BenReese, LLC

Faculty Orientation

Challenge

We wanted to create base-line understanding of implicit bias on the part of every new faculty on the undergraduate campus of Duke University. Historically, only a small number of faculty would voluntarily attend an implicit bias workshop.

Actions

There is a seven-hour orientation day for new faculty in Arts and Sciences (the largest department at Duke University). During this orientation, the dean provides an overview of key elements of Duke's strategic plan, faculty get information about the library, an introduction to roster and grading technology, etc. In the middle of the day, I or a colleague facilitates a 75-minute presentation/discussion about implicit bias in the academy. 

Outcomes

Every incoming faculty member gets exposure to basic principles of implicit bias and their relationship to the academy. This information occurring during the orientation conveys the institution's commitment to reducing implicit bias and the high priority placed on this process. (Note: After 23 years at Duke University, I stepped down as a vice president and CDO on May 30, 2019. I retain three adjunct faculty positions). 

Conveying an organization's commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is certainly evident even during the recruitment process, but entry into the onboarding or orientation phase is an important opportunity to highlight the values that are central to an organization. The task is then to build on that orientation so that new employees experience equity, diversity and inclusion as the central fabric of the organization and that their role requires them to contribute to the expansion and deepening of that fabric. 

Benjamin D. Reese, Jr., CEO

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