Skip to toolbar
814-863-0471 aao@psu.edu

Diversity Education

 

 

Shakoor Ward is the Universitys Professional Development Coordinator in the Affirmative Action Office (AAO). He is responsible for developing and conducting diversity education and sexual harassment awareness and prevention sessions for University employees for the AAO.  Before coming to Penn State, Ward was an Intercultural and Educational Leadership Consultant providing educational services and technical assistance to higher education institutions, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. He has a dynamic history of advancing diversity and inclusion in previous scholarly and practitioner roles in both domestic and international settings.

In 2014 and 2015, Ward co-authored the Best Paper awarded at an annual international conference. Ward has also presented on the topic of Intercultural Training at international conferences such as the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) and the Academy of Management (AOM). Dr. Ward’s publications cover various aspects of inclusion in both industry and academia. This year, Shakoor’s latest peer-reviewed article titled “Reconceptualizing the Teaching of Ethics in a Global Classroom” appears in the International Journal of Ethics Education.

Ward earned a BBA in Operations Management from University of Cincinnati, an MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University, and a PhD in Workforce Education and Development from The Pennsylvania State University.

The Affirmative Action Office offers a number of learning and discovery sessions for faculty and staff across the Penn State system.

 

Achieving Cultural Agility & Intercultural Competence

Description: This program is designed to address the realities of living and working in an increasingly global society where understanding other cultures is often an essential component of organizational success. Participants are encouraged to explore their feelings and perceptions of cultures other than our own in an effort to develop effective strategies to promote intercultural awareness and acceptance. This session focuses on developing intercultural competence and an awareness of personal cultural lenses.

Objectives:

  • Understand who we are, individually, as a cultural being
  • Develop awareness around personal cultural identities
  • Discover strategies for engaging in conversations around cultural differences
Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADA)

 

Description: This session introduces Penn State employees to the basics of disability law and how it affects common workplace situations and employment decisions. It helps participants understand the definition of disability, who is a qualified individual, and the interactive process required by disability laws. This session also explains what constitutes a reasonable accommodation to disability and provides workplace examples illustrating common reasonable accommodations, as well as potential areas of conflict and mistakes often made by employees.

Objectives:

  • Review the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADA) and its definition of disability.
  • Provide information about the ADA relating to employment at Penn State.
  • Increase awareness of employee and organizational rights, responsibilities, and procedures.

Approx. 1.5 hrs.

 

Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADA) – Training for Penn State Supervisors and Managers

 

​Description: This session introduces Penn State supervisors, managers and employees to the basics of disability law and how to address common workplace situations that may include hiring, termination, job assignments, reporting and other employment decisions. It helps participants understand the definition of disability, who is a qualified individual, and the interactive process required by disability laws. This session also explains what constitutes a reasonable accommodation to disability and provides workplace examples illustrating common reasonable accommodations, as well as potential areas of conflict and mistakes often made by supervisors and managers.

Objectives:

  • Review the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADA) and its definition of disability.
  • Provide information about the ADA relating to employment at Penn State.
  • Increase awareness of employee and organizational rights, responsibilities, and procedures.

Approx. 1.5 hrs.

Becoming an Active Witness Who Hears, Sees, Feels, and Does

Description: Everyone is a witness at some time in their lives. A witness observes unacceptable behavior and knows that the behavior is destructive and could become pervasive if gone unchecked. An active witness responds to unacceptable behavior in some form of involvement. Participants will consider a number of responses and appropriate strategies to active witnessing within their own “voice” and personality strengths.

Objectives:

  • Reflect on your preferred level of witnessing and why
  • Consider the necessity of active witnessing
  • Have the knowledge to apply upstander strategies as intervention
  • Identify a preferred intervention strategy
How Sexual and Gender-based Behavior Creates a Hostile Work Environment

Description: This session provides basic guidelines for understanding and preventing sexual and gender-based harassment in the workplace. Information regarding the legal basis for sexual harassment as well as Penn State’s policies and procedures regarding sexual and gender-based harassment and other related behaviors that are offensive but might not be a policy violation. Case studies are referenced throughout the session for participants to discuss and assess what qualifies as severe or pervasive inappropriate behavior, particularly at Penn State.

Objectives:

  • Recognize sexual and gender-based harassment behaviors
  • Identify appropriate responses to sexual and gender-based behavior
  • Know the university policy for sexual and gender-based harassment
  • Know the resources and options available in lieu of filing a report
  • Learn how to report sexual and gender-based harassment
Reducing Workplace Conflict: Promoting a Climate of Respect and Inclusion

 

Description: This program is designed to address the many ways in which workplace climates either promote organizational success or contribute to decreases in both morale and productivity. Attention is given to the challenges of facilitating belonging within a diverse workplace. Participants are expected to individually assess how their own actions and attitudes impact this process, while working with others to develop strategies aimed at improving the climate in diverse workplaces.

Objectives:

  • Explore your understanding of civility and incivility
  • Recognize how specific behaviors serve as barriers to organizational goals
  • Use reflective techniques to manage potential conflicts
  • Consider ways to best communicate civility

This session is a 2 hrs session.

 

Reducing Workplace Conflict – Supervisors and Managers Edition

Description: This program is designed to address the many ways in which workplace climates either promote organizational success or contribute to decreases in both morale and productivity. Leaders are expected to individually assess how their own actions and attitudes impact this process and reflect on their social influence strategies in a diverse workplace.

Objectives:

  • Explore your understanding of civility and incivility
  • Understand how social influence strategies contribute to conflict
  • Use reflective techniques to manage potential conflicts
  • Give considerations how individuals may promote rather than impede goal strivings

This session is a 2 hrs session.

Religion in the Workplace

 

Description: Title VII prohibits disparate treatment, or harassment based on religious belief or practice, as well as retaliation for the exercise of EEO rights. But what are considered religious beliefs and religious practices? When is an accommodation not considered “reasonable” to an employer? This session provides Penn State staff and faculty with information to better understand their rights and help protect the rights of others in compliance with university policy and federal law.

Objectives:

  • Describe employee rights to religious accommodations
  • Know the meanings of “reasonable accommodation” and “undue hardship”
  • Describe types of religious accommodations that Penn State may provide
  • Understand the process for requesting a religious accommodation

Approx. 1.5 hrs.

Religion in the Workplace – Training for Penn State Supervisors and Managers

 

Description: Title VII, as well as most state laws, require employers to accommodate an individual’s religious practices or beliefs. But what kind of religious accommodation is actually required to comply with the law and avoid religious discrimination complaints? When is an accommodation considered an “undue hardship” to an employer? This session provides Penn State supervisors and managers with information to protect the rights of Penn State employees and comply with university policy and federal law.

Objectives:

  • Understand the types of religious issues that may appear at Penn State
  • State why it is important to prevent religious discrimination and provide accommodations when possible
  • Describe Penn State’s position on religious discrimination and religious accommodations
  • Describe types of religious accommodations that Penn State may provide
  • Understand your responsibilities as supervisors to respond to complaints of religious discrimination and requests for accommodation

Approx. 1.5 hrs.

Subtle Slights and the Impact of Bias on Cultural Identity and Mental Wellbeing

 

Description: How do we handle the unspoken, often unrecognized “little things” that foster sentiments and attitudes of inequity and incivility? Microaggressions speak to the attitudes, dispositions, and comments that many times lead to the devaluing of members of a community. This session will focus on recognizing, validating, and ultimately managing the display and impact of microaggressions.

Objectives:

  • Consider and understand the impact of personal perceptions and individual lenses.
  • Define and identify types of microaggressions.
  • Learn strategies to remedy instances of potential or perceived biases.
  • Reflect on the impact of microaggressions and biases on the University community.

Approx. 2 hrs.

The Relation Between Power and Stereotyping within STEM

 

Description: Empirical studies show that stereotypes affect cognitive and motivational functions in the context of power relations. Dominant social statuses and dominant social group memberships are often in high-power status positions (e.g. supervisors and managers, administrators, professors) and have influence over individuals in low-power or lesser-power status positions.  This session is intended to explore these power relationships within Higher Education, particularly in STEM disciplines. One focus is to examine the impact of gender stereotyping on performance and career satisfaction.

Objectives:

  • Discuss power relationships within Higher Education
  • Understand the impact of stereotyping on performance and career satisfaction
  • Understand how social influence strategies can convey stereotypes and bias
  • Identify ways low-power individuals can alter stereotyped-based strategies used on them

Approx. 1 hr.

Wisdom of the Ages: Applying Generational Concepts at Work

Description: Four generations of people currently exist in today’s workplace, and we are quickly approaching the time when there will be five. This session highlights and illuminates the benefits and challenges that exist when people of various ages work together. The goal of this program is to inform participants about the five generational types and the characteristics of each. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their challenges for interacting with the different generations and consider how awareness for their differing generational perspectives can help them communicate more effectively.

Objectives:

  • Identify the different generations
  • Explore and understand common characteristics of the generations currently comprising the workforce
  • Recognize the impacts of generational influences on attitudes, values, and behaviors
  • Develop more effective strategies for working with people of various ages

Don’t forget to visit our list of topics delivered as mini sessions via ZOOM to help keep employees engaged and connected during our period of working remote. Click on the link below to visit our Virtual Brown Bag 30-Minute Diversity Workouts page:

Virtual Brown Bag 40-Minute Diversity Workouts

If you are interested in requesting a program specifically for your department, unit, or campus, please complete the Professional Development Request Form on-line:

On-line Professional Development Request Form

Programs individually designed or tailored for specific units are also available upon request.