Texas A&M Office for Diversity: Enhancing Diversity Seminar Series

The 2021 Enhancing Diversity Seminar Series is designed to engage the campus community in dialogue around topics and issues related to diversity, campus climate, equity, and inclusion. In a virtual format, the Office for Diversity has invited Texas A&M students, faculty, and staff to present their research to the campus community. A list of past Enhancing Diversity Seminars is available here.

Because of the range of experience, motivation, and knowledge in the campus community, the Office for Diversity offers sessions for participants with a variety of skill levels and knowledge about diversity. To help participants find presentations that match their interests and facilitate their personal and professional development, presenters have indicated experience and knowledge level(s) for their sessions:

  1. Novice – Limited or no experience, training, and/or personal reflection discussing racism, privilege, and other social justice issues and identifying personal biases, prejudices, and identity.
  2. Intermediate – Some to moderate experience, training, and/or personal reflection identifying and recognizing personal bias and prejudices, how power and authority are distributed within organizational systems, and forms of privilege, oppression, and discrimination.
  3. Advanced – Substantial experience, training, and/or personal reflection resulting in a willingness to engage in respectful discussions and discourse about power, privilege, oppression, and discrimination; the ability to function effectively in a multicultural society; the ability to understand conflict from multiple viewpoints; and the willingness to explore personal bias and prejudices.

Presentations are structured to encourage participants to engage in self-reflection and interact with peers and the presenter(s). Please check with your supervisor to determine whether any presentations count towards your specific training and professional development requirements.

Fall 2021 Seminars

Sept. 28, 2021 (2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central Time)
Building Today’s Leaders — Student Employment as a High Impact Practice in the Office for Diversity Learning Community

Presenters: Redeem Francis, Darby Salge, Lawren Walker, and Anthony Ramirez
Office for Diversity Learning Community, Texas A&M University

Abstract: The Office for Diversity at Texas A&M University implemented the Office for Diversity Learning Community (ODLC) in Fall of 2018. The ODLC, composed of undergraduate and graduate student assistants, has been modeled as a high-impact practice to engage student workers and help them build skills that are beneficial in both their academic and professional endeavors. Through student learning outcomes addressing communication skills, cultural literacy, and social justice, the ODLC encourages innovative student research and engagement. Based on their academic and professional interests, students have their own projects and assigned tasks. Broad areas of individual student expertise include: creating social media content; managing finances; leading meetings; facilitating discussions; and writing for personal, professional, and academic purposes. During this presentation, the presenters will discuss the impact the ODLC has on the Office for Diversity and on each of them individually. This session should particularly benefit on campus student employees, their supervisors, and administrators.

Level: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced – All students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to attend!

Registration: Texas A&M employees (students, faculty, and staff) are encouraged to register using Train Traq so that seminar is included on their training transcript. Community members and people who do not work for Texas A&M are welcome to register using this linkRegistration ends Sept. 24, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (Central Time).

Oct. 21, 2021 (12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central Time)
Transitioning Bodies, Transformative Stories — Transgender Autobiographical Narratives in the United States

Presenter: Dr. Jesse O’Rear, Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Performance Studies
Texas A&M University

Abstract: The relationship between transgender communities and autobiographical stories is historically and contemporarily complicated. Autobiographical narratives are demanded of trans people by the medical industry, the justice system, and the media, often perpetuating the expectation that trans people will offer intimate details of their personal lives at any time to a curious cisgender audience. On the other hand, many trans people have relied on each other’s autobiographical stories via diaries and oral histories to learn how to navigate these same harmful systems, as well as find camaraderie, solidarity, and solace among one another. To this end, Dr. O’Rear’s research examines autobiographical narratives presented by trans-identifying artists in their work and reflects on the existence of and possibilities for sharing trans autobiographical narratives through live performance. While this project recognizes that visibility and representation are not answers to discrimination, violence, and poverty (and, in fact, often open doors to increased harassment), Dr. O’ Rear hopes to encourage space for present and future works of performance which allow trans artists to bring their stories to the stage in ways that are beneficial to the artists and their communities.

Level: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced – All students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to attend!
Registration: Texas A&M employees (students, faculty, and staff) are encouraged to register using Train Traq so that seminar is included on their training transcript. Community members and people who do not work for Texas A&M are welcome to register using this linkRegistration Ends: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (Central Time)

Nov. 18, 2021 (12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central Time)
Undocufriendly “does not equal” Undocuserving — Undocumented College Students’ Perceptions of Institutional Support

Presenter: Dr. Cinthya Salazar, Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development
Texas A&M University

Abstract: Undocufriendly colleges and universities are those with a reputation of being welcoming to undocumented students and offering a more inclusive campus climate via their institutional policies, services, and practices. These campuses are perceived to positively influence undocumented students’ college choice and their experiences once they enroll in higher education. Most undocufriendly institutions are located in states with tuition equity policies, which allow undocumented students to pay in-state resident tuition. Theoretically, the combination of tuition equity policies and inclusive institutional practices should offer undocumented students an undocufriendly campus environment that promotes their college success. In this presentation, I will discuss the findings of a qualitative study that examined the extent to which an undocufriendly campus setting was actually fostering undocumented students’ success and meeting their needs. Through a participatory action research methodology, I investigated undocumented students’ perceptions of institutional support at the public research university in Virginia that was largely perceived to be the most undocufriendly campus within the Commonwealth.

Level: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced – All students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to attend!

Registration: Texas A&M employees (students, faculty, and staff) are encouraged to register using Train Traq so that seminar is included on their training transcript. Community members and people who do not work for Texas A&M are welcome to register using this linkRegistration Ends: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (Central Time).

AAVMC Diversity Community Reads

The latest Community Reads has launched. We will be reading “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum.

This book explores racial identity, racial socialization, and how these concepts shape our approaches to understanding discrimination and marginalization. In reading this book, I hope we will explore how upbringing shapes our perspectives around racial identity, how our perceptions of diversity challenges within veterinary medicine are shaped by these identities, and how social colorblindness serves to maintain the status quo.

This Community Read will take place on AAVMC’s new Learning Management System, AAVMC Learn. Asynchronous discussions will be hosted on the LMS, along with Zoom discussions in September and October. Please share with your communities and be sure to register and join us.

Register for your account on AAVMC Learn and for #AAVMC Reads.

First Generation Aggies Podcast

Many students reflect on their time in college with tips and advice they wish they had known as a freshman. In this episode, we hope to offer up some of these tips to share with you now to make your remaining years in college a breeze. This week welcomes a special guest, podcast outreach coordinator Alex Zavala, to offer her take and personal college experiences. Join Abel and Alex in Episode 9 to hear five tips from college students themselves on ways to make your college experience more successful.

AAVMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Glossary

As we work together to create more diverse and inclusive environments in academic veterinary medicine, it is important that we share a common understanding and lexicon regarding the many different aspects of this overarching initiative. This glossary of terms and definitions that are commonly used in programs and discussions associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion was created to help us all be successful. We recognize that such language is constantly evolving, and we are committed to updating this document annually.

QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Training

Could/would you recognize if someone was showing the warnings signs of a potential suicide victim? Would you know what to do to help them? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, you are not alone. To register for an OPEN training please complete the registration below. Please note that if minimum enrollment numbers are not met, you will be alerted that the training has been cancelled and it will be rescheduled. All gatekeeper trainings will be held remotely via Zoom.

QPR Gatekeeper Training (2-hour training for students, faculty and/or staff)

  • Monday, Sept. 13 from 12:00-2:00 p.m., Talk Saves Lives presented by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Faculty/Staff only)
  • Wednesday, Sept. 15 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (Students only)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 10:00-12:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Campus Connect Student Gatekeeper Training (2.5-hour training specifically for students)

  • Wednesday, Sept. 29 from 10:00-12:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 11:00-1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 11:00-1:00 p.m.

Gatekeeper 2.0 (2 hour refresher course for students, faculty and/or staff who have previously completed a QPR or Campus Connect Gatekeeper training)

  • Monday, Oct. 11 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.


Kognito At-Risk Training

According to the American Association of Suicidology, 86% of college students who died by suicide did not seek campus counseling prior to their death. Given this statistic, it is necessary for members of the campus community to learn to recognize and support students who are in distress.

Kognito At-Risk is a 45-minute, online, interactive gatekeeper intervention training program that teaches students, faculty, and staff how to identify individuals exhibiting signs of psychological distress, including depression; approach individuals to discuss their concerns; and make referrals to Texas A&M Counseling and Psychological Services and other community resources. There are two versions you can use: At-Risk Peer Training & At-Risk for Faculty & Staff.


Not Another Aggie

Not Another Aggie – The Texas A&M Suicide Awareness & Prevention Office (SAPO) has continued to recognize the need for our campus to raise awareness of suicide prevention resources, reduce stigma of suicide, and increase interpersonal connections through awareness programs. This year will again include a kickoff event to suicide awareness month and a four-week walk challenge courtesy of a partnership with AgriLife Extension’s Walk Through Texas History program. In addition, SAPO will be hosting several events and programs throughout the month of September. 


Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.

Labor Day

Labor Day 2021 occurred on Monday, Sept. 6. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah 2021 began on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 and ended on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the festival begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which falls during September or October. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. The challah (traditional bread) that is eaten for the Rosh Hashanah season is round, symbolizing the eternal cycle of life.