Aug. 9, 2022
IExcel Education scales up to fulfill Quest 2028 goals of building on VCU’s diversity, equity and inclusion leadership
The program’s relaunch includes a new website, simplified registration process and virtual seminar options, all geared toward building more equitable and inclusive organizational climates.
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The VCU Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness, and Success (IES) is scaling up its IExcel Education program and making it easier to access. IExcel Education develops and implements innovative educational programs for faculty, staff and students related to emergent trends in diversity and inclusion. It is also a resource for VCU leaders and units working to improve cultural challenges identified by their VCU Climate Report. IES leadership conceived IExcel Education and worked with prominent diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) leaders across the VCU community to create its courses.
Launched in 2019, IExcel Education is among the leading reasons that INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has named VCU as a Diversity Champion for three years in a row. Since IExcel Education’s inception, 1,894 faculty and staff members have participated in 132 of its courses.
The newly relaunched program offers the VCU Inclusive Leadership Certificate, interactive seminars, Rammalogues sessions and mentoring opportunities all aimed at building a more equitable and inclusive climate at VCU and beyond.
“Quest 2028, VCU’s new strategic plan, places a priority on building on the university’s leadership on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. IExcel Education has proven itself to be a vital tool in that effort, and our relaunch expands the university’s capacity for continuous improvement in our work,” said Aashir Nasim, Ph.D., vice president for institutional equity and chief diversity officer.
This summer, IExcel Education introduced a new calendar and registration process that allows participants to directly sign up for the sessions they are interested in. Sessions are offered in both in-person and virtual formats.
This fall’s seminars tackle topics such as ageism, neurodiversity, gender, religious diversity, navigating difficult conversations in the workplace and more. These seminars, open to all VCU faculty, staff and employees, will help participants foster more inclusive climates in their classrooms and workspaces. The learning outcomes range from knowledge acquisition to systemic application.
IExcel Education will continue to offer the VCU Inclusive Leadership Certificate. The certificate, open to university leaders, hosts one cohort per semester. Combining both asynchronous and synchronous cohort experiences, it is the first program of its kind in the region. Designed by scholar experts and rooted in cutting-edge research, it serves as a gold standard for this kind of work. At the program’s completion, leaders receive a certificate and a digital badge identifying them as leaders who are capable of fostering diversity and inclusion across various environments.
Last year, for example, 18 faculty members and 25 staff members each completed a total of 18 leadership certificate courses. The cohorts included senior university leaders, members of the president’s cabinet and department heads.
Rammalogues, a facilitated dialogue series, offers a braver and safer space for faculty, staff, employees and students to discuss topics related to social identity. The series reflects VCU’s commitment to creating space and providing skills that enhance the lived experiences of all VCU community members. The goal of these conversations is for participants to experience feelings of connection to their peers, being seen and heard as their most authentic selves and becoming more confident engaging with difficult topics.
Rammalogues will also be a space for braver and safer conversations around current social issues as they arise. For example, this fall, Rammalogues special topics include “Living in a Post-Roe World” and “Living with Mass Shootings.”
“Today’s relaunch is a signal that we are committed to creating the infrastructure and structural support we need to keep leading in the growing and evolving space that is DEI. IExcel Education is a step forward in delivering on VCU’s diversity promise,” said Archana A. Pathak, Ph.D., special assistant for programs and initiatives for IES.
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