Ohio University

University-wide Diversity Initiatives

Health and Wellness

  • The Russ College has launched a student health and wellness program focused on mental health in particular. The college has developed a mental health syllabus statement, hosted an inaugural wellness week to reduce stigma for help-seeking behaviors, and formed a chapter of STEM for students who identify as LGBTQ (this is a population at higher risk of experiencing a mental health condition).

 

Recruitment and Retention

  • Women Leading OHIO is an early-career staff and development program entering its fourth year. Each cohort participates in weekly workshops during the academic year, and are provided both job shadow opportunities and a mentor. Workshops include topics on allyship, imposter syndrome, work/life balance, salary negotiation, managing stigma, and career mapping. Over fifty staff and faculty are members of the Women Leading OHIO community. Alumna continue their engagement through participation in the alumna board, and organizing writing workshops, family outings, and more. The alumna community was created by the alumna themselves, who were invested in continuing community.

 

Support (financial, social, academic, professional) 

  • For the past two years, Ohio University has been implementing an innovative, text-based nudging program—MyOHIO Advice—to increase the retention and persistence of first  generation undergraduate students (approximately one-third of incoming first-year students). MyOHIO Advice incorporates four strategies supported by behavioral science research: social norming, developing a sense of belonging, promoting a growth mindset, and cultivating planning behaviors by focusing on “implementation intentions” (prompting students to plan and follow through with positive academic behaviors). Initial results are promising: nudged first generation students persist at higher rates than controls from fall to fall (+2%), with greater progress toward degree.
     
  • The “First-Gen? Me Too!” campaign’s goal is to create a visible and welcoming community of first-gen students, faculty, and staff that fosters belonging amongst, and bolsters the self-efficacy of, our first-generation students. On the first Friday of each month we encourage first-gens to wear their “First Gen? Me Too!” shirts and host an event where they can gather to make connections with one another.
     
  • The Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles (AIMC) helps indigenous communities to provide experiences and infrastructure for students and teachers to realize the beauty and power of mathematics, recognizing that this involves the concomitant valuing of their budding mathematical and indigenous identities (not to mention other identities). By combining work with professional mathematicians and tribal elders, we covalue mathematics and culture so that an indigenous student sees no disjunction between being “indigenous” and a “mathematician”—we are working within culture and identity to try to stimulate a robust next generation of “indigenous mathematicians.”
     
  • Diversity Leadership Ambassador Program provides a unique opportunity for students to take an active role on campus by discussing their personal narratives in correlation with diversity related topics. The Ambassadors work toward changing perspectives and breaking down stereotypes, while promoting the genuine celebration of differences and encouraging multicultural awareness across cultures and in everyday settings. Ambassadors are responsible for facilitating diverse conversations through presentations and open discussions in classrooms and at staff meetings and events throughout the academic year. Their presentations are free and available to the Athens and University communities. Ambassadors are some of our most involved students and become part of a close-knit, diverse, and vibrant group.

 

Campus Climate

  • Affinity Organization Council - In summer 2019, the affinity organizations partnered with University Human Resources and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion to create the affinity organization council. The creation of this central council provides enhanced access to centralized resources, increases communication between affinity organizations and campus, and provides easy avenues to cross-collaborative efforts between the organizations.
     
  • The Department of Mechanical Engineering is using the online tool OpenMind in its senior colloquium. A psychology-based educational platform designed to depolarize campuses, companies, organizations, and communities, OpenMind helps people foster intellectual humility and mutual understanding, while equipping them with essential skills to engage constructively across differences. The goal is to increase awareness and reinforce behaviors that help improve interpersonal skills and teamwork – two important engineering competencies in the areas of personal and workplace effectiveness.

 

Community Outreach

  • The Department of Mechanical Engineering’s senior design capstone course, “Designing to Make a Difference,” tasks students with developing solutions for disabled individuals in the community to increase those individuals’ opportunities for inclusion. Along the way, they make profound connections with their communities, their team members, and themselves about the power of outreach and the benefits and joys of inclusion. The capstone course provides rich, experiential learning opportunities students and has opened job and mobility opportunities local individuals who need assistive technology.

 

Events and Celebrations

  • Diversity and Inclusion Mix and Mingle Event Series - This event series is designed to include two-three events that take place both on- and off-campus (to engage both campus and community); at various times (to meet different scheduling needs); and focus on different engagement opportunities such as networking events, attendance at sporting and other campus events, and family-friendly events (to meet varies interests). Input from faculty and staff affinity organizations help to shape each event and invitations for participation are shared university-wide, but promoted additionally through affinity organizations. 

 

Social Justice and Activism

  • Through the Survivors’ Lens is a survivor-centered arts based event which provides a compelling, visual means for provoking thought and reflection on survivorhood. Utilizing the methodology of PhotoVoice, organizers worked with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and harassment to capture photographs of what survivorhood and trauma looks like. 52 photographs were displayed from twenty different survivors. Accessibility is a core part of the exhibit, and braille is provided, as is audio recordings, with item descriptions of the photographs. Organizers are working with other partners to create a virtual reality online exhibit of Through the Survivors Lens.

 

Innovative Diversity Education

  • OHIO Search Committee Training is a three-part series designed to address best search practices through the lenses of diversity, access, and inclusion. The training includes three modules: Preparing for the Search (which focuses on forming and leading a search committee, writing an inclusive position descriptions, and creating robust recruitment plans); Candidate Evaluation and Selection; and the Diversity Advocate Workshop which provides practical application of best practices introduced in the other modules using an active bystander intervention approach.
     
  • The Office of Inclusion at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine launched an online Diversity and Inclusion course this fall, for faculty, staff, and students. By partnering with Everfi, we were able to offer these self - directed modules that focus on managing bias and more as a part of a larger series we have named “Interrupting the ISM’s”.