Conestoga news

October 22, 2021 11:15 AM

Employee workshops foster equity, diversity and inclusion

Conestoga’s Student Engagement and Employee Experience & Development teams have collaborated to present a workshop series to employees which enables participants to understand the value of anti-oppression and anti-racism approaches in developing a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Conestoga College workshop series aims to foster knowledge and skills in personal understanding, dimensions of diversity, interpersonal communication, and inclusive practices. First offered in the spring, the series is the latest evolution of community and leadership workshops available to employees and mirrors co-curricular opportunities offered to Conestoga students.

“Student Engagement works to promote a college community that emphasizes collaborative relationships that are based on understanding, acceptance and inclusion through a variety of educational programming and initiatives,” said Amy Baird, manager, Student Engagement. “While our programming and events are focused on student development, we do see a lot of employee engagement. There was a need to align development opportunities offered to Conestoga employees with the experiences we offer students.”

Similar workshops were introduced to students last year to help increase awareness and address systemic barriers. While employee professional development opportunities have long focused on elements of equity, diversity and inclusion, this series was designed to reflect student development in an effort to ensure consistent training and support across the college community.

Each of the four workshops in the series was built on evidence-based research and focuses on distinct principles, concepts and terms related to equity, diversity and inclusion. The series is intended to be experiential and interactive to better cultivate community and create a safe space for participants to learn from facilitators and each other. To gain a comprehensive understanding, participants are encouraged to engage in all four workshops. The series includes Knowing ourselves to know others; Caring conversations: Emotions and empathy when working with others; Understanding dimensions of diversity; and Moving towards inclusion: Anti-oppression and anti-racism.

In addition to the series, Student Engagement and Employee Experience & Development have collaborated on a number of other initiatives, including truth and reconciliation resources and support, to address the specific needs of the college community.

“Our goal is to be responsive and collaborative in meeting the growing needs of equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization,” said Baird. “We’ll continue to learn and adapt in order to develop comprehensive programming that meets student and employee needs in an equitable way.”  

The next Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Conestoga College workshop series begins October 28. Interested employees are encouraged to visit the All Things Conestoga website (login required) for more details and to register. Students interested in similar development opportunities are encouraged to visit the co-curricular portal