Editor’s note: This is part of a series of updates on campuswide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that will continue throughout the year.
Employee affinity groups provide support, professional development opportunities
Employee affinity groups are open to staff and faculty who want to build community with colleagues, peers and allies, share resources and benefit from training and professional development opportunities.
Staff and faculty members interested in learning more about the groups are invited to attend a Sept. 21 Employee Affinity Group Summit at the Center for Community (C4C). More information is also available via the campus DEI Resource Hub.
Through employee affinity groups, faculty and staff can meet regularly in a mutually supportive setting and advocate for policy changes and new programming. Other desired outcomes include supporting the recruitment and retention of historically minoritized groups and their allies. Currently, six employee affinity groups are providing staff and faculty with supportive campus communities and opportunities to network with colleagues.
The groups are the outcome of a recommendation by the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Council, a collaborative group of faculty, staff and students charged with prioritizing recommendations in the IDEA Plan. The plan, in part, is guiding efforts to sustain a more inclusive and supportive campus culture for students, staff and faculty.
The office led by Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sonia DeLuca Fernández sponsors the groups, providing guidance, funding access and programmatic assessments. The employee affinity groups are independently established and sustained and are not part of the university’s formal governance structure, and each group determines its own scope and priorities, said David Humphrey, assistant vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, whose team leads programming support for the groups.
“Affinity groups have long been recognized as an effective strategy for building community, sharing resources and providing education, training and development opportunities to employees, and this is particularly true within higher education,” Humphrey said. “As the results of the most recent campus culture survey indicate, pursuing these outcomes is critical to employee engagement, retention and career success.”
Interested in learning more about affinity groups?
Visit the DEI Resource Hub to obtain more information about joining an existing affinity group or starting a new one.
Attend the inaugural Affinity Group Summit taking place on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Abrams Lounge in the Center for Community (C4C). The community-building event is designed to open the academic year for all affinity group programming and provide opportunities for groups to orient each other on upcoming events and programming.