A new, diversity-focused training module will be required for incoming freshmen and transfer students, President Bob Caslen and VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Julian Williams announced in an email to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday.
The module is called Brave & Bold Dialogues: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The module will also be made available to upperclassmen and graduate students. The module itself can be accessed through Self Service Carolina.
"This program allows students to delve into the subjects of diversity, equity and inclusion through self-reflection and awareness exercises designed to increase cultural competency and lay the foundation for new and different perspectives," Caslen said in an email statement.
Williams said the content itself will be delivered similarly to the sexual assault and alcohol modules and serve as a starter for discussion about the topic.
"The way that I look at them — and similar to the other online modules about alcohol, about sexual assault, dating violence, stalking — is that they're introductions. We have to continue to layer on education on top of those things, because as good as those online modules are, they can't just be it," Williams said.
Williams said he wants the discussion of diversity to go beyond the modules, though, talking about orientation and U101 being included in helping promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
"This I think is a first step for us, rather than a cure-all. I'm always thinking about how you're building a house, you have to start with the foundation," Williams said. "And also then talking about our values and expectations as it relates to inclusion and diversity, starting some of those conversations, and the next piece for us to really think about is how are we layering onto that throughout a student's university experience."
Williams said the module is going to launch "very soon" as his office works with the Registrar office and others. While he said there will be accountability measures to ensure students complete the module, there is still work to be done, as well COVID to account for.
"I think at this time we wanted to think carefully about how we place holds on people's account, specifically because there's a lot going on with COVID and registration and all of those things, but how are we going to make sure that students are actually doing it and taking it. So, there's still some conversations to be had there, but what we do want to ensure folks is that there's going to be accountability baked in and that people are going to have to do it," Williams said.