Shot of a diverse group of people

AFIT's Virtual Deep Dive is a new educational offering we've developed in response to our members' needs. This program provides deep exploration of timely, relevant topics central to today's higher education landscape. Expert learning partners will guide candid conversations in a safe environment that foster valuable insights and actionable steps for higher education leaders and their team members.

Virtual Deep Dive: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Why are conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging difficult for leaders? What is necessary to have inclusive conversation and authentic connection? How can college campuses foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging? How have stakeholder expectations around leadership and communication changed, and how do we address and manage these new expectations? 

These questions and more will be examined in this Virtual Deep Dive.

  • When: Thursday, October 6, 2022 | 11 am - 3 pm/ET
  • Location: Zoom
  • Who's invited: AFIT CEOs and their staff; invited guests
    » Consider inviting members of your DEI team, HR staff, and other employees who support an inclusive workplace.
  • Tuition:

Learning Design

Workshop 1: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging - Courage, Culture & Communication

Learning Partner: Erika McMullen, Founder & CEO, Moxie Consulting Group
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours

Education has been called the great equalizer, with community colleges representing one of the most diverse segments of U.S. higher education. However, diversity doesn’t automatically result in inclusion. In addition, higher education currently reflects existing societal inequities, which the pandemic exacerbated. As a result, educational leaders have been called to respond to a myriad of social issues impacting staff members and the students they serve, including but limited to systemic racism, civil unrest, police brutality, discrimination, health inequities and violence against traditionally marginalized groups. These social issues impact students, staff and faculty in a myriad of ways. Therefore, leaders must build trust and understand the current perspective and experiences of multiple stakeholders.

Navigating these challenges requires a balance of courage, humility, and intentionality. However, most leaders have not had the opportunity to engage in conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in a supportive environment. DEI conversations require active listening without having your instinctual responses take over.

During this facilitated session, you will gain a deeper understanding into why these conversations are so difficult, identify your personal derailers, learn what is needed for authentic connection, and receive a communication framework.

Compelling Questions

  1. How have stakeholder expectations around leadership and communication changed? And how can we address and manage these changes and expectations?
  2. Why are conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion difficult for leaders? And what strategies have worked in your organization(s)?
  3. What is necessary to have inclusive conversation and authentic connection?
  4. How can college campuses foster diversity, equity and inclusion?

Workshop 2: Strategic Considerations for Managing and Responding to Social Issues

Learning Partner: Steve Rochlin, CEO, Impact ROI
Time: 1.5 - 2 hours

To preserve brand, reputation, and the so-called social license to operate, organizations must become active participants in social activism. The trend has been well documented by the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Economist, and many others.

A recent Harris poll finds 63% of Americans expect that in our time of national division and strife, organizational leadership should provide messaging and clear plans towards nation-wide healing. Yet, only 37% of organizations think they are doing a good job responding to social issues.

The CEO from one of our Fortune 1000 clients illustrates the challenge, when he states, “When should we put out statements of support? What should we say? When is more required and what do we do? We could literally do something every day!”

Currently, standard practice across organizations is to manage each social issue with its own ad hoc, bespoke decision-making process. Organizations struggle to find coherence and consistency from one response to the next. It’s unclear which functions should be involved and if and/or when the C- Suite should engage.

Organizations lack the framework to judge if the scope of their response fits needs and expectations, and ways to judge effectiveness. At the same time, organizations don’t have the luxury of passing the opportunity to engage, and instead need a strategic approach to determine when and how they get involved.

Compelling Questions

  • How should college campuses define social issues and social risks?
  • What should leaders consider to find an approach that is "just right"?
  • How should college campuses think about when to make an intentional decision to "pick sides" and when to remain neutral?
  • How does a social issues strategy align to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?

About AFIT's Virtual Deep Dive

AFIT's Virtual Deep Dive is a new educational offering we've developed in response to our members' needs. This program provides deep exploration of timely, relevant topics central to today's higher education landscape. Expert learning partners will guide candid conversations in a safe environment that foster valuable insights and actionable steps for higher education leaders and their team members.