Racial justice community engagement workshops

Racial justice community engagement workshops

By Ben Lewis, Director of Communications

As part of the Office of Outreach and Engagement's commitment to racial justice, the office has prioritized providing trainings and resources to colleges, departments and units that engage our communities. Assistant Vice Provost Nicole Nieto facilitated 12 workshops during autumn semester on topics such as racial justice, social identity and dialogue. Outreach and Engagement is particularly interested in empowering Ohio State's faculty, staff and students to engage with diverse communities in meaningful ways.

"Central to the role of the Office of Outreach and Engagement is supporting the university-community partnerships that are being realized by our faculty and staff," said Ryan Schmiesing, vice provost for Outreach and Engagement. "Through our workshops, grants and related programs, we continue to work to strengthen these relationships, and help all stakeholders engage in meaningful relationships to ensure broad access to the tremendous knowledge, expertise and resources of this land-grant university."

Among the units that took part in autumn semester sessions were the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, University Advancement, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Center on Education and Teaching for Employment (CETE) in the College of Education and Human Ecology.

"As we think about engaging our communities beyond Ohio State, it is important to first examine our own social identities and understanding of racial and social justice," Nieto said. "We have worked with colleagues from across the university to provide learning workshops and spaces for community dialogue. It is our hope that this work will provide participants with the skill set, knowledge and confidence to engage our diverse and vibrant communities."

In the Glenn College, there were semester-long learning opportunities and college retreats.

"Nicole Nieto has deftly deepened our understanding of difficult issues around social justice and inequality in all its forms. Leading us to examine ourselves and our interactions with others, Nicole has brought out the best in us and in our collective commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion," said Kathleen Hallihan, assistant dean of students and instruction/college diversity officer in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Nieto worked with University Advancement University on train-the-trainer sessions about hosting brave conversations on race and other topics.

"With Nicole's help, we were able to launch a series of conversations on topics such as race and allyship that have drawn hundreds of our colleagues together in groups of eight or 10. That's where change can happen!" said Mary Alice Casey, editor of Ohio State Alumni Magazine in University Marketing and co-chair of the Advancement Inclusion Council's Encouraging Brave Conversations Committee.

In CETE, Nieto is partnering with the center to advance its Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Movement.

"After engaging in the first of three planned sessions with our 60+ staff members, we are excited about the opportunity to leverage her expertise and consultation as we build our leadership and staff's capacity to effectively impact systemic inequities through our work with our community partners," said Melissa Ross, associate director of research partnerships and impacts/program director of community engagement and evaluation.

If you would like more information on partnering on a workshop in your area, contact Assistant Vice Provost Nicole Nieto at nieto.12@osu.edu.