Educational Opportunities Targeted to Various Levels of Faculty

Campus faculty represent a group of individuals at significantly different levels of understanding and practice related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. Similarly, individuals with various identities can have very different experiences on campus. Faculty with identities from majority groups are often unaware of the biases they hold or the experiences of their colleagues with socially marginalized identities. In the case of STEM and majority-male discipline faculty, it is important to start with the fundamentals of understanding stereotypes, implicit biases, micro-aggressions, and ways to overcome these overt and subtle forms of prejudice. Increasing knowledge of such fundamentals can lead to profound positive changes in attitudes, behaviors, and practices (Carnes et al., 2012; Moss-Racusin et al., 2014). In a similar vein, faculty who are scholars in the social sciences, management and liberal arts may not be as grounded in the practice of creating a welcoming environment for diverse faculty or in the ability to have “difficult conversations” (also see Buzzanell, 1994; Settles, Cortina, Malley, & Stewart, 2006).

One of our core activities is to develop diversity, inclusion, and equity educational opportunities (e.g., workshops, seminars) for faculty based on their starting level of knowledge and designed to build from that level. For example, several cognitive exercises and interpersonal communication strategies have been shown to be effective in reducing biases and inequitable practices (Carnes et al., 2015; Czopp, Monteith, & Mark, 2006). Grounded in individual-level and structural-level transformation perspectives (e.g., Acker, 1990; Carnes et al., 2012; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995), the available educational opportunities contain elements of awareness (education on social science and humanities research), experiential learning (skills to become an ally), and strategies to reduce bias (evidence-based self-regulation practices and institutional changes). This activity also draws on research by our faculty at Purdue as well as successful interventions at peer institutions, including Carnegie Mellon and Google, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

We anticipate that faculty who participate in these activities will demonstrate an increase in knowledge of diversity and inclusion scientific findings, personal bias awareness, ally preparedness, and engagement in equity promoting behaviors—creating a more inclusive culture and, in turn, promoting the retention and success of underrepresented faculty. The scope of this initiative is large, though feasible with support from the Provost’s Office.