This site has moved

December 17, 2011

After of year of diversity change in higher education at this web address. I’ve decided to create my own website. joelperez.net. This site will no longer be active, please make sure to visit my new site.

Joel


Working with Undocumented Students

December 5, 2011

Below is a link to an article I wrote for Koinonia,  the newsletter for the Association of Christians in Student Development.

http://tinyurl.com/cn7o9qb


Faculty Learning Community

October 4, 2011

One of our initiatives withing the dimension of educational and scholarly mission is a faculty learning community. This academic year we have our second small group of faculty meeting for the purpose of developing global and cultural competence. The purpose of this group is to build institutional capacity by partnering with faculty that have a strong desire to develop a diversity skill set. An incentive that we use is a $300 honorarium that participants can use for conference attendance or other professional development opportunities. The group is an interdisciplinary group of faculty. Below are the topics that we will be covering this year. In addition to the topics we build in excursions off campus to expose the faculty to an experience they may not have otherwise.

  • Biblical basis for diversity
  • Curriculum and pedagogy
  • Working with international students
  • First generation college students
  • Ethnically diverse students
  • The church and the racial divide
  • Campus strategies
  • Excursions (Urban church visit, visit to Native American reservation, diversity conference attendance, urban city experience)

As with any promising practice it is important to assess its impact. Therefore we will do a pre and post assessment to measure the impact of this experience. Faculty development is key to moving diversity efforts forward. Last years group continues to talk about their experience and now are thinking about ways to integrate into their curriculum and pedagogy as well as their personal development.


Student Leaders and Diversity

August 27, 2011

This past week we were in the midst of training our students leaders on the eve of new students arriving to our campus. As many in higher education know, training student leaders is necessary and essential in creating a welcoming environment for ALL students. Two and a half years ago I was introduced to an instrument to assist people in identifying and become aware of others intercultural conflict style. The Intercultural Conflict Styles Inventory was designed by Mitch Hammer and Associates. I will not go into all the details as you can click on the link and read about it yourself. This year was the third time I facilitated this workshop with RAs. My rationale for using this instrument was as we prepared to receive a more diverse class of students I felt it necessary to prepare our students leaders that are on the front lines with students in regards to conflict and how different groups of people approach conflict as our student leaders were experiencing higher levels of diversity in their halls. The other intent was to introduce and inform our RAs about difference and that they should not fear difference, but should embrace it. Having done this for the past two years our residence life office has felt the benefit as RAs and Area Coordinators have been able to effectively refer back to the training as cross cultural conflict arises.

Those who facilitate RA training know that training RAs in conflict resolution is necessary and many departments do this on a regular basis. I believe this is an area where a diversity component could effectively be integrated without making diversity training the outlier, but infused in various aspects of student leader training. We have been so successful in doing this that I have decided to offer this training to faculty and staff at our institution. This fall I will begin offering this as an option for faculty and staff that need to meet their requirement of diversity education.


Amigo Leadership

August 14, 2011

Below is an article I wrote the National Association Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Latino Knowledge Community emagazine. I think that you will find it helpful if you are someone who is involved in trying to communicate a vision that requires significant change.

I have been reflecting much on the term “amigo leadership.” I first heard the term from Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, in the context of what we as Latinos bring to the table in regards to our leadership styles. The main reason I have been reflecting on this term is that it directly relates to my work as the Chief Diversity Officer on my campus. I believe that the cultural value of friendship goes a long way in helping me bring people along in the institutional change process. I believe that as change agents we need to move away from beating people over the head with a 2×4 when it comes to doing diversity, or any work, for that matter. I have found it much more effective to walk alongside people in this process. I also believe that this approach earns immediate rapport with institutional leaders.

There is a balance between coming alongside and pushing for change. There is a healthy tension that exists and one should continually ask questions about how hard to push for change and when to nurture people along in the process. My opinion is that when you nurture change it becomes much more sustainable. We all know that acquiring social capital can go a long way in helping us in change efforts as well as how we progress in our careers. I believe this approach to leadership is a way that we can demonstrate the benefits of diversity on our campuses. Amistad means valuing someone’s friendship. How many times have we been in a room where we are able to get a lot more done when we have a friendship with a colleague sitting across the table?

How does one develop these types of friendships? I’ve provided a few examples below.

· Take people to coffee

· Have lunch

· Ask about hobbies

· Ask about their passions and values

· Allow them to hear your story

· If they have been at the institution for a long time, ask them why they have been there so long.

· If they are resistant to the type of change you are promoting, ask them why

Will this approach always work? Most likely not, but it is better than the alternative and it will save you from burning out and feeling like you need to leave your position sooner than you should. Reflect with me on what other aspects of our culture add to the concept of “amigo leadership.”


Search Committees

July 16, 2011

In today’s edition of  Inside Higher Ed there was a story about the tactics that the University of Richmond used to diversify the gender composition of their Deans council. I wish more schools employed this type of strategy This strategy does require search committee to think outside the box and not rely on the old methods of acquiring a diverse pool. It also highlights the value that Richmond appears to be placing on diversity. I have included an excerpt from that story.

Richmond didn’t set out looking for female deans, said Steve Allred, Richmond’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, who co-chaired all three recent dean searches. Like all administrative searches, they wanted the best candidates for the various jobs.

But Allred said that, unlike other searches he’s seen, the searches at Richmond were infused with a sense of diversity from the very beginning. “You can’t create a diverse applicant pool by looking at it as an add-on to the search process, where you go through the motions and say, ‘Now let’s add some women and minorities,’ ” he said. “You really have to build that from the beginning with a sense of looking at any and every one.”

And building a diverse pool takes turning over a lot of stones. For example, over the course of the most recent search for the dean of the law school, he estimates that committee members made between 300 and 500 phone calls to prospective candidates or people who might be able to suggest candidates, some they knew and some cold. In all three searches, Allred said, the women who ended up with the jobs were the consensus favorites among the committees.

The various ways in which the four Richmond deans became candidates for their jobs underscore how hard the college had to work. Peart, an economist by training, developed a leadership studies program at Baldwin-Wallace. It was during the development of that program that she first encountered Richmond’s Jepson School. When Richmond began searching for a new dean, she was on the university’s list.

If your institution employs recruitment methods that are outside the norm, I encourage you to share them with us.


Pertinent Questions

June 20, 2011

Last week I received an email from a colleague at another faith-based institution asking me if George Fox is assessing how diversity is being measured in the classroom. Below is her email and my response.

I’m wondering if you can help me out with something.  I sit on the Diversity Council of [my institution's] Faculty Senate, and we have been trying for some time to institute a method of assessing diversity (particularly within classrooms).  We’ve been through several rounds of proposing questions to be added to faculty evaluations but have been met with a great deal of resistance.  I’m wondering if you have any good examples of how your campus handles this.  Our next approach is to compile a list of best practices from other institutions as a way of instigating a similar process at [our institution].  I’m interested in two forms of feedback:

  • Faculty evaluations that measure diversity factors
  • Any other means of assessing diversity on your campus (beyond just demographics)

I would really appreciate your recommendations.  In addition, do you have suggestions for others I could contact to request similar info?

MY RESPONSE:

We are in the same boat in regards to faculty evaluations. This is something that I am going to start working on the next academic year. In regards to assessing diversity. The last two times we did a campus wide evaluation it was with the instrument that I designed at Pomona College based on Daryl G. Smith’s dimensions of diversity framework. I am thinking about using the campus climate survey that the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) has developed on campus climate. The nice thing about using this tool is that you can benchmark with similar institutions.

George Fox University does look at NSSE data that we collect. There are few items that ask specifically about diversity. One in particular is in the Academic and Intellectual Experiences section.

Included diverse perspectives (different races, religions, genders, political beliefs, etc.) in class discussions and writing assignments.

YOUR TURN:

If you are currently at an institution that uses some type of assessment inside and outside the classroom I invite you to share by posting your comments.


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