It's no secret that CUPA-HR has been working on a diversity, equity and inclusion statement and action plan. (We will also be sharing this with attendees at our 2011 Annual Conference!)
As we have worked on these documents, discussed what they mean for us as an organization and as a national office, many questions have emerged. While many of us have been taught to separate our personal and professional lives, it is increasingly difficult to do so with the technology available today as well as the demands made on our time - both personally and professionally.
However, with an initiative like this, it's personal. As I have unwound these concepts in my own mind - and heart - it's sometimes a bit shocking to realize how ingrained some of my preconceived notions are and how far back they go. Perhaps I'll share some of these thoughts in an additional post but I wanted to share something we did as a national office that, I believe, caused us all to look at these topics in a different light.
The higher education community is reeling from the April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter from the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, relating to sexual violence and sexual harassment on campuses.
The 19-page document sets out expansive new requirements for training, investigating and administration. A Title IX Coordinator position must be exclusively devoted to this issue.
A few years ago, many of us were talking about the emerging skills gap. Then the recession happened bringing with it unemployment at levels not experienced in recent memory. Suddenly, there are many unemployed individuals…many with some exceptional skills, abilities and experiences.
Enter the skills gap crisis. Around 10% (or greater) unemployment in many areas of the country, yet there are companies that are forced to leave jobs unfilled because they cannot find individuals with the required knowledge, skills and abilities needed.
The purpose of the Discovery Series is to explore the art, culture and history of diverse groups and communities. In this program, we went to an art exhibit on the black migration from the South at the Denver Art Museum, toured the Hispanic business district, and attended a Smithsonian exhibit on Japanese-American women at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts.
We also took a walking tour of downtown Denver churches with a history professor from our campus, attended the annual Native American Pow Wow, visited a Jewish synagogue, went to an exhibit of Latin-American artists, and took a tour of the Black American history house. We also attended plays at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, a black community theater group and a performance by an Irish dance troupe.
Over the past 10 months my wife has been enrolled in the University of Tennessee's Culinary Arts Certificate Program. She has a natural talent and passion for cooking however, culinary school has been on a "bucket list" of sorts. A 4th grade teacher by trade, this was one of those opportunities we knew we'd either have to move or make some sort of a sacrifice to make happen.
I discovered UT's program by mere accident while attending a retirement celebration for a fellow CUPA-HR member. As I pulled into the UT visitor's center, there it was, right on the sign. Long story short, the stars aligned, my wife was accepted and was able to go to class two night's a week for 10 months to recieve her culinary arts certificate.