As part of the OREGON STATE ADVANCE Seminar all participants are expected to apply their knowledge and new understandings of difference by proposing actions to create change within their spheres of influence. Each term seminar graduates come together at all-cohort gatherings to reconnect, strategize, and share about their work on action plans. Access a video of seminar graduates President Ed Ray, Ron Adams, Tiffany Garcia, and Troy Hall discussing their work following the seminar here.
Through their action plans seminar participants work to advance transformation within and across units at the personal, symbolic, and institutional levels. Participants are engaged in a wide range of activities, which, to-date, have generally fit within the following broad categories.
Seminar participants across the university are envisioning ways to modify existing policies and practices as well as propose new ways to make Oregon State University a more equitable and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, and students with a particular focus on policy impacts for women faculty and faculty from other underrepresented groups. To-date, the focus has included policies and practices in areas such as promotion and tenure, accessibility, family leave, and graduate admissions.
Through collaboration with the Search Advocate program, seminar participants learn about implicit bias particularly as it pertains to the search and selection process. As a result, many seminar participants have developed action plans focused on utilizing more equitable search, selection, and hiring practices. Participants are focusing on changes ranging from requiring Search Advocates on all search committees to revising position descriptions.
As one example, the College of Agricultural Sciences has been an active member in ADVANCE initiatives, including the summer seminar, and college leaders have devised action plans focused on enhancing search and employment practices. The College of Agricultural Sciences has implemented the search and hiring standards from the 2014-2015 Provost Hiring Initiative as the standard hiring practice for the college. These practices include requiring a Search Advocate on all committees, having a committee chair who has been through the Search Advocate training program, and having the Associate Deans approve the pool of applicants before moving forward in the search process. Summer 2015 seminar graduate and Associate Dean, Dan Edge, presented on steps that the College of Agricultural Sciences has taken to affect a cultural change within the college with respect to hiring and promoting a more diverse workforce at the Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society in Raleigh, NC in October 2016.
Assessing diversity, equity, and inclusivity is another area in which seminar participants are focusing their actions. One specific strategy proposed by several seminar participants has been to develop unit specific climate surveys to better understand the experiences of faculty in their immediate environments. These efforts are intended to complement biennial climate surveys at the university level while also helping to more immediately inform and shape departmental initiatives and policy decisions focused on creating more equitable and inclusive environments.
Seminar participants are applying the knowledge gained in the seminar to curriculum development for both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as for staff and faculty. Examples of actions in this area include working to develop Difference, Power, and Discrimination learning outcomes and concepts in graduate student courses and developing small group experiences for undergraduate students. Additionally, seminar participants are working to share the knowledge gained in the seminar with other staff and faculty members in their units through workshops, trainings, and faculty and staff development sessions.
Effective mentoring is a critical component of efforts to increase the participation and advancement of women and others from historically underrepresented groups who are faculty in STEM. For this reason, mentoring has emerged as a focus for several seminar participants. Actions to-date include both efforts to develop formal practices such as developing mentoring plans for early-career faculty and graduate students as well as broader efforts to build a climate of mentorship that emphasizes equity, inclusion, and justice.
Messages and images play an important role in shaping institutions and informing the experiences of individuals within them. For that reason, an important focus of seminar participants has been to devise actions that address communications, both at the college and university levels. Leaders in University Relations and Marketing participated in the ADVANCE Seminar and have since furthered their efforts to cultivate an ethos of inclusivity and equity both within the division and in their work on behalf of the institution.
Additionally, the College of Engineering has highlighted their commitment to inclusive excellence in the Winter 2017 Momentum! You can access the publication and learn about the work they are doing here.