STEP INTO THEIR SHOES: Solving Diversity Challenges in Changing Times

Lauren C. Tillman, MDiv

Vanderbilt University, Office of Housing & Residential Experience

Jorge J. Wellmann, M.A. Ed

Vanderbilt University, Office of Housing & Residential Experience

Randall P. Bogard, M.A. Ed

Western Kentucky University, Office of Student Activities and Organizations

“All of our schools and units are doing scenario planning, thinking through what they can or should be doing now to prepare for a variety of economic pressures.” 

-Lindsay Ellis, 2019, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Higher Education resources oscillate with economic challenges and social movement.  Many universities experienced a substantial surge in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programming, hiring, and even creating offices to support diverse populations as enrollment and diversity increased globally. Initially, this was done to ensure that the needs of growing communities on various campuses were met in a culturally competent manner. Many universities have restructured and eliminated D&I offices due to rising costs and limited funding within this sector of Higher Education. This caused a reevaluation of the manner in which D&I resources meet student needs.

Higher Education professionals continue to be affected by budget cuts and reduction of staff. These professionals are responsible for identifying problems created by lack of cultural literacy and inadequate diversity exposure. Many Higher Education professionals are expected to troubleshoot situations with limited time and resources while successfully managing all other aspects of career and personal life. How is it possible to respond with eloquent compassion while maintaining the vision of your institution’s mission without appropriate training and educational resources? Not educating our staff concerning D&I topics is a non-negotiable.  Thus STEP INTO THEIR SHOES was developed.  

This presentation will provide insight into the development of an educational resource despite obstacles. Sharing both our university’s best practices in Housing & Residential Education and Student Activities will prove to be an informative resource for D&I training during a time of change and departmental uncertainties.

In this ACPA20 session, our goal is for participants to leave the session having:

  • Access to important documents and resources that will facilitate their university’s archaeological dig.
  • Assessment tools of the current D&I resources available at their institution.
  • A list of collaborative relationships that could be established or strengthened across the specific institution
  • The ability to critically analyze resources, assess training deficits and utilizing relationships that will accomplish successful training.
  • Encouragement to begin identifying ways in which participants can revise their departmental vision, build partnerships and services to meet the needs of ever-changing campus diversity. 

Our participants will learn how professional staff can create targeted training programs to address complex challenges during today’s difficult climate that might affect our students on campus (political, cultural, economic, etc.).  Working with other offices and departments, these trainings can be used to encourage meaningful conversations among staff and students, creating intellectual exchanges and additional learning opportunities.

Jorge J. Wellmann, M.A. Ed

Vanderbilt University, Office of Housing & Residential Experience

Area Coordinator, 

jorge.j.wellmann@vanderbilt.edu: (615) 343-6743

Presenter one is currently a Residence Hall Coordinator at a private institution where they work with student staff, graduate staff, and live-in faculty. They have over 10 years as a higher education practitioner working in a wide range of areas including housing, academic advising, and student conduct. Over their professional career, they have worked at a variety of institutions including state and regional, for-profit and flagship, research, private, and public. They previously have presented at state and regional professional conferences within their field. 

Lauren C. Tillman, MDiv

Vanderbilt University, Office of Housing & Residential Experience

Area Coordinator,

lauren.c.tillman@vanderbilt.edu: (615) 322-4693

Presenter two is a residential hall coordinator for a private university. New to the student affairs field, their previous experience includes work with educational non-profits and secondary education. Coming from a Masters of Divinity background, this presenter has studied and delved deeply into diversity and inclusion topics and student leadership training within a number of fields, including religion, human resources, popular culture, and higher education. 

Randall P. Bogard, M.A. Ed

Western Kentucky University, Office of Student Activities and Organizations

Assistant Director for Student Activities

randall.bogard@wku.edu: (270) 745-5809

http://www.wku.edu/sao

Presenter three has over 13 years as a student affairs professional. Currently, they are the Assistant Director for Student Affairs and Greek life at a regional state school. Throughout their career, they have worked at multiple institutions and higher education departments including housing, student activities, and greek life. 

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