A Campus of Difference

Saint Mary’s is now in its fourth year of conducting A Campus of Difference, a daylong workshop for faculty and staff designed to create community and begin discussions on the meaning and value of a diverse and inclusive community.

A Campus of Difference was developed by the Anti-Defamation League to help college administrators, faculty members and students learn to examine stereotypes, expand cultural awareness, explore the value of diversity and combat racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.

The College rolled out the initiative through a multi-day Train-the-Trainer program, and participants continue to give A Campus of Difference workshops today.The Saint Mary’s version of the workshop, held on campus at least twice each semester, allows attendees to spend time talking about important issues that affect their community – issues that faculty and staff may not usually think to discuss in their day-to-day relationships on campus.

Discussions focus on such topics as “How do we work, learn and play with people who are different than we are?” and “How do we create commonalities with people who are different than we are?” Another goal of the workshop is to raise staff and faculty awareness of things happening on campus and to better understand the experiences of people who don’t feel welcome or included.

A Campus of Difference helps to create community by providing opportunities for people to get to know other staff and faculty members they don’t normally encounter on campus. Even those who do know each other can become acquainted in a deeper way through activities during the day.

One exercise is “continue, stop, start,” focusing on what we at Saint Mary’s are doing that we should continue and what we should stop in our efforts to build the type of inclusive community we would like to become.

All faculty and staff are required to participate in the workshop once every three years.

Those who desire can participate in follow-up activities, including semester-long book groups and once-a-month communication workshops on topics such as creating clear communication strategies and how to communicate during conflicts.