This program was developed by Edward Gibson IV, Program Diversity Coordinator, and LaQuanda T. Onyemeh, Diversity Resident Librarian to create educational training opportunities for library employees to empower them in tackling difficult and uncomfortable topics in the library. This program was sparked by TAMU libraries mission to promote diversity and inclusion.
The program developers focused on the idea that educating and training both faculty and staff would be an effective way to build on the TAMU Libraries goal to create a climate and culture that is open and welcoming to individuals of different backgrounds and beliefs. The Conversation for Change Dialogue Series provides participants with tools and techniques to engage in difficult conversations about social justice issues and ideas; diversity and inclusion; and organizational work culture.
Program developers met to discuss learning outcomes and possible tools and techniques. We surveyed the TAMU campus resources to see what staff had the expertise and experience needed to lead sessions on the topics chosen. After the development of our first talk release, we recruited committee members and created a partnership and reached out to library administrators to solicit their input on relevant topics and help with encouraging staff to participate.
Conversations for Change launched with notable speaker Justin Brown and his Diversity Awareness Program. Justin provided a three-hour high energy presentation incorporating strong fundamental ideas and concepts on topics relating to diversity. A pre and post assessment will be administered to retrieve data after each talk series.