Message from the Chief Diversity Officer: Broadening campuswide diversity, equity and inclusion knowledge

Friday, August 14, 2020

Educational opportunities expand efforts to foster greater inclusivity on our campus. Students, faculty and staff from marginalized communities often share that they feel responsible for educating the entire community. While many of these folks have a passion for doing so, we are working to ensure there are a multitude of other ways for our campus community to learn about the importance of inclusive excellence. I appreciate the continual support of Chancellor Everts that enables departments across Appalachian to work every day toward creating these additional educational opportunities. These campus departments include Intercultural Student Affairs, the Division of Students Affairs, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Academic Excellence.

Each semester I host trainings for faculty, staff and students to help encourage ongoing discussions about equity and inclusion on our campus. Any department, organization or group can contact me to schedule a training. More than a third of our campus has participated in trainings for at least one of the following topics:

  • Class, power and influence.
  • Creating an inclusive campus community.
  • Cultural competence.
  • Implicit bias.
  • Inclusive excellence.
  • Internalized oppression.
  • Microaggressions.
  • Understanding religious and cultural accommodations.

As a complement to these trainings and other efforts on campus, I’m happy to share there will be two professional development opportunities available to faculty and staff this fall. Our fourth annual Inclusion Infusion Summer Diversity Institute — postponed to this fall — provides faculty and staff with inclusion education, as well as training for faculty on ways to infuse more inclusivity into their course syllabi. Also, the National Coalition Building Institute will host its Train-the-Trainer program. Trainers will work with 40 members of Appalachian’s leadership, representing every major area on campus, to reinforce strategies to resolve campus crises in a manner that helps build coalition and mitigate division. More details about the content and scheduling for these events will be shared in the coming weeks.

Throughout the year, App State hosts many opportunities to expand our individual and collective understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion. Universities offer a distinct forum for this work — in the classroom and through research and programming — because our academic mission allows us to facilitate conversations about complex issues.

We are building a foundation for change, and we are all part of this process. If you'd like to schedule a training, you can reach me directly via email at flemingwc@appstate.edu. I am also eager to hear how you are promoting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in your area. Together, we will continue the good, intentional work taking place on our campus.

/s/ Willie C. Fleming

Willie Fleming
Chief Diversity Officer
Appalachian State University