Numerous PNW staff members earn inclusion microcredentials
A total of 88 Purdue University Northwest (PNW) academic and non-academic staff members and administrators earned microcredentials centered on cultivating inclusive and welcoming environments through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).
Several university business units invested in professional development opportunities for multiple faculty and staff members during summer 2023 to participate in ACUE’s “Fostering a Culture of Belonging” microcredential course. Staff members and administrators from the offices of Academic Affairs; Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; Information Services; and Institutional Advancement participated in the ACUE course. PNW’s Center for Faculty Excellence served as liaison for course enrollment and completion.
Emily Hixon, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, was pleased to help make this opportunity available at PNW. “I’m excited that so many leaders from across the institution have completed this credential and that we now have a common vocabulary to further promote dialogue related to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all at PNW. The course has enhanced enthusiasm for the belonging initiatives already underway, and I look forward to seeing how the new ideas that emerge from this shared experience will impact the PNW community.”
We want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem, so we should never underestimate the power that we have to either hinder or boost a student’s success. Words matter, actions matter and our students matter.
Course takers dedicated time through self-paced exercises to expand their knowledge and better understand how concepts such as implicit biases, microaggressions, imposter phenomenon and stereotype threat can negatively impact the work and learning outcomes of students, colleagues and PNW community members. Through panels, academic expert insights, discussion forums and self-reflection, course takers learned actionable practices to help ensure all members of the PNW community feel a sense of belonging. Those who completed the course came together on August 25 to share their takeaways and discuss how they can implement what they learned to make a larger impact at the institution.
“My greatest takeaway from this course is that we should use our personal stories of dealing with adversity and learning to be resilient so we can help our students navigate in this world in which others are undoubtedly going to try to make them feel as if they sometimes don’t belong,” said Christina Maldonado, who serves as the parent, community and early education liaison in the office of Enrollment Management. “We want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem, so we should never underestimate the power that we have to either hinder or boost a student’s success. Words matter, actions matter and our students matter.”
“I appreciate that we had the platform to be able to work on these strategies to make PNW more inclusive and where students can Power Onward,” said Zachary Jones, assistant director of Career Development. “By the time students come to us, they have had plenty of hurdles to come across. We try to turn this from a school to a home.”
For six years the Center for Faculty Excellence has partnered with ACUE in professional development opportunities for PNW faculty and staff. In previous academic years, faculty members have completed and implemented new methods of pedagogy gleaned from the “Course in Effective Teaching Practices.”