How can faculty ensure their courses are accessible to all students? What are some of the common barriers to creating a civil workplace? Where can students find a safe and private space on campus to connect?
These are just a few of the questions to be raised as part of Respect Week this year at Dalhousie, which kicks off Monday and runs through Friday (Sept. 25-29).
Now in its third year, Respect Week provides an opportunity to recognize Dal’s commitment to providing a safe, inclusive and respectful community and to promote services available for those who need help and support.
Learn more: Respect Week website
But it also serves as an opportunity to inspire members of the Dal community to think critically about how they can help foster an even more inclusive environment for all.
“We’re trying to raise the bar by encouraging people to do a bit of self-reflection about how they interact with others on campus,” says Janice MacInnis, a Respect Week organizer who works in Human Resources at Dal. “These things take time. People take time to change and processes take time to change, but we’re working towards that.”
Pink Day, educational lectures and more
Pink Day, which MacInnis co-founded with another Dal colleague in 2009, happens on Thursday, Sept. 28, and serves as a focal point for the week, with tie-in events on all Dal campuses — including a free BBQ lunch on the Studley Quad. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink as a show of support for the promotion of respect and inclusion.
You can also pick up pink #DalRespect buttons at various locations across campus. (See them on the Repect Week website, right-hand sidebar.)
Other activities planned include everything from educational lectures and workshops to social-media campaigns and in-person social events, some exclusively for faculty, others just for students, and some open to all.
"As we continue to explore what inclusivity looks and feels like for us as a community, Respect Week this year encourages us to be mindful that this process invites us all to engage in exploring what inclusion looks like from the classroom to the cafeteria," says Shakira Weatherdon, coordinator of Dal's Respect Week committee and an education advisor with Dal's Human Right and Equity Services (HRES).
Events for faculty, staff and students
MacInnis will run a session for managers and supervisors on building competence when it comes to having challenging discussions with staff and colleagues. And a presentation from Dana Kabat-Farr, an assistant professor in the Rowe School of Business, will focus on her recent research documenting the benefits of “just being nice” at work. Other talks will explore the concept of respect through an intersectional lens, the benefits of mindfulness, among other topics.
Faculty are invited to attend sessions on supporting students in distress, the do’s and don’ts of getting involved in disciplinary matters involving students, and on learning accessibility and accommodation strategies to ensure classes are open to the broadest group possible.
Elsewhere, Venus Envy will host a discussion in partnership with South House on the topic of consent. South House will also be offering a closed space of collective healing for BIPOC students (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) that will include a loosely facilitated discussion on the “radical practice of prioritizing ourselves, our joy, our nourishment, and the revolutionary work of lovingly tending to our cultural communities.”
On the Agricultural Campus in Truro, there will be a social-media contest featuring daily questions for the community on Indigenizing campus and another called Pay it Forward, which will encourage international students to invite someone they don’t know to have a cup of free coffee in Jenkins Hall. Following the meeting, they are then encouraged to post a selfie and a message on inclusivity for a chance with lunch date with the dean. Many of the sessions and workshops held in Halifax during the week will also be accessible to people in Truro via videoconference.
Visit the Respect Week website to find out more about individual activities and to register for workshops and sessions.
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