Employing Technology to Coordinate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts Across Campus

Monica N. Burnette, Ph.D., Interim Vice President, Seton Hall University

Monica N. Burnette, Ph.D., Interim Vice President, Seton Hall University

A sense of belonging and inclusion for faculty, employees, and students is vital for a healthy and supportive campus environmentand canincrease student success and positive outcomes. At Seton Hall University in New Jersey, our Catholic mission is one of peace and justice, recognizing the dignity of all. The University Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee’s goal is to create a sustained, trusting and collaborative community that educates and empowers all its members to advance equity, inclusion and social justice on campus and in the wider world.

The DEI Communication Subcommittee, which is comprised of students, faculty, and administrators from Campus Ministry, Teaching Technology and Learning Center, Public Relations and Student Services, was charged with two main objectives to advance our goals. The first goal was to redesign the existing DEI website and coordinate a campus-wide communication strategy.Social media and video campaigns highlighted DEI efforts of student, faculty, staff, and alumni through dynamic and interactive video elements via social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.The existing DEI website was enhanced with an RSS feed to share DEI related news stories and upcoming University events. The website promoted internal and external resources, including University Library collections, book guides and LinkedIn Learning Paths. Ongoing, real-time feedback was collected on the website through our “Contact Us” page. In 2021, DEI pages on the website accrued over 15,000 sessions, an increase of 567% year-over-year. There were over 100,000 pageviews for DEI related pages, an increase of 658% from the previous year. Videos promoting DEI initiatives were viewed over 27,000 times, with more than 500,000 social media impressions.

Our second goal was to refine and promote all existing and new DEI efforts, programs, and experiences. The Committee encouraged a collaborative approach for event organizers to track and plan events, creating best practice documents for event promotion through social media, weekly emails, and monthly newsletters. The University events calendar scheduling system added “tags”, such as “diversity, equity, and inclusion” and various heritage months (e.g., Asian American Heritage Month). These tags provided a streamlined way to analyze data and create reports. Since January 2021, more than 100 DEI events, including anti-racism training, were held. The DEI Committee primarily used Microsoft Teams to facilitate a series of training sessions to over 500 participants. “Channels” were used to host concurrent breakout sessions and facilitators encouraged using the “chat” and “raise hand” functions for participants to ask questions, comment, and enrich discussion.

Throughout the academic year, the DEI Committee has continued to meet frequently, coordinating weekly email communication to share resources and upcoming events, including a series of academic panels, cultural celebrations, and training programs. Subcommittees continue to meet to align their plans with Seton Hall’s goals for cultivating and nurturing a collaborative community. To learn more, please visit our website.

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusionon campus require institutions to align efforts with strategic goals through communication, collaboration, and coordination. Campus collaboration promotes a collegial culture that fosters a strong sense of belonging. Technology efforts can enhance a campus-wide communication strategy and automate channels to track outcomes and metrics. An inclusive, institutional-wide approach that involves all divisions, from senior leadership to the student body can serve as a model to enhance institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

 

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