When new S&T students started Orientation Week this year, the approximately 1,300 freshmen learned about Miner values at their very first session. More than 50 faculty and staff volunteers facilitated the workshops.
Facilitators led the discussions among groups of 20-30 students on Aug. 13, during the time that is usually reserved for a convocation ceremony. Instead of convocation, the 75-minute workshops featured a mix of lecture, conversation and interactive activity to establish that S&T’s value of inclusion is woven into the fiber of the community.
“It was an ambitious undertaking,” says Neil Outar, interim chief diversity officer. “We are a better, stronger community when we can sit down and discuss challenging topics. And I am incredibly proud and thankful for the faculty and staff volunteers who were willing to lead that charge.”
To prepare for the workshops, facilitators completed professional development sessions to review the material and learn how to navigate meaningful conversations. Ben White, senior assistant director of support services, led training efforts with support from Leneisa Parks, student service coordinator, and Sarah Murchie, executive assistant for diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Overall, the reports we got back indicate it was a very positive experience for the students,” Outar says. “We are planning to offer this training again next year.”