First-year Ph.D. candidates Dana Doan and Tiara Dungy have spent much of their adult lives in Vietnam and South Africa, respectively. Both have thought about and engaged with diversity and privilege and they have experienced those ideas.
Studying in Indiana at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has also provided opportunities for them to continue thinking about diversity in general, and diversity and philanthropy in particular. One of those is through the Dynamic Diversity Initiative.
Doan first heard of the program the summer before she arrived.
“I kept receiving the emails but felt that I wasn’t ready to apply,” she said.
Doan was determined to become involved in and engaged with the local community. She met up with the founder of a volunteer group focused on social justice in Indianapolis. She asked if the founder knew any nonprofits that might be interested to collaborate on a Dynamic Diversity project. Hearing about the Peace Learning Center (PLC), Doan reached out to them.
“I told them about the opportunity and asked if they would be interested to collaborate,” Doan said. “They shared with me about the implicit bias workshop, which sounded like a great fit, and we explored how I could help them with how they evaluate the impact of their workshop. We all agreed it seemed like a good fit.”
PLC would run the workshop and Doan would recruit her colleagues and faculty to work on the evaluation.
Working on the project made her keenly aware of her own privilege. As a result, she asked fellow classmate Dungy to join.
“Tiara had brought up important issues of diversity, bias, and social justice in our fall semester class discussions. So I asked her to partner with me on the project or at least be an advisor,” Doan explained.
Dungy agreed to read over the proposal and decide.
“The more Dana spoke about it though and the passion she brought to it made me think about my own experiences, how our biases cause us to treat people, and how it impacts our actions and everything we do. As a result, I became more and more involved,” Dungy said.
They submitted the proposal together and were awarded a grant to implement the project.
Peace Learning Center will facilitate the half-day workshops for IUPUI faculty, staff and graduate students on February 1 and 9 (participants attend only one workshop). Doan and Dungy will promote and evaluate the workshops, which include activities both before and after the workshops.
The evaluation will involve both qualitative and quantitative methods to learn about the participants’ experiences, how their participation affects them, and what they plan on doing, if anything, about what they learn.
Doan hopes that the workshops encourage participants to do something.
“I hope it gives them tools and inspires them to take action in their school or department. While we hope it will contribute to actions that improve diversity on campus, understanding bias is an individual experience as well,” she said. “I hope each of us learns about steps we can take, whether we are in a position of privilege or not, to ensure diversity and inclusion. Through this workshop, we hope people will be empowered to take actions that result in positive changes on campus.”
Dungy says she hopes people enthusiastically engage with the materials and with each other.
“The more we know about ourselves and our biases and the more we’re willing to learn about other people, the better we can work together.”
Are you an IUPUI faculty/staff member or a graduate student? These workshops (same workshop, two different days) are open to anyone in the campus community.
Abby Rolland is the blog content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.