The Second Annual Deepening Understanding Conference

May 12, 2016

Learning How to Respect and Understand Individual Differences

This past March, H&RS hosted our second annual Deepening Understanding Conference. More than 100 H&RS and UCSB team members participated in this half-day conference consisting of an opening keynote, a choice of 12 different workshops, and a closing session. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops surrounding various topics of diversity including race, gender, language, culture, sexism, sexual orientation, and religion. Workshops included Cross-cultural Conflict at Work, Diversidad de Lenguaje (presented in Spanish with English translation available), Islamophobia, and Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, & Queer: What does it all mean? All of the presenters were UCSB staff or faculty.

The Conference was kicked off with a powerful keynote by Sabrina Kwist. As a UCSB graduate and former employee (she worked in San Rafael Residence Hall and El Dorado Apartments, and as an Assistant Student Leadership Coordinator), Sabrina was able to connect with the audience in a very personal way. She recalled her experience as a first generation scholar and the personal growth she experienced during her time at UCSB. She’s currently the Assistant Dean of Students at Mills College.

Attendees had the opportunity to join their colleagues from a variety of departments to share and learn from each other’s stories. They got to pick two workshops to attend and ultimately decide which topics they wanted to deepen their understanding in. The group reconvened at the end of the day to share what they had learned and how that knowledge would be put into action. The Conference was a day filled with conversations about how we and our organization values and supports diversity, and learning how to continue to create inclusive, thriving, and connected living and learning environments for students and customers we serve and for our teams. It was a great opportunity to have these important conversations and to invest in one another. Thank you to the steering committee for organizing this great event, and thank you to the presenters for sharing your time and wisdom!

By Nestor Covarrubias