Reconstructing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Re-Thinking Economies of Difference in Higher Education

Authors: Leo Hwang*, Greenfield Community College
Topics: Social Geography, Economic Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: diversity, equity, inclusion, asset based community development, community economies, diverse economies, action research
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: 8226, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In higher education, efforts to diversify the workforce and create a more inclusive and representative environment for students and employees have often been stymied by institutionalized racism, a lack of resources, and a lack of institutional energy. Greenfield Community College is engaging in a process to reclaim and rethink diversity and inclusion at the institution. The project focuses on strengthening the community economies of diversity and inclusion as the main objective for three conceptual touchstones. First, the idea is to start where you are. By creating avenues for people at the college to enact change, there is the potential to impact the larger community, city, region, nation. Second, a concerted effort to direct focus on where the institution is doing well with diversity and inclusion. By utilizing principles of Asset Based Community Development to identify existing assets, catalog them, strengthen what the college is doing well, and share those practices with others so people can learn from one another, the college can utilize endogenous resources that already exist. Finally, by taking an inclusive approach to defining diversity and inclusion, the college can reclaim what might be seen as ineffective and stagnant, and infuse it with agency and possibility.

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