The day-and-a-half conference features a half-dozen workshops designed to teach participants how to apply the principles of cultural competence to their work at Dartmouth and “create a diverse professional development experience that supports the growth and retention of Dartmouth’s greatest asset, its people,” according to the event’s mission statement.
Evelynn Ellis, the vice president for institutional diversity and equity, says the summit comes at a time when it’s particularly important for the College to demonstrate the commitment to pluralism that it has outlined in the Inclusive Excellence initiative.
“If we’re going to push forward, we at IDE can enable that push. And this summit, I think, is an enabler, because it brings together people from all across the campus,” Ellis says. “It’s really a launching pad for people who want to become more involved in diversity and inclusivity. We want to give them some concrete ways to do that.”
The summit begins with sessions focused on self-discovery, says Theodosia Cook, director of equal opportunity and affirmative action, who has helped organize the event.
“A lot of times in diversity and inclusivity work, we start talking about other people instead of ourselves,” Cook says. “But we have to identify who we are, how are we positioned, how people perceive us, where we want to go, and what we value, because if we don’t understand that, how can we give empathy to someone else’s values?”
Other offerings include training in restorative justice in the workplace, how to design humanities courses that teach leadership and cultural competence, developing an equitable pedagogy, effective communication, managing diverse conflict styles in professional relationships, and more.
“It’s also just going to be fun,” Cook says. “It’s a time to have staff and faculty members from all over the institution come together, get to know one another, have deep conversations with each other, discuss and share their challenges as well as their insights, and then go and have an indoor barbecue in the wintertime and play games and become more of a community.”
Ellis says building that community is a key motive behind the summit. “We talk a lot all the time about community, and one thing we hope the summit will do is create a vehicle to unite that community. If we can bring people together annually so that they feel, here is this community where we can come together and energize each other, educate each other, I think that creates a whole new ballgame for Dartmouth.”
Registration for the summit is now open. Space is limited.