Diversity and Inclusion Working Group hosts its first seminar

Image of a presentation slide

The opening of Puente’s presentation included this sign from 20’s El Paso, TX.

On January 25, the Woodruff Library Diversity and Inclusion Working Group hosted a special talk by Mark Puente, Director of Diversity and Leadership at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Held in the Woodruff Library’s Jones Room, the event included discussion about the state of diversity and inclusion initiatives in the broader profession today, and what is next as academic libraries advocate for equity in their spaces, collections, and practices.

The son of first generation Americans who immigrated from Mexico, Puente wondered aloud if diverse representation in a workforce tells an accurate story about actual inclusion. Said Puente, “We have finally reached a point where we must do more than simply hire minorities. We have to help them assimilate and feel included.”

Puente called for organizations to examine the efficacy of diversity training that he believes often lacks real impact. He believes that unconscious biases play out in professional life every day.

According to Puente, studies show that diversity in the work force leads to better performance. “We have seen a significant correlation between a company’s diversity and its customer satisfaction.”

Group photo of staff attending a seminar

Some of the members of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (L to R): Hannah Rutledge, Christeene Alcosiba, Sarah Quigley, Erica Bruchko, Dawn Francis-Chewning, Chella Vaidyanathan, Laura Akerman, Saira Raza, Jennifer Meehan, Gretchen Warner, Katie Rawson.

This event was the first of many being planned by the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which was created by Yolanda Cooper in August of 2016 in accordance with Emory’s strategic themes under new President Claire Sterk. Sterk has called for Emory to move “from diversity to inclusion” in its workforce practices.

“I’ve been impressed by how many people have been consistently committed to this group,” said co-chair Saira Raza. “The openness to learning has been really wonderful.”

Added co-chair Christeene Alcosiba, “We don’t want this group to be merely academic but instead to create transformational change.”

The current Woodruff Library Diversity and Inclusion Working Group consists of: Laura Akerman, Christeene Alcosiba, Nidia Banuelos, Jon Bodnar, Erica Bruchko, Nik Dragovic, Dawn Francis-Chewning, Terence Jefferson, Elliott Kuecker, Rich McNeal, Jennifer Meehan, Nicole Nixon, Sarah Quigley, Katie Rawson, Saira Raza, Hannah Rutledge, Jeff Sowder, Chella Vaidyanathan, Gretchen Warner, and Jenn Young.

The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group is hosting an Info-forum on February 23. If you are interested in more details, please contact either Christeene Alcosiba or Saira Raza.


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