introduction to Gender Inclusivity and Pronouns workshop on October 30 and November 2. The session was designed for administrative support staff members; sixteen employees from the offices of Campus Activities, Campus Dining, Career Development, Dean of Studies, Fellowships and Advising, Professional Development, Residential Life, and Student Growth and Engagement participated. Two staff members from the Registrar’s Office also attended. Several participants shared how much they appreciated receiving basic definitions and understanding more about supporting students across the gender spectrum.

On October 16, eleven administrators attended a leadership retreat for women-identified and non-binary administrators, entitled The Power of You: Women Taking the Lead. The full-day retreat in the Faculty Parlor was led by Wendy Maragh Taylor, Associate Dean of the College for Growth and Student Engagement. Participants identified strengths and barriers as leaders, how to empower others, and envisioned paths for achieving specific goals. Equally important were discussions about institutional and systemic barriers that may impact leadership experiences.