Faculty and Staff Participate in Cultural Competency and Civil Discourse Training

Munnerlyn Campus faculty and staff participated in Cultural Competency and Civil Discourse training last week during professional development before the start of school. On Monday and Tuesday presenters from UNF's Department of Diversity Initiatives hosted small group discussions on Cultural Competency for faculty and staff, covering such topics as the difference between diversity and inclusion, equality and equity.

The discussion groups had a chance to reflect on and share the extent to which the Episcopal community has embraced both diversity and inclusion in our effort to "respect the dignity of every human being." Similarly, participants explored affirming language, and completed a "What Next?" activity.  Facilitators for the discussion were Sheila Spivey, Senior Director of the Department of Diversity Initiatives (DDI) at the University of North Florida, and Brandi Winfrey, Associate Director of the DDI at the University of North Florida, who leads the Intercultural Center for Peace and the Student Alliance for Inclusion and Diversity.

Also last week faculty and staff participated in Civil Discourse training provided by Kyle Reese and Nancy Broner from OneJax, an interfaith organization on the UNF campus. A small group of ESJ teachers were trained in advance to act as facilitators of discussion small groups for all faculty and staff. As part of this community-wide education, participants learned how best to engage in a conversation or dialogue in order to better understand another person, as well as how to actively listen to someone with different opinions. The Civil Discourse Team put together some Community Norms to serve as a toolbox for healthy, productive, civil conversations in and out of the classroom.

"In order to better facilitate healthy and productive conversations, we must practice these conversations ourselves so that conversations don’t evolve into personal attacks or commonly used tropes," said Emily Farmer, AIR Steering Committee member and history teacher. "Every classroom, as well as some common areas, will receive a poster to serve as a reminder to all about the best ways to engage with each other."

"We look forward to continuing our partnership with UNF's Department of Diversity Initiatives as well as OneJax," said Amy Burrows Perkins '92, Director of Student Services and AIR Steering Committee Chair. "I felt the training provided us with concrete examples of ways to understand these very emotional and extremely important topics, and helped us to find a common language to communicate with so that all can feel welcome on campus."

Resources from the Cultural Competency presentation available on Episcopal's AIR site.