CANR Leadership and Inclusion Summit helps foster an inclusive culture

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion held a leadership and inclusion summit Sept. 23-24 to empower employees with tools to lead and support equity and diversity within this college and beyond.

Group of people at the CANR Leadership and Inclusion Summit was held Sept. 23-24, 2019.
The first CANR Leadership and Inclusion Summit was held Sept. 23-24, 2019.

The Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion held the first CANR Leadership and Inclusion Summit, a hands-on education experience for faculty and staff members in the college, MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension Sept. 23- 24 at the Breslin Center.

“We know that, in order to create and sustain the inclusive CANR culture we are striving for, every faculty and staff member needs to be empowered to create equity in our roles,” said Quentin Tyler, associate dean and director for CANR diversity, equity and inclusion. “We are always seeking out opportunities for all staff and faculty members to develop their leadership skills in diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The organization White Men as Full Diversity Partners facilitated discussions at the summit for employees who were interested in exploring their role as partners in creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable college.

The summit covered much of the work that CANR chairs and directors experienced in their diversity, equity and inclusion workshops over the past two years. A panel of CANR employees who had previously participated in White Men as Full Diversity Partners programs shared their experiences and how they are utilizing principles of equity and inclusion in their daily roles.

“I had a sense of this summit being the beginning of a longer conversation,” said attendee Howard Davy, a graphic designer on the ANR Communications and Marketing team. “There was a feeling of oneness, but also the idea that ignoring our differences ignores what we bring to the table as individuals. I think if we’re not afraid to have the conversations needed to make mutual respect a goal, we will be a closer-knit organization.”

Additional partners at the summit included MSU Libraries, the colleges of Natural Science and Arts and Letters, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“Participants explored what being a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion work looks like for people in every role in the CANR,” Quentin said. “These conversations continue to help us build partnerships across differences, examine the culture of our professional environments and explore how systemic advantage works.”

Future plans include the second annual CANR Intercultural Awareness Day, the CANR Future Faculty Program, Learning Communities for Inclusive Education at CANR, and continuing conversations with summit participants to further develop and effect lasting change.

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