“In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
Dialogues on Diversity Consulting and Design is the totality of years of experience of a hand picked team of Education and Artistic professionals. We work intimately with institutions to create tailor made products and programs to promote a holistic approach to cultural competence across the university community.
We offer a range of approaches which help institutions to reach specific diversity goals such as:
Our work is based in and driven by the answer to a simple question:
What would it take to make diversity as key a principal to aspire to in the collegiate process as aspiring to a degree?
The simple answer is that there is no one answer. The answers are as wide ranging as there are institutions. There are though some key principals that will make the journey far easier and rewarding for all involved.
First among them is Dialogue.
True dialogue cannot happen if people are afraid to be honest with one another. Moreover, if honesty is not tempered with care and compassion, dialogue can quickly become contentious. The key is building a healthy context for all parties to feel comfortable. This is the ground in which understanding grows.
One of the principal roles of higher education is to prepare students to navigate the world in front of them. Much like any discipline, the body of skill and abilities are not learned in a single class or a series of workshops. Much like the educational process, becoming culturally competent is as much about learning how to engage difference as it is about the differences themselves.
It is the process of acquiring not just skills, but (for many) engaging in a process of self-assessment, which opens us up to learning and understanding perspectives that we may have never been oriented to. It requires that we engage in a process of a new kind of cultural curiosity, which will then inform how we interface with the world going forward.
Academic institutions are singularly well positioned to help individuals embark on this process. Though many institutions aspire to make “diversity” a more present component of their living and working in a multitude of ways; there is generally not an institution wide holistic approach to this goal. It is rarely seen or spoken to as a vital part of educating the whole person. More over, it seldom is expressed as a part of the institutions visible character. It often happen in pockets and programs that, in most cases, students and staff can opt out of.
We are an organization perfectly built to enhance institutions’ success by working to illustrate and animate your conversation. We bring the context that words alone cannot. We focus on “showing” as well as “telling.” Then make it safe for people to open up within that context.
We have found that by bringing some foundational principals to the discussion (some things as simple as reflective listening / asking open-ended questions / validating ideas / using concept connect statements) as facilitators, we move conversations towards clearer and healthier outcomes.
Additionally, our experience working with a wide range of institutions has given us insight and knowledge into some of the structural issues that may seem unique from the inside. Often times the nature of work in higher education offices and departments, can lead to the type compartmentalization which can overlook fertile opportunities for cross departmental collaboration. We have seen and designed a number of practices that may open windows that institutions may not been able to see on their own.
“To have faith in the power of dialogue is to believe in the promise of humanity.”