In the wake of a nationwide discussion on racial injustice, Smeal Dean Charles H. Whiteman answered calls from the Smeal community to embrace action over words, forming the Smeal Diversity Task Force.
While discussing the initiative with the Smeal Board of Visitors, Karen Quintos, the former Dell chief customer officer and a Smeal alumna, told Whiteman about Dell’s diversity training.
Smeal has partnered with Dell to bring a version of that diversity training to the college. Dell representatives have trained several Diversity Task Force members who will, in turn, engage the greater Smeal community.
“Members of the Diversity Task Force were able to begin to identify their blind spots and learn tactics to prevent falling into familiar blind-spot patterns,” says Jamie Campbell, assistant dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs.
“The task force is using Dell’s unconscious bias foundational learning program as a template to create our own colleague-tocolleague training modules that will address diversity situations specific to higher education, the workplace, and the Smeal community.”
The training, which continues to evolve, will support practical and strategic goals of the college.
“The goal is to improve the climate, specifically within Smeal,” says Olivia Lewis, director of Diversity Enhancement Programs for Smeal.
“What are the characteristics of a place where you feel you belong, you can be your whole and authentic self, where you don’t feel excluded by any particular attribute? We want to ensure that people can have meaningful conversations about what is going on in the world in a brave space and create a network of enhanced cultural competence.”