Diversity Education Services


picture of people from different countries

The Affirmative Action Office offers a number of workshops and training sessions for faculty and staff across the Penn State system.  Below you can find a list of programs currently being offered on campus along with a list of sessions available for individual unit presentation.  If you are interested in requesting a program specifically for your department, unit, or campus, please complete the Professional Development Request Form (MS Word or PDF - the forms should be send to Charleon Jeffries at, or on-line:

On-line Professional Development Request Form

Programs individually designed or tailored for specific units are also available upon request.


All-In: A Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

Description: In the Fall of 2016 the University kicked off it's All In initiative the aims to bring together faculty, staff, and students to recognize and celebrate Penn State's commitment to diversity and inclusion while pushing ourselves, individually and collectively towards inclusive excellence. This workshop will feature a brief video capturing the narrative experiences of several Penn State students followed by a facilitated dialogue aimed at examining how these experiences intersect with our own experiences and roles at the institution.


  • What does it take to build a close friendship with someone who is different from you?
  • When is it your responsibility to help others to feel welcome on campus?
  • What is your personal role in creating a more inclusive campus?
  • What does it take to put yourself in situations where you feel you don't belong in order to meet new people?
  • How should you respond when you learn that a colleague feels unwelcome or unsafe on our campus?

Beyond Binaries: Expanding our Understanding of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Description: What is the difference between biological sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation? This program provides an introduction to concepts of identity and intersectionality specifically around issues of gender and gender identity in an effort to clarify the difference between two often misunderstood concepts: gender identity and sexual orientation.


  • Learn the meaning of gender identity and how it different from sexual orientation
  • Identify the various ways that gender identity and sexual orientation are expressed
  • Recognize the issues that transgender individuals contend with in employment and academic setting as well

Developing Intercultural Competency Part One: Awareness

Description: This program is designed to address the realities of living and working in an increasingly global society where understanding other cultures is often an essential component of organizational success. Participants are encouraged to explore their feelings and perceptions about non-U.S. cultures in an effort to develop effective strategies to promote intercultural awareness and acceptance. This session is the first in a series on developing intercultural competence and focusses on awareness of personal cultural lenses.


  • Understand who we are, individually, as a cultural being
  • Develop awareness around personal cultural identities
  • Discover strategies for engaging in conversations around cultural differences
  • Learn how our similarities and our differences strengthen the work unit

Part Two: Knowledge


  • Gather information about other cultures.
  • Examine issues associated with acclimating to life in the United States.
  • Develop strategies to work more effectively with those whose cultures are different from their own.

Dimensions of Diversity

Description: This program is designed to introduce the concepts of diversity at the individual, group, and organizational level. The purpose of the program is to increase general awareness about the definition of diversity, fundamental diversity principles, and Penn State's support and efforts in diversity.


  • Identify the various dimensions and components of diversity and explore how these intersect uniquely for each individual.
  • Discern individual and systemic barriers to diversity and consider strategies to redress such problems.
  • Incorporate diversity and inclusion as a value added benefit to the workplace.

Doing Difficult Dialogues

Description: Applying concepts of Intercultural Competency participants will use skills and insight from Awareness and Knowledge domains to engage in challenging dialogs around real-life current issues that are relevant to inclusive excellence, and are also specific to higher education. As headlines and current events explore campus climate issues, understanding how to navigate conversations in personal and professional settings can be crucial. Participants will have the opportunity to understand that having difficult conversations is not only possible, but can often be quite productive.


  • Build on experiences from Intercultural Competency I and II, concepts of Emotional Intelligence, and other relevant theories to develop greater effectiveness engaging in difficult dialogue.
  • Learn what styles and approaches might best fit various stakeholder or service groups.
  • Practice engaging in dialogues about current diversity and inclusion related topics.

Equity vs. Equality: Why the Difference Matters

Description: Equality vs Equity; Access vs. Outcome: What are the differences and where does our responsibility lie? Through an experiential exercise, participants will have the opportunity to explore the impact of personal and group dynamics on diversity and inclusion while examining the differences between equality and equity and how those differences impact our perceptions, opportunities, and outcomes.


  • Understand the difference between equality and equity
  • Consider the impact of such differences
  • Discuss and plan methods to address inequity

Hiring for Diversity and Inclusion

Description: The business case for diversity highlights the bottom-line benefits to having a diverse workforce. From increased opportunity for innovation to more efficient workplace practices, there are countless advantages inherent in embracing and appreciating the diversity within our workspaces. This training will provide an overview of the recruitment process and opportunities for intentional intersection and alignment with strategic diversity and inclusion (D and I) goals to help us reach more a diverse and inclusive workforce.


  • Understand the intersections and alignment of strategic diversity and inclusion efforts and the recruitment and hiring process
  • Examine the various stages of decision making in the recruitment phase and how those decisions can be more inclusive
  • Discover how and when unconscious bias is likely to occur, how it may influence the process, and how to help mitigate its affects

Leading Diversity Strategic Change for your Organization

Description: As a manager, supervisor, or senior administrator, how effectively are you managing your diversity goals and resources? Participants in this session will be challenged to explore where diversity and inclusion are adornments or driving strategic partners in larger organizational goals.


  • Help participants situate both the need to address D&I efforts while determining where responsibility lies within the organization or unit to accomplish such goals
  • Challenge standard operating norms for creating, achieving, and sustaining inclusive practices
  • Create framework of practices, partners, and resources necessary to move diversity strategic planning forward.

The Power of Allyship

Description: Creating a more welcoming and inclusive campus and doing other work around diversity initiatives takes the commitment of the entire community. Yet, you do not have to be a member of an underrepresented or marginalized community to be an ally for that community. This session is designed to provide insight into the various ways we can be an ally for others, and why it is important, when we have the benefit of privilege, to use it effectively.


  • Understand what it means to be an ally.
  • Learn how to leverage your privilege to be a more effective advocate.
  • Gain skills that help foster an environment characterized by inclusive excellence.
  • Practice skills necessary when engaged in allied or advocacy positions.
  • Develop useful language when

Sexual Harassment: Awareness and Prevention

Description: This program provides basic guidelines for understanding and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Information regarding the legal basis for sexual harassment as well as Penn Stateís policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment and other related behaviors (Title IX) will be discussed. Case studies will be included for participants to assess, discuss, and identify resolutions for potential sexual harassment situations in higher education.


  • Recognize sexual harassment behaviors
  • Identify appropriate responses to sexual harassment behavior
  • Know the university policy (AD 85) for sexual harassment and other related behaviors (Title IX)
  • Learn how to report sexual harassment and other Title IX related behaviors

SpeakUP: Advocating for Self and Others

Description: Have you ever noticed or experienced a situation and wanted to say something about it? Often times, for a number of different reasons, we might not say what it is we really want to get across. Whether it's preferring to maintain harmony, dynamics of power or respect, or even fear of retaliation, silence is still a form of communication. Learning how, when, and why we need to speak up matters, not only for our individual selves, but for others as well.


  • Learn the difference between speaking up vs. speaking out
  • Consider personal comfort level and styles of engaging in difficult conversation
  • Discover tactics and language to help facilitate difficult dialogues
  • Practice strategies for advocating for self and others

Subtle Slights: Understanding the Impact of Unconscious Bias and Microaggressions

Description: How do we handle the unspoken, often unrecognized "little things" that foster sentiments and attitudes of inequity and incivility? Microaggressions speak to the attitudes, dispositions, and comments that many times lead to the devaluing of members of a community. This session will focus on recognizing, validating, and ultimately managing the display and impact of microaggressions.


  • Consider and understand the impact of personal perceptions and individual lenses.
  • Define and identify types of microaggressions.
  • Develop strategies and resources to remedy instances of potential or perceived incivility.

StarPower: The Intersections of Power, Privilege, and Leadership

Description: StarPower is a simulation exercise that engages participants through competition and collaboration. Diversity training takes on a new feel with this fun game. Participants will compete over the course of three rounds to achieve the best possible individual score that they can while still working as a member of a team. The simulation aims to allow participants to examine how their own personal styles impact interpersonal and group dynamics and what happens as they work to advance both their own scores and their groupís as well. StarPower examines a number of different dynamics that impact workplace civility, equity, and inclusion while giving participants a chance to have fun and compete in casual atmosphere.


  • Examine how personal interests impact group dynamics
  • Explore factors that motivate or challenge individuals and groups
  • Apply concepts demonstrated during the simulation to real-life workplace interactions

Wisdom of the Ages: Applying Generational Concepts at Work

Description: Four generations of people currently exist in today's workplace, and we are quickly approaching the time when there will be five. This session highlights and illuminates the benefits and challenges that exist when people of various ages work together. The goal of this program is to inform participants about the five generational types and the characteristics of each. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their challenges for interacting with the different generations and consider how awareness for their differing generational perspectives can help them communicate more effectively.


  • Identify the different generations
  • Explore and understand common characteristics of the generations currently comprising the workforce
  • Recognize the impacts of generational influences on attitudes, values, and behaviors
  • Develop more effective strategies for working with people of various ages

Workplace Civility: Promoting a Climate and Culture of Respect and Inclusion

Description: This program is designed to address the many ways in which workplace climates either promote organizational success or contribute to decreases in both morale and productivity. Participants will be expected to individually assess how their own actions and attitudes impact this process, while working with others to develop strategies aimed at improving the workplace climate in general.


  • Discover the necessary components to fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and productive workplace climate
  • Recognize how specific behaviors serve as barriers to organizational goals.
  • Identify specific warning signs that signal the need for organizational change
  • Assess workplace values as an indicator of the current organizational climate
The Diversity Education Services provides assistance to managers, supervisors and faculty on diversity related issues, needs assessments, information and consultation for diversity teams, and diversity resources. The Diversity Education Services also sponsors a new minority employee reception at the beginning of the year. This provides new employees an opportunity to get to know and network with key administrators, deans, faculty and other employees. The Diversity Education Services also offer on-going support/mentoring services to assist employees understand and succeed in the University’s organizational culture.

Affirmative Action Office

Affirmative Action Office
328 Boucke, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0471
Fax: (814) 863-7799

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Web page last modified September 18, 2017