Keynote Speaker: Dr. Terrel Strayhorne: The Educational Benefits of Diversity

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At 8:15am on 4/13/2017, I attended the Professional Development Keynote: The Educational Benefits of Diversity: How It Helps Everyone Excel, presented by Dr. Terrel Strayhorne at the 2017 Spring Faculty Professional Development conference in Raleigh, NC.


Keynote: The Educational Benefits of Diversity: How It Helps Everyone Excel

The keynote speaker was 30 minutes late for the presentation. He had accidentally gone to the wrong campus. We took a moment to reflect on how difficult it can be for new students- multiple campuses, multiple buildings, parking areas and decks… it can be very confusing. Its been a while that many people in this room has been one. He was a very humorous and well-spoken.

higher education has a great portion of the populace which is working but close to recognition and close to being lured away by money, efforts, or quicker faster money and solutions. 15% minorities start their educational careers in community colleges, and especially those close to them. 21m college students in the US, 4300 colleges & Universities, 2000+ 2-year community colleges, 1000+ online degree schools. With all that, 1/3 of all students identify themselves as “First Generation” college students. $250B in federal financial aid each year.

Part of this presentation was geared around the paradigm shift. Someone will have to come out with the clearly noted words or information. Most colleges are “student centered”. How much would parking cost and what is the parking situation like in a “student centered” campus? How are computer labs, chemistry labs, building access setup for “student centered” access. Just saying it doesn’t set us on the path to completion.

1/3 of students claim they are “first generation students”. It is not a static term, it is not clearly defined. 400,000 foster youth in any given day. about 20,000 age-out of the system. 87% feel they need higher education, but less than 9% ever earn one. “I have foster family, adoptive family, and some biological parents I’ve never met. Am I a first generation student?”

Access Without Success is Useless

The national graduation rate is 57%. fifty years ago, it was illegal for african americans, latinos, asians, etc., to learn in college. Although we’ve opened up access, we haven’t opened up success. Many of the reasons that students go to community colleges are the same reasons that they use for going to 4-year schools. Jobs. Job skills. Better futures.

Employers want:

  • Work well on diverse teams
  • Make decisions and solve problems
  • Communicate well verbally with people in/out unit
  • Plan, organize, prioritize work
  • Proficiency with computers & technology
  • Sell and influence others
  • Imagine create and see connections
  • Storytelling & maximizing stories
  • Maintain integrity in work activities

They want us to train graduates. They want you to teach students to do things on their own. You have a job, a strategy, a goal. Do whatever you have to do to get the job done. Rather than coddling students with a detailed syllabus and plan, give the plan, and give the activities without setting demands on process. Frontload the material, and allow the students to use the processes in the order they choose and comment on the process. It is important here to not that employers are very interested in individuals who can work well on diverse teams.

Come to higher education to learn how to work with people from other colleges. College is your training ground. Don’t encourage segregation in the classroom. Students find a sense of belonging. The trouble with this is that often the group sense of belonging is about homogeneity. Seeing that most groups are made of individuals, but seeing many people seeing a group of people with only similarities opens the door for individuals to be taught that if someone is dissimilar, they should not belong to the group.

What does it take for students to belong at your college?

Take a minute about that. Our group noted that a willingness to participate is all that it takes to be part of the family at Wake Technical Community College. WE give the oppportunity to succeed, but also the ability to fail and set things right from that teachable moment.

A sense of belonging refers to a feeling that members matter to one another and the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together

We may have to be uncomfortable so that we can assure some comfort to those we cared for. Education brings the light out from within, it released the knowledge from within. With education, we transport our students from knowledge to understanding.


This speaker was dynamic, funny, on point, and fantastic. Would definitely listed to this speaker again.

LEA 124 – Leadership Training: Beyond Diversity

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Tyler Dockery celebrates Diversity with strong leadership
Tyler Dockery celebrates Diversity

LEA 124 – Leadership Training: Beyond Diversity

Since I had taken LEA113 (Understanding Diversity in the Workplace) and I clearly “understand” Diversity in the Workplace, it’s time to look BEYOND Diversity and put this clear level of understanding into action.

This course was presented by Jackie Popp (Jacqueline Popp) and Kimberly Breivogel on Wake Tech Community College’s Main Campus. During this leadership training session, we tooke a look at the biases we all hold (and we all have them, even if we’re not aware of it!).

We then explored how we could respectfully interact with others while actively working to reduce or eliminate preconceived notions which prevent us from being as effective as we could be, especially in the workplace. Research-based, hands-on activities and case studies allowed us to apply learning content to the workplace. We shared experiences as we got to know each other

In this class it was very interesting to see Cindy Foster, department head of Wake Tech’s Simulation and Video Game Development curriculum. Her experiences from the state and areas where she grew up made for some excellent insights. In her case study, her group had a staff member making harassing comments repeatedly. Her team made the breakthrough realization that the staff member might not be under their management control, which opened up a loooong and frankly quite fruitful discussion on how to deal with people under your management, those outside of your management, the difference in legal matters, performance improvement plans, and written/verbal warnings.

I thought this would be a general rehash of an earlier class, and was very pleased to find it stepping above and beyond my expectations.

LEA 113: Leadership Training – Understanding Diversity In The Workplace

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Tyler Dockery celebrates Diversity with strong leadership
Tyler Dockery celebrates Diversity

LEA 113: Leadership Training – Understanding Diversity In The Workplace

In this third installment of the Leadership Training at Wake Tech Community College, our presenters – Noah Spencer and Shemika Bell – dropped some of the essentials to understanding diversity in the workplace on us.

“What is Diversity?” Truth be told, the answers may have been as various as the people, ethnicities, and even personalities in the room. Many people are afraid to state their definition for fear that they may do or say something wrong. This session aimed to make things clearer by opening a fear-free forum. Competencies addressed in this session included understanding diversity, gauging awareness of diversity, and promoting equality and diversity.

We opened with some exercises using our Jung Typologies ( I am an INTJ “mastermind” ) and a brief rewind of our emotional intelligence training. It was nice to see that this was still important information to consider.

Barriers to Understanding Diversity

  • Denial of Issues
  • Lack of Awareness/Trust
  • Fear of Offending/Being seen as…
  • Intercultural Differences
    • Communication Styles
    • Concepts of Time
    • Concepts of Power


“We all have a seat at the table”
Annie Holmes

Recognizing, Understanding, and Valuing Differences

Inclusivity: Looking at our practices and procedures to ensure all have equal access and opportunities

Inclusive Excellence: A framework that incorporates achieving excellence through diversity and inclusive efforts


The Four Layers of Diversity aka The Diversity Wheel

  • Functional Level/ Classification
  • Geographic Location
  • Age
  • Personality
  • Physical
  • Ability
  • Educational
  • Background
  • Work Location
  • Seniority
  • Union
  • Affiliation
  • Division
  • Depart./
  • Unit/
  • Group
  • Work
  • Content/
  • Field
  • Management
  • Status
  • Marital
  • Status
  • Parental
  • Status
  • Appearance
  • Income
  • Personal
  • Habits
  • Recreational
  • Habits
  • Religion
  • Work
  • Experience
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual
  • Orientation
  • Gender

Honstly, there were so many of these that I simply could not keep up. I can type 45 words per minute, and it simply wasn’t long enough for the slides

  • Internal Dimensions
  • External Dimensions
  • Organizational Dimensions
  • Intercultural Differences
  • Communication Styles
  • Concepts of Time
  • Concepts of Power


What Does Diversity Mean?

AFFIRMING PEOPLE: Treating everyone respectfully, regardless of how you feel about their culture or lifestyle.


  • Jokes negative remarks
  • Not seeing omissions
  • Challenging stereotypes and fears.


  • Identifying barriers to:
    • women
    • people of color
    • people with disabilities
    • others who experience discrimination.
  • Creating an environment that removes barriers and extends cooperation.


Diversity Tips

  • Understand that diversity exists.
  • Acknowledge your own stereotypes and assumptions.
  • Develop consciousness and acceptance of your own cultural background and style.
  • Respect both the similarities and differences about people.