The Department of Public Health Sciences opened the 2016-2017 academic year with a workshop on creating inclusive instructional and research environments, presented by educational consultant Jamie Piperato at the department’s annual retreat.
Piperato is a national student affairs speaker and higher education consultant who specializes in leadership, equity and inclusion, and LGBTQ education. The workshop for the Department of Public Health Sciences was designed to enhance faculty and staff skills for ensuring inclusivity in classrooms, research teams and collaborations with community partners.
For Piperato, who speaks to university communities across the country, failing to have such conversations equates to the perpetuation of educational disparities, violence, and hate.
“We must have these conversations as higher education professionals so that we create environments where all students can be successful,” she said. “If we are willing to empower, support, amplify, and center the voices of marginalized students then students of all identities will succeed in higher education!:
Department Chair Lyndie Forthofer said she invited Piperato for her “rare talent for making delicate topics fun and energizing.”
“I hope Jamie’s workshop gave our faculty and staff a proverbial ‘booster shot’ for their skills in cultivating inclusive environments, in the classroom and beyond,” Forthofer said.
Piperato led faculty and staff through activities intended to encourage collaboration and team approaches.
“Jamie's workshop focused on problem-solving strategies for creating classrooms that encourage diversity safely,” said Assistant Professor Jessamyn Bowling, “I felt empowered to open dialogues around sensitive issues through peer sharing and Jamie's facilitation.”
Other attendees said they gained a renewed understanding that the contributions of diverse perspectives increase creativity and improve outcomes.