As outlined in its strategic plan, Georgia Tech is focused on engaging the campus community — who represent a rich tapestry of backgrounds, perspectives, interests, and talents — in celebration of diversity in all its forms. In pursuit of that ideal, survey data suggests some faculty, staff, and students expressed feelings of marginalization based on gender, race, and ethnicity.
The Strategic Plan Advisory Group (SPAG) solicits new ideas from the campus community each year that will continue the implementation of the strategic plan and address gaps in advancing the goals of the Institute. Based on the 2013 Climate Assessment Survey findings, a SPAG proposal was submitted by Pearl Alexander, Cheryl Cofield, Magnus Egerstedt, Beki Grinter, Pinar Keskinocak, Steve McLaughlin, and Beril Toktay in 2016 to launch three diversity and inclusion initiatives: (1) Diversity and Inclusion Councils, (2) Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program, and (3) Transformative Narratives.
Diversity and Inclusion Councils
Taking a faculty/student/staff-led approach to diversity and inclusion, a network of councils was formed in each of Tech’s six colleges. The purpose of these Diversity and Inclusion Councils is a localized effort to identify and recommend solutions to any diversity-related issues – in order to raise awareness and address these critical issues.
Each Council is comprised of faculty, staff, and students who work on self-selected topics throughout the academic year.
In each college, the Council acts in an advisory capacity to their dean and school chairs and forms a communication and collaboration network across colleges and with Institute leadership.
Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program
With support from Institute Diversity, the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program brings together faculty, staff, and students who individually and collectively advance their action, research, or teaching objectives while improving inclusivity on campus. This program is a bottom-up initiative, tapping into the creativity and diversity of thought among our campus community to crowdsource ideas that create long-term culture change.
The goals of the program are to cultivate a network of ambassadors who will advance a culture of inclusive excellence and to create an environment where people feel safe, comfortable, and empowered to discuss diversity and inclusion at Georgia Tech.
Following an application period in fall 2016, 21 faculty, staff, and students were selected as fellows based on their submitted proposals, which were scored on inventiveness and likelihood to change the campus culture. The fellows were then grouped into three teams, and each team identified a leader or co-leader.
Initial ideas from the fellows include symposia, workshops, improvisational performances, surveys, mentorship programs, and journaling exercises focusing on the dimensions and intersections of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability.
For more information on the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program, visit diversity.gatech.edu/DIFellowsProgram.
We realize the power of stories in advancing our overarching goal of inclusive excellence, and believe storytelling to be an act of inclusion. By sharing our diverse experiences and perspectives, storytelling powerfully connects us, generates social awareness, and fosters belonging within the campus community.
Members of the Georgia Tech community are invited to share their personal stories through Transformative Narratives, a series of traveling exhibits designed to showcase the rich tapestry of our diverse campus population.
Curated by Institute Diversity’s Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement unit and captured by professional photographer Adam Mastoon, the Transformative Narratives first exhibit of 24 artistically embellished photographic portraits debuted at the Eighth Annual Diversity Symposium in 2016. These portraits captured varied aspects of our campus community members’ personal journeys, but shared a common thread of introspection and self-expression.
Ultimately, the exhibits are intended to enhance and deepen personal awareness, and engender connection, empathy, and compassion for all who experience it.
For more information on the Transformative Narratives, visit sdie.gatech.edu/transformative-narratives.