College Launches Culture Advocate Series

The College of Business recently launched an Inclusive Culture Advocate Series. This ongoing series will provide members of the Business community with opportunities to expand their understanding and approach to diversity and inclusion.

“When we administered our first culture survey last fall overarching feedback was that we needed to focus on creating an inclusive culture,” said LaTonya Wilkins, director of talent management and the organizer of the workshop series. “All of our faculty, staff and students should feel welcome here. The goal is that upon completion of the series, an individual can feel that they understand how to be an active inclusive culture advocate.” Inclusive Culture Session April 2017

The first workshop in this series held in early April, presented by Illini Hillel staff, focused on the Jewish faith. A workshop for students was held on April 6, and one for faculty and staff on April 7. Led by facilitators Erez Cohen and Carly Froomkin Burak of the Illini Hillel, the session touched on the history of Judaism, religious observances, holidays, and the state of the overall Jewish experience from a student perspective.

”Feedback from the session was very positive. Even faculty and staff that thought that they had a working understanding of the Jewish faith learned something useful that they can apply on the job,” said Wilkins. One faculty participant said, “Going forward, I will add a line to my syllabus to encourage students present dates that may conflict with exams and holidays.”

Future workshops will cover other relevant diversity and inclusion topics. Subject areas will include recognizing unconscious bias, women in business and Islam 101. Attendance at any of these workshops is voluntary on the part of students, faculty, and staff.  Each person that completes the series will receive an electronic and physical learning badge to display on their door or laptop.