Frequently Asked Questions

How do I participate in the Diversity Leaders Initiative?

Participants are selected through a rigorous application and interview process after being nominated by Riley Fellows, individuals who have already graduated from DLI. Participants are selected to join the class based on their capacity to create impact within their organizations and communities. Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina.

What is the DLI curriculum?

Designed and facilitated by Juan Johnson of Diversity Leadership in Action, DLI brings participants together one day a month for five months. A highly interactive curriculum includes case studies, scenario analyses, and other experiential learning tools that maximize interaction and discussion among participants and facilitate productive relationships.

Module 1: Defining diversity

The opening module sets the foundation for the entire program. It includes an open discussion of different definitions of diversity; from the dictionary, to the code of law, to human resources and diversity practitioners. A candid discussion of the historical context of diversity in the United States and some of its more painful moments follows. Ultimately, a case is made for the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion for increased engagement, improved group productivity, and enhanced organizational performance.

Module 2: Complexity of diversity

With a common foundation established, leaders are invited to explore the complexity of diversity. Issues around personal diversity dimensions such as age, gender, mental and physical abilities, race, religion, and sexual orientation can be uncomfortable, emotional, confusing, and perplexing. Learning to build equity across all diversity dimensions, and then leveraging individual differences in lived experiences, requires new leadership skills and competencies. This module builds the case for new skills as well as better outcomes.

Module 3: Diversity and the Law: Bias versus discrimination

This module leads with a discussion of biases versus discrimination in the context of an Academy Award-winning movie. This is followed by an examination of the legal definitions of discrimination and the consequences of violating the law.

Module 4: Personal stories of impact; personal stories of inspiration

To facilitate deeper relationships among participants and understanding of disparate life experiences, leaders are invited to share personal stories of impact and stories of inspiration on their individual journey towards a fuller appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through sharing, we relate; through relating, we build authentic relationships.

Module 5: Context –Context — Its importance, relevancy, and power

Through an examination of the current context of inequity across various diversity dimensions, leaders build an awareness of context and its impact on the way they process information, reach conclusions, and ultimately, make decisions. Leaders are challenged to explore their authentic responses to real-time changes in diversity dynamics and stakeholder expectations.

Module 6: Diversity Blind Spots™

Diversity Blind Spots™ is introduced and explained as a tool for understanding how assumptions and the lack of effective communication can contribute to unintended consequences, poor decisions, and undesirable outcomes.

Module 7: Differences in mental and physical abilities

A unique presentation is provided on differences in mental and physical abilities. Whether directly or indirectly, many have experienced the life-changing consequences of mental and physical differences. This module provides an opportunity for those with and without these experiences to examine the impact of differences and how individuals, organizations, and communities can better engage with and support members experiencing these differences.

Module 8: Socioeconomic diversity

Poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, and other socioeconomic diversity challenges can cut across dimensions like race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. This module explores the role of leaders in addressing these challenges.

Module 9: Generational diversity

Many leaders and organizations are grappling with issues resulting from having four generations in the workplace simultaneously. This module explores some common challenges surrounding generational differences and how leaders can manage effectively in this environment.

Module 10: Diversity strategies, frameworks, and tools for organizations

Several diversity strategies, frameworks, and tools are provided for organizations seeking to advance their programs to the next level. Managing diversity strategically requires intentionality, vision, goals, objectives, plans, tactics, rigor, discipline, metrics, and management routines.

Community Action Project Presentations

Capstone groups will share details of the community action projects they have created.

 

Where do DLI classes take place?

DLI classes take place in three regions: Upstate (spring, fall), Midlands (spring), and Lowcountry (fall).

Where can I find a list of the individuals who participated in DLI?

View our Riley Fellow roster.

I’m a Riley Fellow, and my contact and/or work information has changed. How may I update it in your records?

Submit your updated information here.

Who can I reach out to if I have more questions?

For further information, contact Megan Dodgens, Director of Diversity Leadership Strategies, at megan.dodgens@furman.edu.