While the people who join the NCBI Team are as diverse as NC State itself, they have one thing in common. They are self-described change agents, or people who act as catalysts for change. There are several levels at which a person can work to help eliminate discrimination and prejudice in society. A well-known diversity education tool, the "Diversity Awareness Profile (DAP)," created by Karen M. Stinson in 1991, is a self-assessment that reveals whether a person is "naïve," a "perpetuator," an "avoider," a "change agent," or a "fighter." Arguably, the "change agent" has the greatest potential to bring about positive change in society through persistent and constructive action. The NCBI Team does this through its ground-breaking workshop, "Building Bridges: Strengthening Leadership Through Diverse Communities," and the follow-up workshop, "Leading Diverse Groups Through Conflict."
The flagship NCBI workshop, "Strengthening Leadership Through Diverse Communities," focuses on exploring identities, understanding the impact of discrimination, and learning prejudice reduction skills. The second workshop, "Leading Diverse Groups Through Conflict," focuses on learning techniques for building coalitions in groups experiencing conflicting perspectives. Participants of the workshops have made comments such as: "the workshop increased my knowledge about the impact of discrimination," "this workshop helped me to realize many new ways to help bring people together," and "I am more aware of my own prejudices and am able to confront these attitudes in a productive manner."
The value and positive impact of the Building Bridges workshop has led to its inclusion as part of NC State's undergraduate Social Work curriculum and as part of the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics & Public Service (CSLEPS) Visionary Leadership Certificate. In addition to these major footholds into NC State's educational curricula, numerous groups on campus have also incorporated the NCBI workshop into their teaching. It is an ideal, self-contained learning experience that clearly and effectively presents concepts and exercises that get to the heart of prejudice and discrimination. Many campus volunteer organizations, such as the Women's Center's Literacy and Social Justice Youth Development group, Orientation Leaders, and Feed the Pack Food Pantry, utilize the free workshop to make sure everyone is on the same page in regard to their involvement and interaction with their diverse constituents.
In addition to these planned efforts, the intangible benefit of having trained NCBI facilitators across campus is becoming more evident. Team members have become resources for the campus community just by having the knowledge and experience gained from participating on the team. Colleagues often consult with team members regarding suggestions for how best to handle issues of diversity in the workplace, or how to enhance diversity within their respective work units. Because being an NCBI Team member is not just what someone does, but rather who someone is, the knowledge and experience gained is an expanding circle of expertise and understanding wherever a team member goes. And in times of crisis, the NC State Team stands ready with CREED (Community Reponse: Educate, Empower, and Develop), a written plan of action steps that the Team is ready to deploy when needed to help the NC State community respond, acknowledge, and work through crisis situations.
Congratulations to the NC State NCBI Team for its efforts and dedication in making NC State even better!