Inclusion Advocate Program
Under the leadership of Provost Brooke Barnett, a team of faculty and administrative leaders were brought together to further Strategic Priority 5: Create an intentionally diverse, inclusive and equitable learning and working environment. Central to these continuing efforts is the 2019 IA program, created for faculty by Dr. Terri Jett, who was then the Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity. Two workshops in May and August of 2019 successfully trained faculty on how to conduct an inclusive and fair search to ensure that we are recruiting the best talent irrespective of background and identities. Each search committee has since 2019 been required to have a trained Inclusion Advocate to ensure that Butler University’s commitment to its founding values of diversity, equality, and inclusion is reflected in every stage of the search process.
In 2021, Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Su-Mei Ooi led a collaborative effort amongst faculty and staff to create a training program that now includes the onboarding of new colleagues, with particular attention to those with historically underrepresented backgrounds and identities.* Building upon the success of the 2019 program and subsequent survey feedback, the program has since included an online training site that makes retraining on demand possible and provides further resources that support a successful search and onboarding process. The IA Program was also expanded in 2021 to include several new features, with the view that it will continue to develop into a program that supports staff hiring and onboarding. The 2021 Faculty Hiring Guidelines also require that the search committee provide a report to the Dean as to what steps were taken to ensure an inclusive and fair search.
From 2021 onward, the IA program will encourage trainees to take a broad approach to inclusion advocacy with the view that candidates from historically excluded and underrepresented backgrounds and identities will be attracted by the prospect of working alongside colleagues with a deep understanding of the issues and challenges around diversity, equity and inclusion. In pursuance of Butler University’s Strategic Priority 5, professional development events across campus that encourage faculty to think about inclusion advocacy in 4 key areas – teaching, advising, research, and community engagement – are included in the program.
From 2021 onward, the IA program will also give faculty and staff community-building opportunities so that we can support one another no matter where we each are in the journey of creating an intentionally diverse, inclusive, and equitable working and learning environment at Butler University. In IA community meetings, trainees are encouraged to share their experiences and ask questions as we do this important work together.
At Butler University, we take our work to advance a genuinely inclusive and equitable working and learning environment for faculty, staff, and students from all different backgrounds and identities seriously. In recent years, we have witnessed the necessity and urgency of DEI work at every level of our society. In doing our part, Butler University will continue to build our capacity for this important work, and the IA Program will continue to keep growing to include university staff as important members of our community.