Quinnipiac University
A man lecturing at a podium

Inclusive Excellence Summer Assembly

The Inclusive Excellence Summer Assembly is a two-day convening designed to affirm the role of community members as collective stewards of institutional change and development. The goal for the 2022 IESA was to encourage dialogue about belonging and create learning opportunities for everyone.

Exploring Issues of Belonging at Quinnipiac

During the assembly, participants joined faculty, students and staff from across the university to explore issues of belonging—entailing institutional, structural and interpersonal respect, acceptance and inclusivity—as it relates to learning and teaching at Quinnipiac. With a sense of belonging, all members of our community were able to express their authentic selves and feel completely welcome, secure and supported while teaching and learning.

Throughout the event, attendees discussed how the work we do affects the possibility of belonging that everyone needs to learn and teach, as well as how our learning and teaching are affected by this sense of belonging.

2022 Schedule of Events

View the schedule of events for the first day of the conference below.

Time Event Location (North Haven Campus) Participants
8 - 9 a.m. Registration and Breakfast Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Lobby Carol Awasu, Jessica Devine, Cindy Kern, Marcos Scauso, Teresa Twomey
9 - 10:30 a.m. Welcome and Keynote Address MNH 101 or Zoom Marcos Scauso, Buffie Longmire-Avital, JT Torres
10:30 - 10:45 a.m. Break    
10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Leadership Roundtable MNH 101 or Zoom Judy Olian, Debra Liebowitz, Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, Don C. Sawyer III, Marcos Scauso, JT Torres
12:15 - 12:45 p.m. Lunch    
12:15 - 12:45 p.m. Unconferencing Coordination MNH 280 Marcos Scauso
12:45 - 2:15 p.m. Unconferencing Section I MNH 105 or Zoom Ana Allen, Mary Dunn, Cindy Kern, Marcos Scauso, JT Torres, Anna-leila Williams
12:45 - 2:15 p.m. Unconferencing Section II MNH 101 or Zoom Ana Allen, Mary Dunn, Cindy Kern, Marcos Scauso, JT Torres, Anna-leila Williams
2:15 - 2:30 p.m. Break    
2:30 - 4 p.m. Unconferencing Section III MNH 105 or Zoom Ana Allen, Mary Dunn, Cindy Kern, Marcos Scauso, JT Torres, Anna-leila Williams
2:30 - 4 p.m. Unconferencing Section IV MNH 101 or Zoom Ana Allen, Mary Dunn, Cindy Kern, Marcos Scauso, JT Torres, Anna-leila Williams

Keynote Address

Buffie Longmire-Avital
Buffie Longmire-Avital is a diversity, inclusion and racial equity scholar-educator.

Building Sustainable Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity in Higher Education

Using principles from critical race theory, psychology and critical mentoring—and an experience epistemology gained from being a Black American woman navigating historically white academic spaces as both a student and faculty member—I hope to start a conversation on how persistent inequities in higher education point towards a need for critical frameworks that dismantle barriers and move the academy into a space that acknowledges, sustains and thrives off of equitable engagement.

In this talk, I will present my synergistic framework for critical mentorship as an anchor for DEI work. This reparative framework has three main components: 1) intentional representation and recruitment; 2) inclusive critical consciousness; and 3) generated signature work that is both transportable and capital-building for future success within the institution and beyond.

About Buffie Longmire-Avital, PhD

Buffie Longmire-Avital, PhD recently became the first Black-identified faculty member promoted to the rank of professor in the College of Arts & Sciences at Elon University. She is a member of the Psychology Department and the inaugural director of the Black Lumen Project—an equity initiative—as well as the outgoing coordinator of the African and African American Studies interdisciplinary minor program.

Longmire-Avital received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Her research focuses on how systemic injustices in combination with various psychosocial factors contribute to health inequities that impact racial and sexual minorities.

Longmire-Avital has published numerous articles and serves on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals. Her widely read CEL blogs focus on how to generate and sustain critically conscious, equitable approaches that support underserved and often invisible students' engagement in high-impact practices.

Elon College of Arts and Sciences has formally recognized Longmire-Avital’s excellence in mentorship as well as leadership service. She is also a former recipient of the prestigious National Institutes of Health's Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities and National Research Service Award.

Workshops and Roundtables

The 2022 Inclusive Excellence Summer Assembly embraced "unconferencing"— this modality entails democratic spaces of discussion that emerge from the interests expressed by participants throughout the morning sections.

Chair: JT Torres

  • Development of Professional Identity Through ePortfolio Pedagogy and Undergraduate Mentorship Models (Oveen Joseph, Marissa McKinley, JT Torres)

    • The presentation will define and highlight findings from our current study in ePortfolio pedagogy that has shown to capture the rhetorical assemblage of a Quinnipiac student completing their undergraduate degree. The artifacts collected through the study have shown evidence of rhetorical assemblage (the synthesis of new identity through previous and current life experiences). The presentation will also highlight the student perspective of undergraduate mentorship models. The student-teacher relationship can be a catalyst for personal and professional growth and the success of both the student and the teacher. As members of an institution, it is important to reflect on the different relationships we form with different community members. Moreover, it is important to recognize how those relationships will play a role in the development of identity and belonging at Quinnipiac. Overall, the presentation offers both faculty and student perspective on ePortfolio pedagogy, rhetorical assemblage and undergraduate mentorship models as important cogs of the larger machine that is institutional change at Quinnipiac and possibly other institutions.

  • The Use of Standardized Clients to Practice Social Work Skills with Diverse Populations (Stephanie Jacobson, Emily McCave)

    • Social work students are required to take Practice with Individuals and Families. Though the course always provided multiple methods to prepare students to apply skills, including role-play, the instructors worked to add standardized client interactions that specifically highlight practice with diverse populations. Students watch videos developed by the instructors, which feature Mrs. Sandy Feldman, a Jewish mother struggling with post-partum depression. Two cases were adapted (Bogo et al., 2014) and expanded for use in the classroom across eight sessions. Ms. Peters is an older adult white female who is struggling with social isolation. Mr. Gonzalez is a Mexican-American male coping with the death of his wife. Students also participate in an Objective Structured Clinical Exam for Social Work (OSCE-SW) with a client named Adilia (Bogo et al., 2014), a 20-year old Muslim female college student, who presents to the counseling center with anxiety related to questioning her sexuality and its relationship to her family’s cultural and religious beliefs. Through recorded videos and standardized clients in class, the OSCE-SW students engage with four diverse cases across the semester.

  • A Framework for Listening with Consideration of Intersectionality (Katie Place)

    • Intersectionality is the notion that power relations affect the interplay and shaping of social categories—such as age, race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and ethnicity—across individual and societal existence (Collins & Bilge, 2020; Rice et al., 2019). It holds that identities mutually construct and reinforce one another (Collins, 1998, 2000; Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). It also provides an analytic tool to identify forms of oppression and inequality that come from such power relations, challenge conventional thinking of marginalized communities and offer new ways of looking at inequality (Collins & Bilge, 2020; Dill & Zambrana, 2009). Listening with consideration for intersectionality is a practice that can bridge organizations and publics to promote critical reflexivity and address inequality at interpersonal, organizational and societal levels. Listening with consideration for intersectionality may foster respectful dialogue, attending to the ways that power and inequality manifest differently cross publics. In this session, presenters will share insights from their qualitative research with communications professionals across nonprofit, corporate and governmental contexts regarding how they embody listening with consideration for intersectionality via reflexivity, interpersonal sensitivity, organizational programs and community/coalitional collaboration. A framework for listening with consideration for intersectionality, including actionable steps to take, will also be shared.

Chair: Jessica Devine

  • High Impact Strategies to Empower First-Generation Students to Succeed in College (Jaime Flores, Courtney Mayberry)

    • This workshop aims to understand the lived experiences and intersectionality of first-generation college students at Quinnipiac University. Presenters will discuss systemic and institutional barriers first-generation students face in higher education and identify asset-based strategies. The panel will also identify strategies for supporting first-generation students and bridging gaps in cultural capital through asset-based programmatic approaches, services and skill-building.

Chair: Wasim Ahmad

  • How Ability Media is Raising Awareness of Disability Issues (Chris Roush)

    • Ability Media, a project of the Quinnipiac School of Communications, aims to raise awareness of disability issues in the media. News organizations vastly underreport disability issues, as few have full-time disability reporters, and TV shows and movies underrepresent disability characters despite the fact that 26% of the U.S. population identifies as having a disability. Students involved in the Ability Media project have been producing written stories, videos, podcasts and social media posts about disability topics.

  • Cultivating Creativity (Madisyn King, JT Torres)

    • The main objective of the presentation is to educate both faculty and students on how to include more creativity inside and outside of the classroom. The discussion will be catered toward facilitating growth and an open mind to learning and including knowledge from multiple sources.

  • Communicating with Everyone: Accessible Social Media Strategies (Mary Dunn)

    • Our campus community utilizes digital communication tools to achieve a variety of goals for organizations, teams, schools, classes and more. Social media accounts are run by students to generate engagement with programming and build awareness for student experiences. Faculty and staff utilize social media accounts to support community events, course offerings, school resources and industry networking. The university utilizes social media for recruitment, alumni relations, public safety and more. And we all use social media to connect with friends, family and colleagues. These digital tools are powerful, but unfortunately, are not built in formats that are accessible for audiences that are disabled. Those with limited sight, impaired hearing and neurodivergence are best served by messages that are posted using accessibility in mind. Based on a unit in a social media courses, our presenters will offer best practices for sharing social media content and digital communication that is inclusive by introducing the audience to accessibility tools. This approach to communication will make sure all audiences of our accounts feel welcome and can experience belonging, including in our digital community.

  • Media, Art and Transformative Visions (Mary Schmitt)

    • Many students on our campus are trying to change the world for the better. They are actively building a society that is more equitable and just. They are raising awareness about the many problems in our society and they are re-imaging a world that we all deserve. In their creative visions, students are exploring social justice issues and the need for transformation through a variety of mediums, such as music, film, poetry, painting, dance, theater, open mics, video essays, podcasts and photojournalism. Our presenters propose that this creative and critical work be celebrated and highlighted through an exhibition and roundtable. Students, working with a multitude of mediums and addressing different topics and issues, will first showcase their work and then open a discussion with the audience. The goal is to recognize these socially committed projects and build a community around social justice issues and transformation.

Chair: Anna-leila Williams

  • Belonging as an Outcome (Margarita Diaz, Ruth Kaplan, Claude Mayo, Ari Perez, Yvonne Sanders, Laura Willis)

    • Inspired by Arthur Chan’s quote, “diversity is a fact, equity is a choice, inclusion is an action, and belonging is an outcome,” this roundtable discussion will consider the process by which belonging occurs. Led by panelists’ brief presentations on the inclusive actions they have identified as impacting their own sense of belonging at Quinnipiac, as well as actions they employ to garner belonging among others, the session will dedicate significant time to developing the audience’s belonging within the conversation by encouraging all present to share their own perspectives on belonging as an outcome. Our panelists include both faculty and staff, represent three different schools and two different offices on campus, and embody multiple social identities. Our areas of focus will include both professional and personal problems for inclusion. We will consider, for instance, how to foster belonging for neurodivergent students; how to reconnect students who have infringed on academic policies with our academic community; what kinds of belonging employees value in their workplace; the impact of linguistic difference on a sense of belonging; and how authentic collegial collaboration creates a sense of community.

Chair: Carol Awasu

  • Library Anxiety (Gina Addona, Lisa Adriani, Cecilia Dalzell, Rachel Lerner, Jillian Silverberg, Matthew Wilcox, Robert Young)

    • Library shame and anxiety is a phenomenon of inadequacy and inferiority experienced by many undergraduate and graduate students. These feelings create a series of barriers that can hinder the students’ academic and professional success. This panel presentation of Quinnipiac librarians will explore the definition, history and theory of library shame as well as make suggestions on how faculty can talk about the library and its resources to reduce these barriers. Other panelists will highlight library efforts to combat library shame by creating a sense of place and belonging; demystify the library; and make the library a safe and welcoming space, both physically and virtually. This includes special projects, resource development, collection development and collaborative efforts.

Chair: Iddrisu Awudu

  • Supporting Quinnipiac’s International Students (Sarah Driscoll)

    • This session will highlight the important presence of international and immigrant-origin students at Quinnipiac. We will examine the demographics, geographic distribution and enrollment characteristics of our international students to inform our discussion on the student experience. We will share student insights on their lives inside and outside the classroom as well as unique aspects of their experience including navigating visa regulations, travel and cultural adjustment issues.

      The session will also explore scholarly research on belonging that focuses on how international students learn about U.S. concepts of race and racism and how such concepts shape their college experiences. We will include a discussion on how to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for Quinnipiac’s international and immigrant-origin students.

  • Adding Inclusive Excellence to First-Year Biology Courses (Michael Vieth)

    • Biology 150/151 lecture and labs are required courses for first-year biology majors, taught to incoming first-year students of varying socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities and gender identities. The goal for the 2021-2022 academic year was to engage all students in a classroom climate that emphasized inclusiveness, awareness and understanding of all people. Strategies implemented were a purposeful meet and greet, assignments related to global issues, and the scaffolding of scientific skills. Transforming the 150 and 151 biology courses in these ways better aligned the courses with the university-wide initiative for inclusivity and equity within the classroom.

  • Behind the Scenes of 2022 PEARLS (Perspectives on Equity Advancement Research and Learning Symposium) (Alice Chen, Tiana Clemons, Maureen Helgren, Sarah Yoder)

    • On March 2, 2022, a subcommittee of the Netter School of Medicine student group, Equity, Inclusion, & Diversity Collective (EID-C), hosted the first annual PEARLS. The EID-C, initiated in 2019, implements strategies alongside faculty members to address bias in the medical school curriculum and experience. During 2020-21, members of the EID-C brainstormed an initiative to incite innovation within the Netter community by highlighting activating and inspiring solutions that advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Using an asset-based development framework, the PEARLS team designed an event to celebrate the strengths of our community and embolden learning and engagement within the DEI space. Through a thoughtful and collaborative process, three focuses for the symposium emerged: 1) Change Agents – amplifying the successes of our faculty and staff in advancing DEI; 2) Student Grand Round Student Pitches - providing financial support and mentorship for student-driven projects devoted to improving DEI at Netter and beyond; 3) 15% Better Initiative – an initiative that empowered attendees to engage in small steps that in summation make for a more just and equitable society. The panel will share their experiences regarding the process, outcomes and approach to event day and nurturing a team centered in respect, compassion and excellence.

Chair: JT Torres

  • Data on Belonging at QU (JT Torres on behalf of Michael Ben-Avie)

    • This session will report current data on belonging based on the Quinnipiac student survey and invite participants to co-define belonging, inclusivity and strategies for assessing progress toward becoming a more inclusive community that supports multiple identities.

  • An Equity Scorecard for Biomedical Science and Social Work at Quinnipiac University (Shawna Reed)

    • Measuring the equity and inclusion of historically underrepresented students at Quinnipiac requires a combination of approaches. The internal experiences of underrespresented students have been measured via campus climate surveys and demographics are tracked using required IPEDS/NCES data collection. We generated an equity scorecard to analyze the outcomes of underrepresented students enrolled in biomedical sciences (BMS/HSC) undergraduate and BMS and social work (SW) graduate programs.

      Using a combination of data sources, we analyzed the enrollment, retention, outcomes and achievements of underrepresented students compared with their majority-white peers. We also compared the demographics of BMS/HSC/SW students and faculty to the university-wide and national averages. Overall, we found that program enrollment and outcome measurements for underrepresented students were similar to the university as a whole. Outcome measurements of underrepresented students were lower than white students overall and lowest in the HSC program, better in the BMS program, and near equity with white students in the graduate social work program. The faculty in all School of Health Sciences programs failed to represent their students, and overall student and faculty demographics were less diverse at Quinnipiac compared to peer institutions and national averages. We also identify gaps in our institutional knowledge of underrepresented student outcomes.

  • Professionalism in Health Sciences: Inclusive Redesigns (Tyler Traister)

    • What is the standard of professionalism? This discussion will explore how professionalism is defined by those in power and how those who are in power are usually heterosexual cisgender white men. This creates an expectation of assimilation in professions that are designed for humanizing and centering people, yet we ask our students and professionals to hide or lose their identity to belong in this space. Our vision and versions of professionalism need to be redefined as showing up as our authentic selves and taking pride. Utilizing critical discourse with participants, we can reconceptualize professionalism in health sciences curricula to elucidate how traditional notions of gender, sexuality and race impact our understanding of professionalism. Through this, we can create experiences for diverse students and healthcare professionals to be their authentic selves to improve a sense of belonging.

  • Graduate Student Perspective: Current Climate & Engaging the Graduate Community in DEI Initiatives (Whitney Bowers and Alyssa Mesaros)

    • After reviewing current DEI initiatives, they are seemingly intended for undergraduate students only and there does not seem to be much engagement within the graduate community. GSC’s current e-board has made it possible for graduate students to take the new virtual diversity training; however, we feel there is an opportunity to develop a new strategy specifically for students enrolled in graduate programs at Quinnipiac.

      Before our presentation, we will do outreach to students, faculty and staff to get a better understanding of the current climate regarding DEI specifically for graduate students. A graduate student survey about DEI classroom discussion will be conducted and the results will be shared as part of our presentation. Statements from faculty who have incorporated DEI topics in classroom discussion will encourage others to follow suit.

      Furthermore, to emphasize the potential gaps, we looked outward to other universities and institutions’ initiatives. Many institutions have integrated DEI topics into graduate course curricula, classroom discussions, professional development programming and much more. Through research, we have collected case studies that could serve as a model for Quinnipiac’s graduate-focused DEI efforts moving forward.

  • A Sense of Belonging for Women in Computing (Ruby ElKharboutly)

    • Being the sole female faculty in the computing program, and considering that the female enrollment and retention in computing programs is low nationwide, I have strived during the last few years to create an inclusive environment and a sense of belonging for females in computer science and software engineering. Efforts included NCWIT (National Center of Women and Information Technology) representation, attending and encouraging students to attend Grace Hopper, running the Girls Who Code Club, establishing a peer mentoring program for first-year students and reviewing my courses to incorporate inclusive pedagogy practices.

Presented by the Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab

Our Growing Community of Inclusive Educators

The Inclusive Excellence Teaching Lab and the Inclusive Excellence Summer Assembly are championed by a growing community of educators who share the same commitment and dedication to developing inclusive learning environments at Quinnipiac and beyond. Fellows and Co-Chairs are appointed to one-year terms aligned with the academic calendar.

Contact Our Co-Chairs

Meet Our Faculty Fellows