Inclusion and diversity initiatives will take center stage at the 12th annual Advancing Diversity at Virginia Tech workshop.

The workshop will take place Monday, Jan. 12 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Wayne Robinson, a member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and recipient of the university’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award, will be this year’s featured speaker.

“Today, diversity and inclusion are global in nature and require more than just tolerance,” said Robinson, chief diversity practice leader with Wyndham Mills International. “Each requires belief that greater value comes from attracting, listening, responding, and empowering people from different races, ethnicities, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds.”

As the new InclusiveVT initiative begins on campus, the workshop will include a series of “lightning talks” highlighting current diversity initiatives across campus. In addition, the six inclusion coordinators on the President's Inclusion and Diversity Executive Council will lead breakout sessions discussing some of the themes that emerged from the 86 new initiatives proposed by all deans, vice presidents, and other senior managers.

“Each initiative is measurable so we can ensure we are making progress in the area of diversity and inclusion,” said President Timothy Sands. “The initiatives provide the university guidance to build an even stronger community. I look forward to hearing feedback about the initiatives from the Advancing Diversity workshop as well as other venues.”

Some of the themes include faculty and student mentoring programs, inclusive pedagogy, student access efforts, and programs designed to build awareness of unconscious bias in faculty and student recruitment, among others.

The workshop will end with the president and provost leading a closing session, discussing the initiatives and allowing an opportunity for continued open dialogue about InclusiveVT.

AdvanceVT began hosting annual “Advancing Women at Virginia Tech” workshops in 2004. In 2008, the workshop expanded to broader diversity and inclusion discussions.

“The Advancing Diversity workshops have always been a key part of inclusion and diversity efforts at the university,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee. “This year in particular as we are in the beginning stages of InclusiveVT, we hope the workshop will provide focus for the university and inspire beneficial conversations to ensure Virginia Tech is a welcoming community for all.”

The event is open to members of the university community at no charge. While registration is closed, livestreams of the welcome, keynote presentation, and lightning talks will be available on the AdvanceVT and InclusiveVT websites.

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