Photographer: Dr. Robert Lay.
Article by: Kennedy Brown

In November 2023, the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership unveiled its latest faculty and staff engagement platform: "What's the DiversiTEA." This series fosters open dialogue on critical social justice issues within our campus community and beyond.

Under the leadership of Dr. Valerie Dudley, Director of Multicultural Education and Training, this initiative builds upon the foundation laid by the previous "Timely Topics" dialogue series, which provided a space for communal reflection on social issues. Dr. Dudley's vision for a more impactful dialogue prompted the transition to "What's the DiversiTEA," infusing renewed energy into critical conversations.

The timing was perfect because faculty and staff desired a return to more in-person events and IDEAL's relocation to a central campus hub provided increased accessibility. The sessions offer an avenue for faculty and staff to gather, share snacks, sip tea, and engage in enriching dialogue.

The inaugural "What's the DiversiTEA" session featured Dr. Carrie Snyder, Director of Disability Resources and Services, who underscored the integral role of disability in the broader landscape of diversity. Dr. Dudley has utilized campus expertise to facilitate additional "What's the DiversiTEA" discussions, covering topics such as LGBTQIA+ identities, racial identity, gender, and the effectiveness of affinity spaces.

Through this series, IDEAL is committed to fostering an inclusive environment where every voice is heard and valued. "What's the DiversiTEA" illustrates IDEAL's dedication to nurturing dialogue, understanding, and a sense of belonging within our community, one cup of tea at a time.