814-863-0471 aao@psu.edu


328 Boucke, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0471
Email: aao@psu.edu

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Diversity Education



Shakoor Ward has been named the Universitys new Professional Development Coordinator in the Affirmative Action Office (AAO). He will be responsible for developing and conducting diversity education and sexual harassment awareness and prevention sessions for University employees for the AAO. Shakoor earned his Ph.D. here at Penn State in 2010 and just relocated from Baltimore, MD where he was based as an Independent Contractor. Prior to returning to Penn State, Dr. Ward was a Contract Trainer for the Maryland State Board of Elections. He has a long history of advancing diversity and inclusion in previous positions as a Lecturer, Staff Developer, Researcher, Assistant Professor and Department Head, and Curriculum Developer in both domestic and international settings. Joining Penn State as the AAO Professional Development Coordinator is a perfect next step for him and he is excited to provide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion professional development opportunities to the Penn State community.

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


Subtle Slights: Understanding the Impact of Unconscious Bias and Microaggressions

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.


  • Consider and understand the impact of personal perceptions and individual lenses.
  • Define and identify types of microaggressions.
  • Develop strategies and resources to remedy instances of potential or perceived incivility.

Achieving Cultural Agility & Intercultural Competence

Part One: Awareness

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 about non-U.S. cultures in an effort to develop effective strategies to promote intercultural awareness and acceptance. This session is the first in a series on developing intercultural competence and focusses on awareness of personal cultural lenses.


  • Understand who we are, individually, as a cultural being
  • Develop awareness around personal cultural identities
  • Discover strategies for engaging in conversations around cultural differences
  • Learn how our similarities and our differences strengthen the work unit

Part Two: Knowledge


  • Gather information about other cultures.
  • Examine issues associated with acclimating to life in the United States.
  • Develop strategies to work more effectively with those whose cultures are different from their own.

Sexual Harassment: Awareness and Prevention

Description: This program provides basic guidelines for understanding and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Information regarding the legal basis for sexual harassment as well as Penn State’s policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment and other related behaviors (Title IX) will be discussed. Case studies will be included for participants to assess, discuss, and identify resolutions for potential sexual harassment situations in higher education.


  • Recognize sexual harassment behaviors
  • Identify appropriate responses to sexual harassment behavior
  • Know the university policy (AD 85) for sexual harassment and other related behaviors (Title IX)
  • Learn how to report sexual harassment and other Title IX related behaviors

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.


  • 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

Workplace Civility: Promoting a Climate and Culture 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. Participants will be expected to individually assess how their own actions and attitudes impact this process, while working with others to develop strategies aimed at improving the workplace climate in general.


  • Discover the necessary components to fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and productive workplace climate
  • Recognize how specific behaviors serve as barriers to organizational goals.
  • Identify specific warning signs that signal the need for organizational change
  • Assess workplace values as an indicator of the current organizational climate

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.

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