The NAFSA Diversity and Inclusion Working Group is excited to present this action plan as an excellent step towards creating a more engaging, accessible, and collaborative environment for NAFSA member leaders and the work they generate. The impetus for this plan begun with a revision of the Diversity and Inclusion Statement and was a directive from the NAFSA President and Chair of the Board of Directors to the Board’s Professional Development and Engagement committee to consider how member leaders could impact these issues.
The plan focuses on how to infuse diversity and inclusion into the member leader structure at NAFSA and fits under the NAFSA Strategic Plan Goal #5:
Create and disseminate knowledge and resources and provide professional development opportunities responsive to the ever-changing needs of the field. Recognizing the dynamic growth and increasing complexity of the field of international education, we serve the needs of the full range of international education professionals at all types of institutions and organizations. We serve professionals throughout their careers. To advance the field, we offer cutting edge learning opportunities and the essential resources needed to increase professional effectiveness.
The framework of the plan consists of a total of 12 goals, and these five specific goals are related to the member leader work:
- Increase personal outreach by all member leaders;
- Develop onboarding and engagement strategies toward diversity-focused groups;
- Foster an inclusive environment by increasing accessibility and participation from underrepresented groups, individuals, and institutions;
- Include diversity and inclusion accountability in volunteer role descriptions; and
- Expand educational content generated by the knowledge communities and leadership committees.
The action plan is the culmination of leader input that was refined by the working group. The group comprises six members representing five regions (I, II, IV, VII, X) and five different types of institutions. Led by the Membership Engagement Committee’s current diversity adviser, the group reviewed more than 600 ideas generated from the Diversity and Inclusion World Café held at the Washington Leadership Meeting on January 27, 2017.
In partnership with NAFSA staff, the work group identified central diversity and inclusion themes within the framework of the action plan and these themes were turned into action items. In turn, these action items (listed below each goal) will be taken up by our member leader teams and committees starting with their work plans in 2018. The plan also includes seven staff-driven goals that support the member leaders structure. These are labeled as staff-driven work and are at the end of the report, and these items will be implemented starting in 2018.
Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for Member Leaders
Goal #1. Increase personal outreach by all member leaders (member interest groups, knowledge communities, and committees) to serve as champions as a means of engaging peers and creating a welcoming environment. Include diversity and inclusion principles and content in newcomer events and activities at regional and national conferences.
- Action Item #1: Include personalized messaging as testimonials and send personal messages to prospective and current member leaders.
- Action Item #2: Consider implementing best practices for outreach and communication strategies to diverse and underrepresented professionals.
Goal #2. Develop onboarding and engagement strategies toward diversity-focused groups. To define a clear path to leadership opportunities, identify current and past leaders who are willing to buddy with or mentor professionals from underrepresented groups and institutions.
- Action Item #1: Develop an assessment method (surveys or focus groups) to better understand who is participating and the reasons for participation.
- Action Item #2: Highlight and share widely the main accomplishments from each member interest group, knowledge community, leadership committee, and region to use as a diversity and inclusion recruitment and engagement tool.
- Action Item #3: Encourage NAFSA regions to offer grants or other incentives to reduce financial barriers to attending conferences or engaging in member-leader positions.
Goal #3. Foster an inclusive environment by increasing accessibility for individuals, underrepresented groups, and institutions that are volunteering within NAFSA (male; under age 40; first generation; students; disabilities; age; gender; sexual orientation; non-U.S. citizens; socioeconomic; community college; and racial or ethnic groups such as African, Latino, and Native American).
- Action Item #1: Provide mentoring for new member leaders.
- Action Item #2: Encourage member leaders to utilize and disseminate the talking points, testimonials, and videos provided by NAFSA.
- Action Item #3: Develop an intentional outreach strategy and targeted recruitment at the state and regional level for volunteer positions.
- Action Item #4: Knowledge communities, regions, and leadership committees target recruitment of members from community colleges; tribal colleges and universities; Hispanic-serving institutions; and historically black colleges and universities, to participate in Advocacy Day.
Goal #4. Include accountability for diversity and inclusion as an element of all volunteer role descriptions.
- Action Item #1: Revise the application process of elected and appointed leaders for national and regional positions to solicit information on contributions to diversity and inclusion.
- Action Item #2: Incorporate questions in the member-leader interview process and reference checks that allow candidates for volunteer positions to share their experience in diversity and inclusion.
- Action Item #3: Determine metrics for measuring the effectiveness of outreach efforts to secure a diverse candidate pool for regional teams, knowledge communities, and leadership committees (e.g. diversity of applicant pool for outreach, candidates interviewed, and candidates selected).
Goal #5. Expand educational content generated by the knowledge communities and leadership committees to emphasize diversity and inclusion at the NAFSA Regional Conferences, Annual Conference, and in training.
- Action Item #1: Encourage regions to establish conference themes that are reflective of a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Action Item #2: Encourage regions to provide funding for underrepresented groups to be more involved in leadership positions at the regional and national level.
- Action Item #3: Create targeted outreach to member interest groups, regions, and those working at community colleges; historically black colleges and universities; Hispanic-serving institutions; and tribal colleges and universities for conference session proposals.
- Action Item #4: Include diversity and inclusion topics in the call for proposals at the national and regional level, and create a mechanism to assess the outcomes.
Goal #6: Expand the role of diversity and inclusion from one member leader on one committee, to all member leaders.
- Action Item #1: Create and implement a diversity and inclusion work plan that allows member leaders to have an expanded role to meet this goal. The Diversity Adviser’s role will end in December 2017 and implementation of this plan will begin in January 2018.
Goal #7: Share the NAFSA vision; diversity and inclusion statement; diversity and inclusion plan and outcomes with new leaders.
- Action Item #1: Include the NAFSA vision; diversity and inclusion statement; and diversity and inclusion plan in the New Leader Orientation.
- Action Item #2: Include the NAFSA vision; diversity and inclusion statement; and diversity and inclusion plan into the onboarding of member leaders by NAFSA staff partners.
- Action Item #3: Add these elements to NAFSA 101 webinar for the onboarding of new leaders.
Goal #8: Ensure that all leaders know of current diversity and inclusion resources, programs, or initiatives.
- Action Item #1: Create a summary of diversity and inclusion resources, programs, or initiatives and include in the NAFSA Leader Handbook.
- Action Item #2: Share diversity and inclusion updates in Leader Connection.
- Action Item #3: Create a diversity and inclusion toolkit for NAFSA leaders.
Goal #9: Ensure diversity and inclusion is integrated by trainers and instructional designers for all organizational training and accessible to all.
- Action Item #1: Develop a diversity and inclusion checklist to inventory and assess all current training content for diversity and inclusion, starting with the most highly utilized training.
- Action Item #2: Use the diversity and inclusion checklist when developing new content.
Goal #10: Add quantitative scoring to the NAFSA member-leader work plan tool.
- Action Item #1: Develop a scoring rubric with criteria to the NAFSA member-leader work plan tool.
Goal #11: Vice Presidents will assess diversity and inclusion outcomes, products, and programs on work plans using quantitative scoring.
- Action Item #1: Review a consolidated report of all work plan progress at mid-year.
- Action Item #2: Review a consolidated report of all work plan progress at the end of the year.
- Action Item #3: Provide a summary report to the NAFSA Board of Directors on work plan progress (success, challenges, and opportunities).
Goal #12: Track diversity demographics of all leadership committees.
- Action Item #1: Encourage member leaders to complete a diversity and inclusion survey capturing specified demographics.
- Action Item #2: Use existing sources of member-leader demographic data for benchmarking purposes.
- Action Item #3: Update Board of Director Vice Presidents’ position descriptions to include diversity and inclusion responsibilities.