Communication Strategies to Overcome Resistance to Your Diversity Initiative

Communication Strategies to Overcome Resistance to Your Diversity Initiative

October 15 - 16, 2020 | Eastern Time

Be empowered to lead crucial conversations that unite your campus around your diversity initiative.


As someone charged with leading diversity initiatives on your campus, you will face resistance at some point, which will require you to navigate complex and difficult conversations. A “one-size-fits-all” approach rarely resolves the situation or builds campus alliances. The most successful diversity professionals are constantly shifting their communication strategies to the audience and the issue at hand.

Join us online for a training that is designed to provide you with reflection, feedback, and hands-on practice to help you adapt your communication to challenging scenarios you might face as you advance your diversity initiative on your campus. During the two-day program, you will:

  1. Explore how unconscious bias and social identities impact your decision-making and relationships with others and how you can mitigate bias to improve communications with others
  2. Practice tips and strategies for navigating difficult conversations through role-plays with your peers/colleagues
  3. Draft a communication plan that will help you identify ways to overcome barriers as you move your diversity initiative forward


Who Should Attend

This conference is designed for anyone charged with championing or advancing a diversity initiative on your campus. This includes:

  • Mid- to upper-level leaders from diversity or academic departments
  • Academic and student affairs leaders working outside of diversity departments

If you’re looking for a safe space alongside a community of diversity champions and change agents to bolster your communication skills and share best practices for how to navigate difficult conversations, this event is for you!

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds nationally, it is so important to keep connecting and networking with your peers - at a “social distance” - and to keep learning and developing as higher-ed leaders and professionals. Don’t let social distancing and quarantines prevent you from setting aside time for professional development. Everything is changing so fast; more than ever, we need to be pooling our resources and knowledge and finding the best ways to develop our capacity, connect and share with each other, and move forward during a challenging time.

The Academic Impressions Virtual Conference Experience

Our virtual conferences go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these new programs are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. As higher education strives to adapt rapidly to the shifting crisis, connecting with your peers who are experiencing similar challenges can be the best use of your professional development time.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions
  • Access to an online conference hub — one-stop shop for presentation materials, attendee introductions, worksheets, supplemental reading, videos, and other resources

See What Our Attendees are Saying

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


DAY ONE – Thursday, October 15, 2020 | Eastern Time


Attendee Tech Check
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.



Welcome and Faculty Introduction
12:00 – 12:15 p.m.



Understanding Campus Trends
12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
You will receive a bird’s-eye view of the common challenges and trends happening across college campuses related to advancing diversity initiatives.



Short Break
1:00 – 1:15 p.m.



Understanding Unconscious Bias and Social Identities
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
The effectiveness of your communication with others – especially during times of resistance – can be enabled or disabled by the underlying context of unconscious bias and social identities. You will investigate your own social identities and how those identities impact communication received by others. By examining and discussing real-world examples of bias and exclusion in the workplace, you will:

  1. Define unconscious bias
  2. Understand its sources and how it influences your decision-making and interactions with others
  3. Identify spaces to mitigate bias



Long Break
2:15 – 2:45 p.m.



Strategies to Identify and Address Bias
2:45 – 3:30 p.m.
In small groups, you will build upon the discussion from the previous session by analyzing one of three case studies and apply your own social identities to address the bias presented in that scenario. You will identify:

  1. Barriers that prevented you from addressing bias
  2. Strategies to remove those barriers



Q&A and Networking Reception
3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
After you ask any remaining questions from day one, you will have the opportunity to join us for a virtual reception, which is your chance to decompress and expand your network of connections.


DAY TWO – Friday, October 16, 2020 | Eastern Time


Attendee Tech Check (optional)
11:30 – 11:45 a.m.



Refresh & Reset
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Attendees will reflect and share out one lesson from yesterday’s training that resonated most with them and why.



Tips and Strategies for Navigating Courageous Conversations
12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
Perhaps you’ve already experienced “courageous” conversations around resistance and difference across your campus or you know those conversations are coming your way as you launch your new diversity initiative. In this session, you will acquire new skills for addressing and working through both active and passive resistance while also learning how to adapt your communication to different audiences including students, faculty, staff, or campus leaders.



Short Break
12:45 – 1:00 p.m.



Practicing Courageous Conversations
1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
In small groups, you will have the opportunity to apply the skills from the previous session and practice having courageous conversations across different case studies.



Identifying Barriers to Overcome in Your Diversity Initiative
1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Our expert speaker will provide an overview of practical and necessary resources that will help you support and build a case to advance your highest priority diversity initiative on your campus. You will focus on identifying potential barriers that prevent the advancement of your efforts. Examples of diversity initiatives may include:

  • Recruiting/retaining diverse students and faculty
  • Increasing diversity professional development and training initiatives
  • Creating inclusive policies or procedures that do not create disparity



Long Break
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.



Developing Your Communication Plan
2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
To help you overcome the barriers you identified in the previous session, you will draft a communication plan to counter resistance and move your efforts forward. Keeping your own institutional context in mind, including its mission, values, organizational structure, resources, and political/social climate, you will examine and discuss challenges that hinder the advancement of your diversity initiative.



Presenting Your Communication Plan for Feedback
3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
You will have the opportunity to present your communication plan so you can receive real-time feedback and advice from our expert instructor and other participants regarding the effectiveness of your plan. You will walk away feeling more prepared and confident to use your plan immediately.



Final Q&A and Evaluations
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.


Portrait of Domonic Rollins

Domonic Rollins

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Dalton School

Domonic is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at The Dalton School located in New York City. In this role, Domonic provides leadership and oversight to develop a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy that supports the fundamental Dalton principle that diverse beliefs, ethnicities, cultures, and lifestyles are a critical underpinning of a successful education in today’s global society.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Rabia Khan Harvey

Rabia Khan Harvey
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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