Inclusive Excellence Initiatives for Fall 2015

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Dear Members of the VCU and VCU Health Community:

We are fortunate to live, work and learn in a vibrant diverse urban public university community that attracts students, faculty, staff, alumni, patients and community members to our campus daily. Virginia Commonwealth University is distinguished by the people associated with it, as well as dependent upon them to actualize its mission to advance knowledge and student success through its commitments to: an engaged learner-centered environment that promotes research; interdisciplinary collaborations; health care; diversity; and sustainability.

In VCU’s efforts to advance “our commitment to diversity by providing a climate of inclusion, a dedication to addressing disparities wherever they exist, and an opportunity to explore and create in an environment of trust,” the Division for Inclusive Excellence engages staff, faculty, students and administration through educational, inclusive community building, and diversity and inclusion strategic initiatives.

As we continue to realize the complexity of people's lives and experiences, and our need to approach diversity and inclusion with an eye on the intersectionality of differences it is ever so magnified by injustices, senseless brutality, and appalling incidents and realities happening in society and within our local communities. The VCU community is not immune from senseless shootings; poverty; issues of access in higher education or access adequate medical care. These matters affect our community members in real and direct ways. As VCU’s diversity and inclusion efforts continue to strengthen, the division will continue to keep the university aware of its need to be a thought leader, a convener, a collaborator, as well as a challenger of the status quo, while offering creative and collaborative solutions for focused actions. The work continues and we must remain vigilant.

Working in collaboration and in strategic partnership, I am pleased to share with you broad-based diversity and inclusion initiatives taking place at VCU this fall semester. These initiatives will strengthen our commitment to an inclusive campus climate through policy, practice, and education.

Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity: Launching of Council with Kick-Off Retreat with Dr. Alma Clayton-Pedersen, a national diversity expert, scheduled for Oct. 30, 2015: The newly formed Council for Inclusive Excellence and Equity will monitor, review and assess VCU’s diversity, equity and inclusive excellence initiatives through the development and use of the forthcoming university’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan of Action that will guide its work.

This is a university-level strategic initiative with the vice president for inclusive excellence in partnership with the provost and vice president for health sciences under the direction of President Rao. For more information, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Inclusive Excellence at or 804-828-8947.

Inclusive Living and Learning Network Series: Presentation, Workshops, and Engaged Dialogue with Dr. Fred Bonner scheduled for November 12 and 13, 2015. Dr. Bonner will share strategies for nurturing professional growth and fostering success among diverse faculty and staff in higher education. This is the first event of the Inclusive Living and Learning Network Series.

Registration is required for the presentation on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, from 3–5 pm. A reception and book signing with Dr. Bonner will immediately follow the reception. More information is forthcoming.

This strategic initiative has campuswide partnerships and sponsorship and was organized by committee of faculty and staff. For more information, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Inclusive Excellence at or 804-828-8947.

Diversity Education Workshop Series: Exploring the Impact of Everyday Slights and Insults:  Microaggressions in the Workplace and Classroom scheduled for Nov. 3, 4, 18, and 19 and Dec. 2 and 3.

Session participants will increase their awareness of, and knowledge about, microaggressions and their impact. Participants will also explore ways to address microaggressions in their everyday lives. To register for sessions go to: and enter the keyword “Journey.”

For more information, contact Dr. Idella Glenn at or 804-828-8947.

Diversity Education Film Series: "The Power of an Illusion"

The three-part series (Oct. 20, Nov. 10 and Dec. 1, 2015) is an eye-opening tale of how what we assume to be normal, commonsense, even scientific, is actually shaped by our history, social institutions and cultural beliefs. For additional details: "Race: The Power of an Illusion."

For more information, contact Dr. Idella Glenn at or 804-828-8947.

LGBTQ Initiatives: Lecture with Dr. Jen Manion, "Unraveling Gender from the Classroom to the Restroom" is scheduled for Oct. 29, 2015, at noon in the Richmond Salons III & IV in the Student Commons.

Strategic partners include the Office of Equity and Access Services; Facilities Management Offices of Planning & Design and Space Management; the Humanities Research Center; and the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies.

For more information, please contact Paris Fitzgerald Prince at or 804-828-8947.

Diversity and Inclusion Community Partnership: "Networking for Inclusion" is a reception for Diversity & Inclusion Symposium participants to share progress and make plans for upcoming annual symposium on diversity and inclusion. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Depot, 814 W. Broad St. from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Invitation Only and Registration Required.

Leaders of this community-based partnership are Greater Richmond Society for Human Resource Management and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Division for Inclusive Excellence

Please visit our website at to learn more about the division and its members.

I invite your participation in these events and other campus diversity and inclusion initiatives. Creating an engaged and inclusive community while advancing campus climate and overcoming institutional inequities through policy, practice, and education can only be done with a concerted effort of all members of our complex public urban university in partnership with the external community.

Please visit our website at to learn more about the division and its inclusive excellence team. We will be launching a new website in November and welcome your visit.

Wanda S. Mitchell
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence