Diversity Education and Training Lab | Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Kent State University

Diversity Education and Training Lab

Equipping the Leaders of Today. Building The Foundations of Tomorrow.

The DEI Education and Training Lab aims to foster and develop diversity and cultural competency awareness, knowledge and skills. The lab is made up of a team with diverse expertise to help address issues ranging from blind spots and unintentional biases to recruitment, promotion and cultural competency skills.

The lab’s training team leads discussions to foster awareness of barriers and issues that impact climate, diversity and inclusion. They also offer training, seminars and workshops to learn how to apply new skills outside the lab.In addition to working with Kent State faculty, staff and students, the Diversity Education and Training Lab trains more than 500 community-based leaders and partners.

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DEI Education and Training Lab Offerings

Cultural Competency Series
Part I : Leadership, Mindset & Care

This interactive workshop draws upon the concepts of leadership, mindset and care as foundational elements to building inclusive and positive working and learning environments. Using research and hands-on activities, participants will reflect upon Kouzes & Posner’s leadership principles; Dweck’s mindset research; and, Ferrucci’s characteristics of kindness. These concepts serve as a framework in which participant’s work, academic and personal practices are considered and discussed with emphasis on the ways these concepts foster growth, learning and kindness. Core topics covered: developing a working understanding of leadership, mindset and care and building inclusive leadership and mindset practices to apply to work and learning environments in which care and kindness are prioritized.

Part II : Cultural Competency Basics & Awareness

Through building an awareness of one’s own myths, biases and stereotypes, this workshop seeks to foster a general understanding of cultural competency within participants through interactive dialogues and shared experiences. An emphasis is placed on creating safe spaces for conversation and providing participants with tools to foster inclusive spaces within their own environments. Core topics covered: developing an understanding of cultural competency; self-awareness and understanding of biases, myths and stereotypes; defining diversity; and, building tools, skills and knowledge.

Part III : Understanding Unconscious Bias

Building upon the foundation developed in Cultural Competency Basics & Awareness workshop, this session delves deeper into self-awareness, consideration of one’s actions and ways these actions impact our actions. Activities and dialogue focus on increasing depth and cultivating cultural competency skills within oneself and one’s environment in connection to the nationally researched work on Implicit Bias and Implicit Association. Core topics covered: understanding unconscious bias; developing cultural competency skills; and, understanding one’s own blind spots (Banaji & Greenwald, 2013).

  • All three parts qualify for Kent State University's Beyond Compliance certification.



Facilitated Dialogues
The Listening Project

The Listening Project aims to foster stronger working relationships among colleagues through intentional dialogue across difference. The program is organized by pairing participants based on factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, or a related workplace difference. Trained coaches foster dialogue between partners in cluster sessions on topics that range from getting to know one another to views on race. Goals of the program include: building of relationships among individuals that normally may not develop a relationship; increased understanding of diversity and inclusion, gender, ethnic and race differences; and, improve the climate and success of diversity at KSU through building trust and credibility.

Blind Spot

The Hidden Biases of Good People Book Dialogue: Building on research by three scientists (Tony Greenwald, Mahzarin Banaji and Brian Nosek), Blind Spot builds on the Implicit Association Test research to help readers understand how our unconscious biases may impact the ways in which we work, live and treat one another. Through a series of dialogue questions and book reading, this dialogue will help participants build awareness and increased understanding on one’s “blind spots.”

The Power of Kindness Book Dialogue

“The Power of Kindness” by Piero Ferrucci challenges us to consider simple yet profound concepts such as warmth, honesty, forgiveness and 15 other principles that foster kindness in all the work we do and how we treat each other. This dialogue applies these concepts to a workplace setting and how through these concepts we are able to thrive as leaders and human beings, appreciating and valuing difference.

Diversifying & Retaining Faculty & Staff, Part I

Part one provides an overview of the faculty and staff searches process and the ways in which bias impact the process as early as creating the job description. The seminar focuses on concrete strategies and a hiring process to mitigate bias and yield an increased diverse pool of candidates. Core topics covered: The importance of diversity in hiring; dispelling of myths and understanding of bias in the process; understanding search committee roles; diverse recruitment strategies; and, dialogue to share ideas and successful practices.

Diversity & Retaining Faculty & Staff, Part II

Part two picks-up at the campus interview phase and focuses on hiring through retention of diverse faculty. A continued understanding of bias in the interview and selection phase is covered as well as specific strategies to retain diverse faculty. Core topics covered: Strategies for effective campus interviews; processes to effectively screen and select candidates; strategies to develop retention plans; and, dialogue to share ideas and successful practices.

  • Both parts qualify for Kent State University's Beyond Compliance certification.
Intercultural Development Inventory

The Intercultural Development Inventory is a valid, reliable, 50-item questionnaire that measures intercultural competence at the individual, group and organization level. The questionnaire takes approximately 15-30 minutes to complete and should be completed prior to the training. During the training, participants will come to understand basic concepts of intercultural communication within a higher education context. Participants will receive a profile for their training group and have time to discuss these results within the context of their work at Kent State University. Finally, each participant will receive individual results and a personalized intercultural development plan designed to assist the participant to move along the intercultural development continuum toward an intercultural mindset. The individual results will be kept confidential and participants may elect to schedule a private debriefing to discuss their results. Note: There is a charge of $15 per participant, which covers the cost of purchasing the Intercultural Development Inventory. Kent State University units  pay via IDC.

The Basics of Building Culturally Competent Communication Skills

This session reviews fundamental principles of communication that encourages respect for diverse perspectives, beliefs, opinions and individuals. Since communication is the essential skill that fosters relationships, this workshop covers the often unspoken and unconscious interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics. Participants are encouraged to appreciate the importance of valuing another person’s model of the world. Core topics covered: Understanding of interpersonal and intrapersonal communication differences; developing the basics of cultural competent communication skills; and, ways to communicate inclusively.


This session explores the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can surface in a diverse culture. Participants will learn about different types of microaggressions, explore some of the complexities of intent vs. impact, and learn some strategies for both avoiding making unintentional microaggressions as well as addressing those that do arise.

  • Qualifies for Kent State University's Beyond Compliance certification.
Responding to Students in Crisis: Ramifications of Sexual Violence in the University Community

With statistics like 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men experiencing an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime, faculty and staff may at some point have a student share their story. Knowing how to respond and support a student is not always easy; often there is a fear of doing more harm while trying to help someone. During this workshop, faculty and staff will learn about the realities of sexual violence, especially in a college community and learn what one can say to someone that is supportive and helpful. Also, participants will learn what they can do to be proactive in their courses and work environments to support students and help prevent sexual violence. Finally, participants will leave with many resources for helping others. Core topics covered: understanding sexual violence as it relates to the university community; development of skills to respond to students who disclose experiencing sexual violence; ways to work proactively and preventatively against sexual violence; and knowledge of resources.

Professional Communication Skills for Women in the Workplace

An important aspect of professional development essential to being successful in the workplace is effective communication. Unclear, indirect or weak communication can inhibit the effectiveness of the individual and become problematic for continued growth and development. Clear communication and strong listening skills can create an environment which is healthy, effective, and productive. Women often have gender-based communication styles which may cause them to communicate in ways they do not intend and which inhibits professional growth, development and advancement. Becoming self-aware is an important aspect of effective professional communication.

Length of Training Sessions

Dynamic Discussions

Contact time: 60 minutes

These facilitated dialogues are led by core members of the Lab with expertise in specific areas of focus.  Dynamic Discussions are conversation starters that foster awareness of the subject matter and provide a general overview of content.  These sessions are not KSU Beyond Compliance certified.


Contact time: 90-120 minutes depending on audience

In addition to raising awareness and providing a general overview of content, workshops are designed to introduce practical skills, techniques and suggestions that participants can use in their work and daily lives. These sessions are KSU Beyond Compliance certified.

Learning Experiences

Contact time: 3-4 hours depending on audience

Learning Experiences are trainings designed to create an intensive educational experience in a short amount of time. Constructed around the chosen topic, our Learning Experiences provide development opportunities that enhance knowledge, develop skills and enrich the participant. Through engaging activities, we challenge participants to investigate and demonstrate skills learned.  These sessions are KSU Beyond Compliance certified.

Contact the DEI Education and Training Lab

Workshops, trainings and facilitated dialogues are available upon request and availability.  Contact the Training Lab at DEITraining@kent.edu.

If you need immediate assistance please contact Natasha Curtis, Associate Director, at (330) 672-8563.