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Learning and Development

Diversity Retreat

History: Bentley University offered the first diversity retreat in August 1993. The Diversity Task Force that was developing a strategic plan for diversity at Bentley recommended the first retreat.  The participants were the President, Vice Presidents, Deans and members of the Task Force. Following that retreat the President’s Cabinet decided that similar experiences should be made available to all members of the staff and faculty. The college has sponsored retreats every year since then in which approximately 75% of the staff and almost half of the faculty have participated.

Purpose: The purpose of the diversity retreat is to deepen individual awareness and understanding of diversity dynamics in U.S. society, at Bentley, and in our individual departments, offices and classrooms. “Awareness” refers to our capacity to notice diversity issues and incidents, and “understanding” relates to our ability to explain what lies behind those issues and incidents. Participants in the retreats bring a wide range of backgrounds, from people who have focused very intensively on diversity issues to those who have given them relatively little attention. Our experience is that everyone can learn from the respectful and serious exchange of ideas and perspectives among colleagues that the retreats make possible.

Ally Workshops

History: This workshop, offered since 1998 at Bentley, introduces participants to being an “ally” on sexual identity issues at Bentley. The working definition of "ally" for this workshop is:

An agent of change who helps to create a safe place for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered people at Bentley, in order to enrich the learning environment for everyone.

Purpose: This two-hour workshop, offered several times each academic year, is highly interactive. It focuses on the need for allies at Bentley and the variety of ways in which people can act as allies. The current climate on campus in relation to sexual identity is examined and specific scenarios that allies might face are discussed -- the challenges, issues and options. All members of the staff and faculty who are interested in being allies are welcome to attend. A list of current Allies on campus is also available.

Pedagogy at Bentley: Fostering an Inclusive Classroom Environment 

Offered once each year to new faculty members, this one and a half day interactive orientation session is designed to support faculty effectiveness in the classroom and enhance their ability to create a meaningful environment for student learning. This developmental workshop, designed by current Bentley faculty, includes experiences drawn from across the curriculum. Participants have the opportunity to share experiences from their first semester at Bentley and receive strategies for creating an inclusive classroom.  Topics include faculty identity in the classroom, managing group dynamics, dealing with difficult conversations, unconscious bias in the classroom, and teaching techniques that allow all perspectives in conversation. Information is also shared about the demographic makeup of the Bentley community (including emerging trends) and how this affects our learning environment. In the three years the program has been offered, thirty-eight members of the faculty have completed the workshop.

Diversity & International Intensive Faculty Symposium

An interdisciplinary forum, this full-day symposium was established to shine a light on the innovative approaches being used by faculty across campus to create brave spaces for learning, reflection, and conversation on topics of diversity and inclusion. All members of the faculty are invited to participate in three classroom sessions offered by Bentley faculty who teach one of the diversity or international intensive courses, which are a graduation requirement for undergraduates. Participants become students for the day, engaging in learning and dialog on a range of topics facilitated by their peers. Class sessions have been offered from the following courses: Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Social Justice Law, Sociology of Native American Peoples, Managing Diversity in the Workplace, Cross-Cultural Understanding, International Marketing, Introduction to Gender Issues, and Economics of the European Union. In the four years this symposium has been offered, more than 60 members of the faculty have attended these sessions.