Julia, our DEI Intern with the Volunteer Department defines the meaning of DEI, its importance, and how we can all apply it to our lives.

  • What is DEI?
    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Diversity is the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective.  Populations that have been-and remain- underrepresented among practitioners in the field and marginalized in the broader society. Equity is promoting justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems.  Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society. Inclusion is an outcome to ensure those that are diverse actually feel and/or are welcomed.  Inclusion outcomes are met when you, your institution, and your program are truly inviting to all. To the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes and development opportunities within an organization or group.”
  • Why DEI is important for Dreamer Scholars:
    • “Students who experience a sense of belonging by feeling seen are more likely to use their voice and feel heard. Creating a safe, inclusive space on campus for a diversity of viewpoints promotes self-expression and engagement. Breaking down barriers for traditionally marginalized communities empowers all students to find their voice, increasing the likelihood of success for all.”
  •  How can we apply DEI?
    • Reveal relevant opportunities.
    • Elevate equity.
    • Activate diversity.
    • Lead inclusively.
    • Source: https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/5-powerful-ways-to-take-real-action-on-dei-diversity-equity-inclusion/
      • Fostering DEI in an online environment
      • 5 Strategies to Consider During Online Course Development
        • There are many factors to consider when developing an online course.  One of those factors includes becoming informed of the cultural diversity among students and finding unique ways to include their culture into the course.  Here are five strategies to consider to help foster inclusivity and showcase cultural awareness.
          • 5 Strategies to Consider During Online Course Development
            • There are many factors to consider when developing an online course.  One of those factors includes becoming informed of the cultural diversity among students and finding unique ways to include their culture into the course.  Here are five strategies to consider to help foster inclusivity and showcase cultural awareness.\
              1. Know Your Student Audience
                • Having a good connection and understanding of your student population is essential to moving toward becoming more culturally aware.  Here are a few suggested areas to assess prior or during the first week of a course:
                    1. Reasons why students decided to take the class
                    2. If there are any bilingual or multilingual students in the class.
                    3. The different student cultures and backgrounds in effort to learn more.
              2. Review Course Activities for Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
                • Awareness and knowledge is key to the development of course activities that recognize the cultural backgrounds of students.  With recognition and encouragement, diversity will lead to a more harmonious online course environment.
              3. Tap Into Student’s Backgrounds, Cultures, and Experiences
                • When students tap into their past experiences, it allows them to make deeper connections to the course curriculum. In order for those opportunities to be present, barriers in the form of misconstrued perceptions must first be addressed.  Most often is the misconception that our differences are what draw us apart.  In fact, we find that those same differences are not that different at all.  There are many common connections among student cultures and diverse backgrounds, and these connections can bring them closer together.
              4. Incorporate Tools to Help Bridge the Cultural and Socioeconomic Gap
                • There are a variety of available technologies that can help bridge the cultural and socioeconomic gaps faced by many online students.  Through the use of apps, multimedia, and collaborative tools, students have the opportunity to participate in technology-rich course activities without having to purchase expensive software or make costly hardware upgrades to their machines.
              5. Strive to Create a Safe, Trustworthy, & Positive Rapport
                • The absence of a safe and harmonious course environment often can result in the hindrance of a student’s potential to dive deep into the course content, as well as their desire to make connections with the course community.  Establishing parameters and encouraging cultural awareness of diverse backgrounds at the start of the course can help to delineate any negative or unwarranted behaviors among students in the course.

Source: https://teachonline.asu.edu/2016/01/fostering-inclusive-environment-developing-online-courses/

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