Diversity education at CMU

In 2006, Former President Rao charged Human Resources and the Office for Institutional Diversity with developing a diversity training program for CMU staff. A committee consisting of representatives from these units and of students developed a three-phase program and public relations campaign, “Excellence through Inclusion.”

Phase I: “Synergy from Others”: This program consisted of information about diversity at CMU and a performance by SST from Chicago, including vignettes about different aspects of diversity. The purpose was to raise awareness about what is included under “diversity” and the campus climate. These sessions were mandatory and almost every staff member attended.

Phase II: Building Cultural Competency: Cultural competency refers to the awareness of cultural diversity, knowledge about various cultures and the skills to interact with people from different cultures. Last fall, several presentations were scheduled in conjunction with ongoing cultural celebrations, as well as the Annual Campus Diversity Forum (see examples on the “Staff Diversity Initiatives and Training” web site. All staff members were invited to participate as time allowed. We will continue to schedule presentations and discussions during the day as part of future cultural celebrations, to make these opportunities available to staff during the work day.

Phase III: “Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts”: This program focuses on (a) becoming aware of the stereotypes we all have and (b) skills for interrupting inappropriate comments. The 2-hour “Skill Building for Results” program will provide staff with hands-on practice in speaking up when hearing derogatory comments or seeing other inappropriate behaviors. Staff will learn six practical, specific skills that can be immediately applied at CMU and will have a better understanding of the ladder of prejudice. Two pilots were offered in February; a total of 20 sessions will be offered between now and the end of 2008. Though all staff are strongly encouraged to attend, these workshops are not mandatory. Attendance will be taken, and supervisors may count participation toward individual or departmental diversity goals as evidence of supporting one of the University’s core values – diversity and global perspectives. For workshop dates, times, locations, and registration, click here, call (989) 774-6447, or e-mail StratOD@cmich.edu.

The “Excellence through Inclusion” campaign is related to this series of workshops. Many of you have seen—or have—pens, lanyards, bookmarks and posters with this logo. The three posters—addressing race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability—were developed with the help of  University Communications . The posters and bookmarks also include “listen, understand appreciate”, which were the three words most frequently mentioned as people described a welcoming community. The quotes on the posters are based on stories that several CMU staff members were willing to share with the rest of us. The posters are intended to make people stop and think about some of the underlying issues. We are really trying to make the tagline “the only thing not welcome here is discrimination” a reality at CMU.

At the completion of phase III, the committee will assess the strengths and challenges of the diversity education effort for staff and add other phases as needed.

Finally, the committee thanks everyone for their participation and for promoting diversity and global perspectives at CMU. Central Michigan University conscientiously strives to enhance diversity in its community and to encourage opportunities to bring different perspectives and backgrounds to the institution. This enriches the learning environment and provides students with experiences that will better enable them to succeed in diverse environments after graduation. Everyone’s assistance is needed to enable CMU to achieve its goal of providing a healthy and strong learning and working environment for all. As staff participates in these diversity education efforts, it moves the campus community closer to our goal and realizing our diversity campaign motto: "Excellence through inclusion – listen, understand, appreciate."