Diversity Development Institute — Fall 2015 Lunch and Learn Series

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute offers abbreviated versions of the Virginia Tech Diversity Development Institute’s workshops, which are designed to enhance university-wide diversity and inclusion efforts.

Sessions are facilitated by a subject matter experts using curricula grounded in extensive research and practical experiences. After completing 12 hours (6 sessions), participants are eligible for the Diversity Associate Certificate. Some of the courses offered also count as electives toward the Diversity Ally Certificate offered by Virginia Tech’s Diversity Development Institute.

Last year, Virginia Tech Carilion provided seven different sessions covering topics related to Diversity and Inclusion. Credits were also awarded to those who participated in Safe Zone training at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Nearly 100 colleagues participated in the 2014-15 sessions, and 24 received Diversity Associate Certificates.

Lunches are open to Virginia Tech Carilion faculty, staff, and students at no charge. Each session meets from 12 to 2 p.m. in room M210. For more information, contact Lauren Wiley.

Fall 2015 Lunch and Learn Speakers are listed below. Sessions marked with an asterisk indicate workshops that are a core requirement for the Diversity Associate Certificate.


Thursday, September 24
Fundamentals of Diversity: Appreciating Differences*
Michelle James-Deramo
Director of Diversity and Inclusion Education and Initiatives
Office for Diversity and Inclusion
Virginia Tech

This workshop will engage participants in developing their thinking about diversity. It will use creative expression and personal reflection to deconstruct the notion of diversity as “otherness.” The desired outcome is for participants to get to know one another beyond their social signifiers. To achieve this outcome, however, they will need to understand how these social signifiers matter.


Thursday, October 8
Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World*
Alicia Cohen
Associate Director of Diversity Education and Initiatives
Office for Diversity and Inclusion
Virginia Tech

This session will explore communication skills for promoting inclusion and respect in the workplace, as well as ways to use communication to effectively address issues of incivility and disrespect. The power of respect and speaking up will be highlighted through the use of real-life examples.


Tuesday, October 20
Recognizing and Challenging Microaggressions
Natasha Cox, PhD
Assistant Director and LGBT Community Advocate
Intercultural Engagement Center
Division of Student Affairs
Virginia Tech

This interactive training aims to expand understanding of microaggression theory and the subtle ways in which bias, prejudice, and discrimination are present in our everyday lives. Participants will also explore how internalized oppression and internalized dominance influence these ever-present microinequalities.


Thursday, November 12
Religious Pluralism
Michelle James-Deramo
Director of Diversity and Inclusion Education and Initiatives
Office for Diversity and Inclusion
Virginia Tech

Religion is the way that people derive meaning and order in their world. Even individuals who profess to be non-religious or religiously unaffiliated work out a system of thought and behavior for making sense of the big questions of life. Thus, our world is characterized by a vast religious diversity that impacts our public lives in ways that are simultaneously unifying and contentious. This session explores religious pluralism as an encounter of commitments that actively seeks understanding across lines of difference.


Wednesday, December 2
Privilege and Oppression
David Embrick, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology
Loyola University Chicago

This workshop will provide a detailed sociological overview of the process and resulting structure by which people become differentiated from one another and arranged in graded strata with varying degrees of privilege, such as social, psychological, and economic. Participants will learn about structural inequality and will be introduced to various understandings of prejudice and discrimination. The workshop will conclude with a discussion about how to begin fighting racial, gender, and class oppressions in a society that gives privileges to certain groups over others.