The Inclusive Leader's Toolkit

The Inclusive Leader's Toolkit

Angela Nicole Spranger (Christopher Newport University, USA)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7379-2.ch013
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This chapter provides basic definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and identifies skills and competencies necessary for the chief diversity officer (CDO) in higher education, post-2020. Specific concepts from research and industry provide strategies and tactics for the professional stepping into “the work.” This chapter enters the dialogue about DEI from the entry point of consulting as change manager with faculty experience. It proceeds from there to discuss the five terrains of inclusive excellence that offer a new foundation for equity of policy and practice in higher education. The terrains lead into an examination of intersectionality and the work of creating an intentionally diverse community. Decision quality and critical thinking and other competencies for inclusive excellence leadership, such as emotional intelligence and cultural competence, round out the dialogue with specific observations from and suggestions for research and practice.
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In an online dialogue forum in March of 2021, a participant asked, “Can you define equality and equity and give examples?” The panelists gave answers from their areas of expertise, but none offered a definitive answer until the Chief Diversity Officer spoke. This question frequently arises in the United States because “equality” according to the 14th amendment to the US Constitution provides broad guidelines for treating minoritized groups of all kinds; it does not explicitly teach “equity,” though, and few would know if it did. Before addressing this distinction, though, one must create a shared understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Winters (2017) has stated that “[d]iversity is more than race. It includes age, gender, gender identity, background, religion, sexual orientation, and so on” (p. 133). Others have described diversity in terms of surface-level or visible identity differentiators, and deep-level (McShane & Von Glinow, 2008) or those invisible factors that influence cultural affiliation and engagement, like neurodiversity. In a recent podcast, research professor Brene Brown described diversity as character traits that reflect protected class identities, often factors that lead to disparities (Brown & Bethea, 2020). While these definitions of diversity suffice to initiate the conversation, like the popular metaphor of diversity representing being invited into a space (a meeting, a party, or a dinner), one must also remember that diversity may become diluted, that leaders may become distracted, by this weakening. To combat this effect, Myers (2014) offers scientific evidence from the Harvard Implicit Association Test and compelling imagery to help predominantly White audiences to see Black men differently. This leads to the next important definition, “inclusion.” Many professionals focused on inclusion suggest, metaphorically, that if diversity is (identity-based) being invited into the space, then inclusion represents being engaged in the activity by those who created the context. For example, Myers has referred to one's experience of a party: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance” (Sherbin & Rashid, 2017). Other diversity professionals argue that this oversimplifies the complicated dynamics of inclusion and minimizes power dynamics in corporate interactions (Juday, 2017).

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