Diversity Forum 2024: Workshops and Forums

Open to the public: Register now

All sessions are virtual and will be provided through CVENT.

Descriptions of workshops have been edited for space and conciseness. Workshops are subject to change without notice.


Opinions expressed by speakers during the Diversity Forum are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Pittsburgh. The mere appearance of content during the Diversity Forum does not constitute an endorsement by Pitt or its affiliates of such content.

Wednesday, Jan. 24

Workshop Session 1: 9:30 a.m.
Workshop Session 2: 11 a.m.
Workshop Session 3: 2:30 p.m.
Workshop Session 4: 3:45 p.m.

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Workshop Session #1

Reimagining Allyship Through Storytelling

Ahmed Ghuman
University of Pittsburgh

This will be an interactive workshop that will focus on storytelling to engage, inspire, and empower participants to engage in allyship.

Understanding Power, Building Your Own, and Transforming Your Community

Beatrice Fadrigon
University of California at Berkeley

This interactive presentation is largely based off of experiences in being a community organizer in Pittsburgh and Berkeley, and using my research background to make intentional and informed decisions to uplift leaders and community members. I plan to present a slide deck that engages with the audience to frame the workshop in a movement, a passion, or a community that empowers them. This kind of framing allows the audience to engage with the rest of the workshop in a critical mindset that they can then actively apply outside of the symposium.

Avoiding the 'savior complex' in helping professions: Decolonizing practices in favor of culturally compassionate perspectives

Bobbie Hall
University of Pittsburgh

The term "white savior complex" was coined by writer Teju Cole in 2012. We will discuss how this term can help us better identify and decolonize harmful mindsets and practices in the helping professions. We will specifically touch on traditional medical, mental health, and human service spaces.

Bridging the Gap in Accessibility and Accommodations: An OT Student's Lived Experience

Christie Cyktor
University of Pittsburgh

Currently, there is a growing number of students in higher education who are self-disclosing a disability. The increased need for student accessibility and accommodations in clinical environments is challenging for occupational therapy programs. In this interactive session participants will understand the need for accessible clinic spaces and student support needs and accommodations in the healthcare setting.

Practice Challenge! Listen to Understand

Felicia Friedman
YogaRoots On Location, LLC

Folxs will bring their ideas thoughts and reflections about what equity means to them. There will be breakout rooms and whole group listening sessions to practice listening to understand instead of predatory listening to respond or debate. Folx are asked to bring their edgy opinions and reflections.

Data Equity Scorecard

Janette Isaacson
Oregon Institute of Technology

The Data Equity score card is a transparency tool leading to data driven decision-making, campus wide discussions, goal setting and the conscious reduction of institutional equity gaps. Scorecards do more than provide a snapshot of how an institution is performing. Data Equity Scorecard provides an objective assessment of the efforts being taken to close institutional equity gaps and advance improvements in equity, inclusion, diversity and belonging.

La reflexión es la madre de la sabiduria/Self-reflection is the mother of wisdom: An equity, inclusion and diversity plática among two system HSIs

Judith Flores Carmona
New Mexico State University

Our workshop will engage participants in a series of self-reflexive questions that we will answer by providing examples of our process and progress at our campuses--New Mexico State University (NMSU) and Doña Ana Community College (DACC). How did we move from listening and dialoguing to the approval of a systemwide goal that centers an EID praxis? How does listening and having constructive dialogue create equity spaces at DACC and NMSU?

Equitable Integration: Understanding Its Significance and Pathways to Success

Keisha Jones
North Carolina Community College System

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have always been crucial considerations in the workplace, but its significance has now evolved into a pressing need for change. In this session, we will delve into the paramount significance of seamlessly integrating equity into all aspects of our actions and activities. Additionally, we will explore a set of straightforward yet powerful strategies that you can immediately incorporate.

Activism Preparedness

Orville Morales
Morales & Associates LLC

There has never been a better and more critical time in our human history to become an advocate for social change. However, the increase of misinformation, apathy, and cynicism in our public affairs makes it very difficult to inspire people to advocate for themselves on matters that impact them.

Opening Doors and Instilling Hope: Cultural Humility and Broaching in Mental Health

Tushita Mayanil
University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

Presenters will discuss the concept of cultural humility as a process of self-reflection and self-awareness to better understand personal and systemic biases and privilege and how it affects the practice of mental health care. Participants will then use interactive tools such as the social identity grid to reflect on their identity and how that affects their social network.

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10:30 to 11 a.m.: Break

11 a.m. to 12 noon: Workshop Session #2

Amplifying Voices at the Intersections of Race, Gender & Religion

  • Brock Bahler, University of Pittsburgh, “Listening to Religious Rhetoric from the Margins of Empire”
  • Nada Abdulaziz, University of Pittsburgh, “Islam, Race, and Civil Rights Through Black Muslim Experiences: Listening to Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali”
  • Shivani Chokkalingam, University of Pittsburgh, “Amplifying the Voices of the Victims of Legal Loopholes”
  • Sam Podnar, University of Pittsburgh, “Articulating the Inarticulable and Listening with Empathy”

Building Bridges: Experiential Learning for Active Listening and Constructive Dialogue

Erica Owen
University of Pittsburgh

This panel will include speakers from Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, School of Social Work, Institute of Politics, and Pitt Office of Engagement and Community Affairs who work with students to do community engaged work.

Intergroup Dialogue and Advancing DEI in Higher Education (and Beyond)

Giovanni Negron-Garcia
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

Intergroup dialogue uses dialogic principles to focus conversations on how people with differing social identities have differential access to social power, privilege and cherished resources. In this session, the presenter will share information about intergroup dialogue and how to use it.

Beyond Language Access: Creating Multilingual Spaces Through Language Justice

Marisol Villela Balderrama
University of Pittsburgh

How can we create multilingual spaces where all participants feel welcome and encouraged to speak using the language in which they feel most powerful? What voices are left out when a meeting is run only in the dominant language? This workshop will explore these and other questions through the lens of Language Justice.

Authentic Relationships to Spark Change

Meagan Niebler
Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

Authentic relationships are the foundation to community change. But too often, we are unable to spend the time we need to grow strong relationships, are unsure of how to talk about things we care about with people who hold different values than us, and sometimes feel power imbalances that make strong relationships challenging. Throughout this workshop, you will be given the intentional time to think and plan your relationships and storytelling through frameworks that Fair Shake uses in our environmental justice programming throughout the Ohio River Valley.

The Identity and Intersectionality Workshop Introduction

Stephen Cirino
University of the Arts

As we continue our work in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA), we must delve into the intricate structures of each. A critical element at the core of DEIA is the concept of intersectionality and identity. Understanding these aspects enriches our comprehension of individual and group experiences and has a transformative impact on how we approach DEIA initiatives at the institutional level.

Flattened by the World: A CuPID (Community, Partnership, Identity, Dialogue) Conversation

Susan Graff
University of Pittsburgh

This presentation will have two parts. The first part will focus on active listening. The facilitators will provide a brief overview of active listening strategies and encourage participants to employ these strategies while watching a 12.5-minute documentary short entitled "Flattened by the World," in which University of Pittsburgh students, staff, and faculty discuss the ways in which they have and have not felt seen in different spaces. The second part of the presentation will focus on constructive dialogue. Participants will be put into smaller groups in breakout rooms and asked to share their own experiences of being flattened or put into a box.

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12 noon to 12:15 pm: Break

12:30 to 2 p.m.: Heart to Heart

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Workshop Session #3

Greater Workplace Inclusivity Begins with Language

Allegra Elson
Vibrant Pittsburgh

Communicating successfully requires practice and skill. Communicating successfully and inclusively in the workplace is a continual process. This workshop will discuss how to overcome obstacles that may impede respectful, meaningful conversations, recognize differences in communication styles and how to apply precise inclusive language principles.

Shape Shifters: Presenting Positive Paradigms and Perspectives on Single Motherhood

Christine McClure
University of Pittsburgh

The existing research on single mothers is grim. In this session, participants will learn from a panel of current and formal single mothers who are highly educated, successful businesswomen, educators, and entrepreneurs about the positive aspects of single motherhood and the skills they developed as single mothers that allowed them to be successful in other areas of their lives. The session is intended to be an open discussion regarding our responsibility to present research that does not cause or reinforce harm and how we as academics can to shift the narrative to highlight the positive paradigms and perspectives of single motherhood.

Understanding Your Relationship to Conflict

Jen Fry

If you’re committed to creating a more inclusive culture within your organization, and having constructive dialogue, learning how to effectively navigate conflict is key. We’ll start with examining your own relationship with conflict, as this is foundational to understanding what strategies you need for effectively navigating conflict moving forward.

Intersections between Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement: A Panel Discussion Among Associate Deans

Lina Dostilio
University of Pittsburgh

This panel discussion will explore the intersections between community engagement and EDI, discuss practical implications and opportunities for strategic alignment to deepen these vital aspects of higher education, and share initiatives that represent these related bodies of work.

Educating and Empowering The Complete Student

Nakia Perry
Harrisburg (Pa.) Area Community College

Many of today's students cannot focus solely on their education. There are competing outside factors that can stop a student from being successful. What would it look like if an institution acknowledged these outside factors and viewed a student holistically? What would it look like if there were systems in place to support the entire student? HACC's CARE Center does just this!

Being Black Is A Pre-Existing Health Condition

Ryan Ivory
University of Kentucky

In our ever-evolving world, the themes of health equity and social justice remain paramount. At the heart of these crucial discussions, our proposed presentation, titled "Being Black is a Pre-Existing Health Condition," addresses the intricate intersection of race and health with a particular focus on the challenges faced by Black individuals. This presentation aims to shed light on the systemic inequities that have plagued Black communities for generations, leading to health disparities that persist to this day.

Let's Talk about Caste-Based Discrimination in U.S. Higher Education

Sera Mathew
University of Pittsburgh

Darshan Solanki, a first-generation Dalit student, died by suicide in February 2023 due to caste-based discrimination at one of India’s premier universities. These incidents echo through higher education institutions in U.S. communities and campuses. This session will provide tools and strategies to challenge caste hegemonies in college classrooms and higher education more broadly.

Social Emotional Learning & Racial Equity in a County-Wide, Higher Education Community of Practice

Shannon Wanless
University of Pittsburgh

This session is grounded in experiences from a yearlong (2023-24) Community of Practice, developed in response to the social isolation and racial discourse surfaces during the pandemic. In this panel, we will share experiences of Faculty and Staff Community of Practice participants, from across 6 higher education institutions, and disciplines. Panelists will describe their co-created definitions of each topic, and applications in higher education settings. Their own experiences attempting to bring these practices into their workspaces, will be described, as well as lessons learned.

Leading with Inclusion and Respect: A framework for developing cultural competency

Sharon Hardy
The City University of New York

This 60-minute interactive workshop will provide strategies and tools for creating and sustaining an inclusive, respectful, and culturally competent workplace and/or classroom. Participants will gain awareness of implicit and explicit biases and learn proven techniques for mitigating unconscious bias. We will identify workplace indicators of bias and develop solutions through open discussion.

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3:30 to 3:45 p.m.: Break

3:45 to 4:45 p.m.: Workshop Session #4

Occupational Justice Discussions - Creating Student-Driven, Department-Wide, and JEDI Inspired Conversations

Jennifer S. White
University of Pittsburgh

This session will identify how I designed occupational justice (OJ) discussions within the Department of Occupational Therapy. The OJ program serves as a space for students, faculty, and staff to reflect, share thoughts, and take action, on issues related to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (JEDI), and health disparities. The result is a mix of students, faculty and staff having rich and diverse conversations based on their different experiences and perspectives.

Double-Marginalized or Double-Powerful: Being Queer and POC Asset Mapping

Robert Young
Lafayette College

In small groups, participants will share their own experiences, strengths, and challenges related to their identities, focusing on Queer and POC experiences. Each small group will present a asset map to the larger workshop group. What did they learn about the strengths and experiences of others? How can these assets be leveraged to address challenges or seize opportunities? What are the next steps for fostering understanding, empathy, and solidarity in their communities?

Circle Up! Conversations to empower students to discuss agency and intimacy

Carrie Benson
University of Pittsburgh

Circle Up, which was modeled after Stanford University's conversation circles, is a dialogue-based prevention program that engages students in meaningful conversations around consent, healthy relationships, boundary setting, and expectations. The program focuses on sexual misconduct victimization prevention with an emphasis on prevention strategies designed for student populations who experience higher victimization rates. Our data showed significant improvements in sexual communication self-efficacy. Circle Up is building trust and helping students navigate their relationships with more agency.

The Imperative Missing DEI Conversation: Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities

J Cody Nielsen
Dickinson College

Religious, Secular, and Spiritual identities (RSSIs) are some of the most underserved areas of higher education DEI efforts on campus, public and private. This session will highlight frameworks of policies and practices which affect the entire campus experience for students, staff, and faculty. Drawing upon more than 150 case studies of institutions across the United States and Canada, this session introduces what is arguably one of the most crucial emerging and for too long not addressed areas of effort in higher education.

Creating Safe Spaces in Academic Places

LaShonda Flowers
Flowers Global Consulting

Since 2020 students have witnessed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and racial and political unrest, all while trying to maintain successful academic careers. How do we provide safe places for students to express their feelings, and concerns while providing them opportunities to create change?

The Collision of Social Characteristics, the Social Determinants of Health, and Disability for Older Adults

Lilcelia Williams
University of Pittsburgh

As clinicians, educators, and researchers we must acknowledge, elevate, and honor the lived experiences of older adults and persons from minoritized communities to mitigate health disparities and to improve outcomes. These efforts begin with understanding and incorporating the principles of intersectionality. Intersectionality recognizes the multiple, intersecting social identities and distinct lived experiences of every individual, and the potential impact that these intersections may have on our well-being.

A Seat at the Grown-up Table: The Importance of Youth-Adult Partnership for Inclusive and Sustainable Decision-Making

Morgan McCray
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

The workshop will begin with an interactive simulation that allows workshop participants to experience various styles of youth-adult partnership. After the simulation, the facilitators will lead a debrief that allows participants to examine representation and power imbalance within their group discussions. We will examine the concept of youth voice, why youth voice is important for equitable dialogue and decision-making, and share resources that participants can use to amplify youth voices in a variety of settings, such as classrooms, organizations, and businesses.

Conflict Analysis: A Transformation Approach

Nicole Caridad Ralston
Beloved Community

Conflict transformation is a way to reframe how we engage in discourse that has the potential to be destructive. In this session, facilitators will guide participants through understanding the foundations of conflict transformation versus conflict resolution and will offer strategies and tools for moving from resolution toward transformation.

Building Data Literacy to Avoid Territorial Stigmatization

Robert Gradeck
University Center for Social and Urban Research at Pitt

The impacts of territorial stigmatization are serious and extensive. Stigma is a label imposed on people and communities from the outside and is a way of denying or taking away power by “othering” communities and people associated with them. Treating communities as persistently inferior legitimizes continued injustice, discrimination, and harm. We will focus on how this form of stigmatization often obscures the structural causes of inequality through the institutionalization and perpetuation of racism, classism, colonialism, and discrimination.

A Language We All Speak: Art as a Catalyst for Equity

Zuly Inirio
University of Pittsburgh

In this panel discussion, we engage with local artists and organizations that uplift artists and artmaking that centers advocacy and activism. We will explore how artistic expression can facilitate important and difficult conversations and inspire empathy. We will also discuss the power of art in shifting the paradigm when it comes to social and racial justice. The panel will include Leigh Solomon-Pugliano, CEO of the Equity|Impact Center and creator of the Scale Fellowship for Black Women in Music; Farooq Al-Said, Director of Operations at 1Hood Media; Mai Khoi, Singer, and Political Activist; and Darrell Kinsel, Creative Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Boom Concepts.

Beyond Bias Impact: A Transformative Option

Adrienne Davis
AMBDavis Equity Coaching

Administrators, staff, and faculty want (and need) guidance that prepares them to navigate the tension between free speech/expression and identity-related harm. Equity and inclusion leaders, HR professionals, advisors, and mentors want to learn more expansive options for support. This session invites participants to co-create a learning space where we can expand our understanding of accountability and action when identity-related harm is caused. Together, we will build skills that make equity and inclusion efforts visible and tangible for members of the campus community and beyond.

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