At Cornell, diversity is defined as the existence of multiple different and complex social identities and issues in society or a space. In yearly diversity trainings, the organizations making up the Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (ADI) learn the intricacies of diversity and behaviors that contribute to a more inclusive environment in the workplace. The fiscal year 2016 diversity training was modified from previous years to allow staff members to customize their own training experience.
Unlike prior years when all staff members took the same facilitated training session, this year’s options were plentiful, allowing staff members to choose an aspect of diversity to study and take personal responsibility for what they learned and how they learned it. Staff members could choose from two types of training:
- Self-guided training: A choice of seven short videos and eight articles, presented online, on topics such as bias, disability, diversity, inclusion, race, and sexism.
- In-person training: Two facilitated training sessions led by ILR Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion Cornell Woodson covering two separate topics: micro-inequities and unconscious bias.
The two facilitated sessions were given twice each, to provide scheduling flexibility for staff members.
As part of the trainings, staff members were asked to complete three surveys: two surveys designed to assess their before-and-after knowledge of and impressions about the topic they had chosen, and one final survey to gauge their overall impressions of their learning on the topic and the training itself.
The survey information will be analyzed to help shape future programs. Response to the pre- and post-training surveys was high. Of the nearly 490 staff members who took the training, more than 90% completed the pre-training survey, and about 90% completed the post-training survey. Overall, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with more than 90% of respondents stating that they enjoyed the training. All training was completed February 15, 2016.
This newly designed training was developed to attune to the university’s new focus on “the lived experience of diversity” at Cornell, which seeks to encourage campus community members to put their learned skills to use in daily life.