WINTER 2019/2020
New Research on Diversity Officers, Campus Climate

More institutions than ever before have chief diversity officers and it raises the question: how do institutions make decisions surrounding hiring for these positions? 

A new qualitative study of two large unnamed research-intensive universities finds these positions were structural responses to what are really cultural issues and related crises. The study recommends that universities assess campus climate when appointing chief diversity offices, and use those findings to discover how their particular campus office functions. The study further recommends that researchers empirically address “social identity when examining chief diversity officers and to further investigate job and work attitudes, such as organizational commitment or burnout, in these leaders.”

A second study referenced was co-written by Eugene T. Parker , assistant professor of higher education administration at the University of Kansas. He wrote the diversity officer study that relates findings to what types of faculty-student interaction make students feel welcome on campus. The study drew on data from the 2014 Student Experience in the Research University Consortium survey. It found that communicating with a professor by email or in person, experiencing equitable and fair treatment by professors, and having access to faculty members outside of class were all positively associated with a good perception of the climate for diversity. Engaging in creative work, research or non course-related activities were connected to negative perceptions of the climate for diversity. Talking with a faculty member outside of class about course issues and concepts, and knowing a professor well enough to ask for a recommendation letter were also viewed as negative. The study suggests these findings could be moderated by students’ race, gender or social class.

Learn more about the study findings here:

Link to original article

Link to Structuring Diversity: Chief Diversity Offices as Structural Responses to a Cultural Issue 

Link to Student Perceptions of the Climate for Diversity: The Role of Student–Faculty Interactions
Inclusive Excellence Grants Support Diversity Efforts Across NU Campuses

Inclusive excellence requires a campus environment where multiple backgrounds and perspectives are valued and included; one that can help recruit and retain the talent needed to advance the University of Nebraska’s ability to live out its mission, vision and stated values.

Since their inception by the NU Office of Diversity, Access, and Inclusion, “Inclusive Excellence Development Grants” have provided system-level resources and support to implement or strengthen 16 initiatives that advance diversity, access, inclusion, and equity on NU campuses. The fall of 2019 marked the fourth grant cycle to support initiatives that address one or more of the four diversity and inclusion (D&I) priority areas:

• Campus Climate

• Student Recruitment and Retention

• Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention

A total of eight grants of up to $3,000 each are awarded each academic year - fall and spring. Grant recipients have led projects and initiatives that showcased collaboration across groups, offices, departments or divisions, and included external University partners.

This month’s Inclusive Excellence in Action section focuses on two such D&I initiatives - “First-Gen Mavericks Symposium” and Husker DNA Journey.

The spring call for proposals will open in March. Please watch for email communications from the Office of Diversity, Access, and Inclusion.
First-Gen Mavericks Symposium Addresses the Experiences of First-Generation College Students

Nearly a third of undergraduate students in the United States are first-generation, defined as those who have no parent with a bachelor’s degree. About 40% of UNO students are first-generation students. To ensure first-year student retention and successful completion of a degree program these students need a supportive and welcoming academic environment. 

The First Generation Guild, a collaborative community that offers support to first-generation students on campus, began to conceptualize how to bring students, faculty and staff together to increase awareness and support efforts for first-gen students at UNO. A team of faculty members including Dusten Crichton ; Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado ; Juan Casas ; Elizabeth Blanco ; Aaron Krueger ; Latrina Parker ; Patty Shearer , and Karen Hein brought this vision to life with the First-Generation Mavericks Symposium events.

“The symposium was an exciting kickoff event for advancing UNO’s explicit support of first-generation students!” said Dusten Crichton , faculty of the Thompson Learning Community. The inaugural event included an introduction of the First-Generation Guild; a keynote talk by Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley – Assoc. Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at ULCA; a panel of faculty who were themselves first-generation students; and a panel of current UNO students who identify as first-generation students.

The symposium was overwhelmingly successful in increasing both awareness and engagement. “We increased the number of faculty/staff who would like to participate in first-generation from eleven people to 145 faculty and staff. This has definitely provided us with an increase in awareness that we were looking to develop.” said Crichton. The members of the First Generation Guild hope to keep up the momentum of the symposium with programming in 2020. “We also have faculty and staff who have volunteered to participate in our “share a meal” with some of our first-generation students in February.”

Learn more about the First Generation Guild here:
Husker DNA Journey: 
Breaking Down Barriers through DNA Testing

Ancestry DNA testing reveals history going back centuries and shapes our experiences today. The Husker DNA Journey at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) provided students a unique opportunity to take an ancestry test and come together to share their stories in an effort to break down boundaries and learn what they have in common.
"The DNA Journey," a documentary celebrating diversity in the world is the inspiration behind the Husker DNA Journey. Dr. Lory J. Dance , associate professor of sociology and ethnic studies, created the Husker DNA Journey with the support of Student Affairs, the Office of Academic Success & Intercultural Services, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, and the Global Studies program. 

The Husker DNA Journey documents students as they learn about each other's histories and students get the chance to present their findings in two reflective presentations and an essay describing their experience. Sharing the test findings and comparing results is an activity that Dr. Dance believes fosters intergroup relations and dialogues across varying cultures. The Husker DNA Journey that started last Fall of 2018 with an essay contest, came to an engaging end with a documentary (by Bassey Arikpo) and a discussion about the journey.

There are plans for a second Husker DNA journey and those who did not complete the first journey could be automatically entered into the second journey. 

Learn more about the Husker DNA Journey project here:

See additional video footage of the Husker DNA Journey Project here:
Many Ways to Celebrate the Season
December 16–24: Las Posadas , a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating the trials Mary and Joseph endured during their journey to Bethlehem.

December 21: Yule Winter Solstice , celebrated by Pagans and Wiccans. The shortest day of the year represents a celebration focusing on rebirth, renewal and new beginnings as the sun makes its way back to the Earth. A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky.

December 22–30: Hanukkah , a Jewish holiday that is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, or Israelites, over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus, approximately 2,200 years ago.

December 25: Christmas Day , the day that many Christians associate with Jesus’ birth.

December 26: Boxing Day , a secular holiday celebrated in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa.

December 26–January 1: Kwanzaa , an African American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African American heritage.

December 26: St. Stephen’s Day , a day to commemorate St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, or protomartyr.

December 26: Zartosht No-Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra), a day of remembrance in the Zoroastrian religion. It is a commemoration of the anniversary of the prophet Zoroaster, or Zarathushtra's death, an ancient Iranian spiritual leader who founded what is now known as Zoroastrianism.

December 27: St. John’s Day , Apostle and Evangelist, feast day for St. John celebrated by Christian denominations.

December 28: Feast of the Holy Innocents , a Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus.

December 29: Feast of the Holy Family , a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus, his mother and his foster father, St. Joseph as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.

December 31: Watch Night , a day for Christians to review the year that has passed, make confessions, and then prepare for the year ahead by praying and resolving.
Growing Your Excellence in Inclusion shares opportunities to highlight examples of inclusive excellence on your campus. Be sure to nominate a D&I initiative, program or project for one of the following awards, explore external funding opportunities from foundations and other grant-making entities, or participate in D&I professional development opportunities.


The Ford Foundation
DEADLINE: N/A Rolling Submissions Accepted

The Ford Foundation is open to new ideas to address inequality and invites the submission of ideas online. Funding program areas are based on seven areas that challenge inequality: entrenched Cultural Narratives, Failure to Invest in And Protect Vital Public Goods, Unfair Rules of the Economy, Unequal Access to Government, and Persistent Prejudice and Discrimination. To address and respond to these areas, the foundation makes grants in seven interconnected areas to help challenge inequality: Civic Engagement and Government; Creativity and Free Expression; Future of Work(ers); Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice; Just Cities and Regions; Natural Resources and Climate Change; and Technology and Society.
For more detailed information, please visit the links below:


Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC) 
Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity
February 14–16, 2020
Western Michigan University, 1903 Western Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

MBLGTACC is an annual conference held to connect, educate and empower queer and trans+ college students, faculty and staff around the Midwest and beyond. It has attracted advocates and thought leaders including Angela Davis , Nyle DiMarco , Robyn Ochs , Janet Mock , Laverne Cox , Kate Bornstein , Faisal Alam , and LZ Granderson ; and entertainers and artists including Jujubee , Margaret Cho , J Mase III , Chely Wright , and Loren Cameron . To date, MBLGTACC is America’s largest and oldest continuously-held conference for queer and trans+ college students. This event is hosted by student organizers from Western Michigan University and remains proudly student run.



ISLSP and CIBER Language Conference
International Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes (ISLSP)
Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER)
March 6–7, 2020
UNC Charlotte Center City, 320 E 9th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

UNC Charlotte’s Department of Languages and Culture Studies is hosting its 5th ISLSP and CIBER Business Language Conference. The purpose of this conference is to move forward within Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) exploring developments and innovation in research, practice and curriculum. There will be keynote speakers, Next Generation LSP Scholars, activities, and much more.


Diversity Abroad Conference – AMPLIFYING VOICES: Moving from Rhetoric to Systemic Change
Global Student Leadership Summit and the Strategic Leadership Forum
March 14–17, 2020
New Orleans, LA

Since 2013, the annual Diversity Abroad Conference – along with the Global Student Leadership Summit and the Strategic Leadership Forum – has constituted the most comprehensive national forum on issues of access, diversity, equity and inclusion in global education. In March 2020, over 700 education professionals, student leaders, employers, and leading graduate programs will meet in New Orleans, LA to chart a path forward to reach a shared vision – to support student academic success, interpersonal growth and career readiness through equitable access to global educational opportunities. The goal: that the next generation of young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds are equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience to be academically, personally and professionally successful in the 21st-century interconnected world.


NADOHE’s 14th Annual Conference – Leading with Renewed Activism: Crossing Borders and Bridging Communities
National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE)
March 11–14, 2020
InterContinental San Diego Hotel, 901 Bayfront Court, San Diego, CA 92101

NADOHE’s annual conference serves as a reminder that social change is obtained through collective action that encompasses not only our local communities but broader global communities as well. We need to lead with renewed activism that disrupts the current divisive rhetoric and policies that reinforce inequities within our institutions and society.


The Power of Collective Action - 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference
American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
March 19–21
New Orleans Marriott 555 Canal Street New Orleans, LA 70130

AAC&U’s 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Student Success conference, The Power of Collective Action, will focus on building coalitions and breaking down institutional silos that often have divided and isolated those seeking to build just and equitable campuses and communities. This conference will be action-oriented and focused on practical strategies for creating institutions that reflect the diverse and equitable society we seek to create.

AAC&U invites students, educators, policymakers, and administrators from all campus sectors to participate in this conference that will prioritize collective and shared responsibility for change. The conference will highlight the use of reflective and action-oriented dialogue, which recognizes and values everyone’s potential to contribute to the institutional change needed to help transform our society.


AAAED National Conference and Annual Meeting – Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED)
June 6–10, 2020
Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

AAAED's national conference and meeting will include plenary sessions, workshops and other opportunities for professional development and networking. The theme for 2020 is Turning Obstacles into Opportunities and will include an acknowledgment of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The conference and annual meeting will provide attendees with presentations that promote creative, innovative strategies and cutting-edge research to enhance equity and diversity in higher education, government and the private sector. The professional development offerings are intended to help individuals who are new in their jobs or experienced individuals seeking updated information to stay competitive in the profession. AAAED, formerly the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), is a national nonprofit association of professionals working in areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. AAAED has 45 years of leadership in providing professional training to members by equipping them to be more successful and productive in their careers. 

First-Year Friendships Across Difference Can Foster Appreciation of Difference and Improve Learning Outcomes

College students new to campus learn to juggle a number of demands on their time, including time with friends. While homework, work study and extracurricular obligations consume hours of the day, students make sure to carve out time to spend with friends. There are estimates that suggest that the average college student spends up to 86 hours a week with his or her friends. 
Research conducted by Janice McCabe , author of Connecting in College: How Friendship Networks Matter for Academic and Social Success , students create friendship networks that influence them in different ways. Diverse friendships built in a students first year can have a positive impact on a student’s appreciation for cultural and religious differences. 

College students are more likely to have a positive view of diversity if they make friends with others who have differing worldviews or religious backgrounds, according to the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey.

In this volume of D&I Tips, we provide ways you can encourage dialogue across differences to improve learning outcomes from the report titled, “Friendships Matter: The Role of Peer Relationships in Interfaith Learning and Development.

• Create a Welcoming Climate for Diverse Worldviews and Social Identities
Campus educators attend to ways they form a hospitable campus for students of various worldviews, but they should also consider developing initiatives that encourage contact and foster meaningful interactions across those worldviews. 

Educators should also consider the design of physical spaces and programmatic experiences and how they put students of different worldviews in proximity and connection with one another. Locate spaces (such as for worship or club offices) for different worldviews near each other and make these spaces comfortable ones where students can just “hang out” together without pressure. 

• Foster Productive Conversations Across Differences
North Carolina State University professor Alyssa Rockenbach says colleges and universities can foster such interactions by providing opportunities for "productive conversations and relationships across those differences."

• Set the Expectation
Craft narratives to students that encourage them to reflect upon their friendship circles and understand the benefits of friendships across difference. Incorporate reflection questions into campus-wide initiatives or traditions. Spotlight stories of student friendships in prominent spaces (such as convocation, commencement, or sporting events). When educators communicate such expectations, they aid in the establishment of a culture where engagement across worldview difference is normal.

• Model the Practice
Show students that you intentionally build inter-worldview relationships. Critically reflect on your own social circles at work. Educators who enact espoused values will reinforce a culture of cooperation and inspire students to seriously pursue diverse social circles and friendships.