Belonging and Inclusion Summit

Cultivating a Community Committed to Equity-Minded Practices: From Philosophy to Action

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2023 Belonging and Inclusion Summit!


Virtual: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 from 1 - 5 p.m. 

The Student Life Belonging and Inclusion Summit is a half-day experience for staff to engage with peers, practices and reflection centered in diversity, equity and inclusion. The Summit, “Cultivating a Community Committed to Equity-Minded Practices: Philosophy to Action” is intentionally designed for Student Life staff to expand their own awareness of self; to develop skills and tools for equity-minded reflection and practice; and to strengthen the culture of care for staff and students.

As we navigate through these complicated times and continue to grow together as the Office of Student Life, it is imperative that we commit to understanding and creating work environments that foster equitable and thriving participation of all groups and seek to address issues of oppression, privilege and power. To do this, we must offer ourselves and each other care, being thoughtful and considerate as we move forward in our vision, mission and strategic goals.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tia Brown McNair 

What We Value: From Equity Talk to Equity Walk
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices and student success. McNair directs AAC&U’s Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and TRHT Campus Centers and serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives, including the development of a TRHT-focused campus climate toolkit. She is the lead author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020) and Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016 and August 2022 Second edition).

What are strategies for exploring how equity and engaged inclusivity serve as the foundations for building individual and community capacity to best serve others as well as ourselves? What is our shared responsibility for developing skill sets and capacity for advancing our efforts to understand inequities in student outcomes and inequities in our common practices, policies, and structures? This discussion will highlight key principles outlined in the book From Equity Talk to Equity Walk, with a goal of providing equity-conscious, practical guidance on how to design and to implement self-reflective strategies that embrace institutional values and establish more expansive and culturally responsive campus cultures that are intentionally designed to achieve equity and student success goals.  


Summit Session 1

Title: Recognizing and Interrupting Implicit Bias

Presenter: Kristin Torres-Pierce, MSW, LSW, TRCC-II (she/her)

Description: Stereotypes about people, places and things pop into our minds all the time. This can help or hinder how we connect with the world around us. During this session, participants will be introduced to the concept of implicit bias and how bias impacts the community we serve and our coworkers. We will also discuss the science behind why bias impacts our decision-making, health and well-being. Participants will have the opportunity to create a concrete action plan for change and growth. 

Conversations Across Difference: Techniques for Effective Engagement

Presenter: Mitsu Narui, PhD (she/hers)

Description: Being able to have meaningful conversations across differences such as race or political views can often feel very difficult, if not impossible. However, when done effectively, honest and candid conversations about race and other social identities can help to create a climate with our coworkers and students that promotes perspective taking, shared growth and empathy. This session will go beyond the basics by focusing on the skills needed to expand our individual capacity to facilitate intergroup conversations about current events and identity.

Title: Data, Diversity and Equity

Presenter: Chrisse Edmunds, PhD (she/her)

Description: Assessment can perpetuate or interrupt programmatic and systematic inequities in our work with students. Being mindful and attentive to this is integral to our being able to be intentional about the improvement of our practices. This session will explore different strategies for engaging in equity-centered learning outcome creation and assessment. We will discuss how to frame learning outcomes and assessment questions with an equity-centered lens as well as how to use that lens when utilizing assessment data.


 Summit Session 2

Title: Social Identity, Socialization and Mattering

Presenter: Melissa Beard Jacob, PhD (she/her)

Description: Having an awareness of the identities that matter most to us, and an understanding of how socialization can sometimes operate to value some identities over others, can go a long way in our efforts to have productive relationships with our coworkers. This session will offer participants an opportunity to engage with each other on a personal level through sharing and learning more about the similarities and diversity of backgrounds and experiences that exist on our teams. Participation in this interactive workshop will create a foundation for staff to better communicate, collaborate and support one another.

Did They Really Just Say That?! Being an Active Bystander

Presenter: Z Tenney, MPA, MEd (they/them)

Description: Have you ever been in a conversation when someone said something biased that made you uncomfortable, but you were not sure how to respond?  Many of us struggle to address these all-too-common situations, whether in the office, the classroom, an event/program or even while spending time with friends or family.  This workshop seeks to empower and equip participants to speak out in response to those all too common, “Did they really just say that?!” moments when bias emerges. These skills are tailored to create educational conversations in response to biased comments/actions while accounting for specific contexts that may influence how you may be able/willing to show up in different spaces. Participants will learn how to communicate effectively in challenging situations through the employment of strategies that can be tailored to your strengths and the situation at hand.

Nurture and Nourish: Advancing Self and Collective Care

Presenter: Dr. Y. Falami Devoe (she/her)

Description: Attending to our needs as individuals in this complicated world, and as student affairs professionals, is as important as attending to the needs of the students we serve. Without maintaining our own well-being, it is not possible to support and empower others.  This highly interactive session will provide an identity-conscious space to engage in conversation naming and validating lived stressors, identify relevant coping strategies and build community toward collective care in the workplace.


Student Life Belonging and Inclusion is committed to advancing a student-and-staff centered culture that is dedicated to inclusive and equitable practices and preparing students and staff to be engaged, equity-minded global citizens.

Register Here