I am encouraged by the number of organizations that have reached out for help creating a diversity and inclusion plan. It makes me feel as though the answer to the question above is NECESSITY! Those of us that are Equity Champions know that it has been a necessity for a long time. If organizational values don't drive leaders to this answer, the economics of our demographics do.
For colleges and universities, changing demographics are a reality. In 30 years, White people will be in the minority and it isn't all going to happen on January 1, 2030. All educational institutions need to figure out how to build a culturally competent workforce that understands how to communicate and serve students and families of color. Competition is and will continue to be fierce for students of color in higher education.
For K12 schools, performance metrics are at risk, when students of color are left behind. Many schools wait until there is a bias incident that goes viral to begin working on inclusion. It is so much better to be ahead of the curve.
It isn't as simple as use this new software or execute policy change. In many cases, educational institutions need a complete overhaul of policies, practices and pedagogy. Building an institution that is sensitive, empathic, and culturally competent is tough because it often goes to the core of personal values. It takes time, planning, collaboration, buy-in, and commitment.
There is no doubt that top leadership is key. If a president or superintendent weaves diversity into the fabric of the institution, everything else will begin to fall into place.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. A meeting agenda audit is a litmus test for understanding organizational priorities. Take a look at the meeting agendas for leadership groups from the past year. How often does diversity, equity and inclusion appear? Is it a mainstay of the agenda? If not, why not?
2. Similarly, how are bias incidents managed at your institution? Are they swept under the rug or used as an opportunity for personal and organizational growth?
3. Is diversity, equity and inclusion incorporated into the individual expectations for each employee? Does a performance review measure individual work and growth on diversity and inclusion?
4. What does your mission statement look like? Does it include diversity, equity and inclusion? If it does, how is it actualized in daily work?
5. Do you have a regular training schedule to help your workforce explore cultural competency? Is it a one and done scenario or is it connected to all topics that are explored in professional development?
If you feel alone in your quest to transform the culture of your organization, it is often best to bring in external help. Kinect Education Group has proven tools, including a trademarked Equity Rubric to help organizations grow and become independently successful at building an inclusive learning and working environment. Turn to us for advice as you begin the planning process. We are also home to the largest training store of products focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Check out our new store at: inclusivetrainingtools.com