On April 22, 2015, the Connecticut Office of Peace Islands Institute (PII) organized “Diversity in Education” event. The speaker was Michelle Nearon, Assistant Dean at Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Office for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Yale University. Faculty members and students from Yale University, Quinnipiac University and Southern Connecticut State University as well as members of local communities attended the event.
Starting her speech with a wide definition and meaning of diversity, Michelle Nearon underlined the importance of the concept in enhanced organizational learning and institutional mission. She thoroughly elucidated the benefits of diversity for the communities and educational institutions. It was emphasized that creating more inclusive communities, diversity increases capacity for learning and expands intellectual curiosity. Dr. Nearon analyzed the growing role of diversity in education, especially in the United States, since 1960s. She underscored the diversity paradigm shift across educational institutions and businesses. Different diversity initiatives with successful results over the last couple of decades were echoed and the importance of implementation was underlined.
Finally, Dr. Nearon referred to the biases of the people regarding diversity issues. She touched on the obvious challenges in recruitment and admission processes. Some statistics recorded by different departments of Yale University were presented. She shared her perspective about the ways to minimize the influence of bias in workplaces, schools and universities.
Following the speech, Dr. Michelle Nearon answered various questions raised by the participants. Majority of the questions were about the practical impact of diversity on society and the ways to attain more diverse communities. Dean Nearon urged participants to promote diversity in all environments for the sake of more inclusive society.