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Administrative Support in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Recent years have seen an increased focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at UR, including the introduction of committees and councils, training for employees, and the hiring of an Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Thriving in the School of Arts & Sciences. UR seems to be taking a 10,000-foot view, but questions still abound regarding their granular focus.

Often overlooked, one possible source of DEI assistance lies with the administrative support staff on campus.  Administrative support personnel assist with everything from budget management to program support to filing, just to name a few. While there are any number of tasks an administrative support staff member may be asked to do, furthering DEI on campus is typically not one of them.

Below are four areas of focus in which Administrative support personnel may be able to take small steps to further DEI on campus. Your feedback and further suggestions are welcome (e-mail to Shani Buchholz).

Awareness

Building knowledge and procedures to provide bias-free and inclusive service and assistance:

  • Be mindful of how you address people when they come into your office, including how to properly pronounce their name
  • Participate in DEI training/classes.  For example, you can check out Lynda.com for cultural competency and inclusion courses or look for future ally training opportunities through Common Ground.
  • Knowing the correct language to use
  • Lead by example
Communications

Ensuring that you are communicating with others using language that is inclusive:

  • Review and update website with language that is gender-neutral
  • Review and update forms with language that is gender-neutral.  Include a question about the proper pronunciation of the person's name.
  • Create or join applicable listservs to share your ideas
  • Using proper pronouns and language when communicating with others
  • Including link to gender-neutral bathroom locations in e-mail signature
Events

Striving to make events and programs inclusive and welcoming to a variety of populations on campus:

  • Arrange for sign language interpreter(s) for events
  • Include handicapped accessible buildings in all searches for event spaces
  • Include gender-neutral bathroom locations in all searches for event spaces
  • Include link to gender-neutral bathroom locations in meeting invitations
  • Include link to handicapped parking spaces in meeting invitations
  • Broaden scope of food vendors to allow for more diversity in food choices
  • Cast a widely-diverse net when deciding on those to invite to events/meetings
Service

Expanding your footprint to include efforts outside of your office/department:

  • Join committees
  • Attend USAC (University Staff Advisory Council) meetings and let your voice be heard

DEI Lunchtime Discussion

Administrative Support professionals are invited to pack their lunch and join Shani Buchholz in a discussions on topics and issues related to Administrative Support in DEI. This month’s meeting will take place on Wed., Jul. 24, 2019, from 12:00 p.m. –1:00 p.m., in THC 310. The topic will be Unconscious Bias (also known as Implicit Bias).