We all want a welcoming environment at work, but sometimes our lived and learned experiences get in the way.

Beginning Oct. 2, the Inclusive Monarch professional learning opportunity will give Old Dominion University faculty and staff the chance to gain additional skills in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Participation is free of charge and open to current ODU personnel.

The Inclusive Monarch program will include three levels, with Level 1 being a foundational online training in communication for inclusion. Level 1 topics encompass:

  • Engagement
  • Unconscious bias
  • Reactions to difference
  • The impact of stereotypes and myths
  • Ways to become an ally

In the spring, Inclusive Monarch participants will begin Level 2 of the program, where they will apply concepts learned from the online training modules in a face-to-face setting.

For each level completed, participants will receive a digital badge they can display in their email signature.

Veleka Gatling, ODU’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusive excellence, hopes the University community will see the importance of learning technical and practical skills that promote diversity, even if it may be “a little out of their comfort zone.”

“Some managers have already said, ‘I think this is something that our team needs to take together,’” Gatling said.

ODU Global DEI Manager Mitsue Shiokawa has already expressed her excitement about the program. Her unit, the Division of Digital Learning, employs more than 140 people.  

“We’re very excited,” Shiokawa said. “I'm determined for the Division of Digital Learning to be first and foremost and have the most people go through the program and earn the badge, because it's going to create a more equitable and inclusive workforce within our division.

“As a unit that serves the community and students from all around the world, it's just so important that we continue to utilize online education as a way to transcend barriers. And the people behind it really need to be open-minded, inclusive, diverse people.”

Shiokawa serves on the Monarch Task Force for Inclusive Excellence, which Gatling co-chairs. The task force conceived this professional learning opportunity to improve climate and intergroup relations as outlined in the Monarch Plan for Inclusive Excellence 2021-2025, as well as increase satisfaction in the yearly climate survey, Gatling said.   

Through opportunities like this, Gatling wants to build a campus that is committed to inclusiveness.

“I'm hopeful that people will see the value added in this type of new learning,” she said, “and that it will help our community figure out together how to see that diversity is more than what we look like and what we sound like, but is encompassed in every fiber of the work that we do.”

To participate in Level 1 of the Inclusive Monarch program, please follow the below steps:

  1. Visit the program landing page: Listen, Learn, Lead
  2. Select Vector Solutions Online Training and log in with your MIDAS credentials.
  3. Select View Library
  4. Select the Policy tab and pick one of these tracks:
  • Inclusive Excellence Bundle for AP Faculty and Classified Staff
  • Inclusive Excellence for Instructional Faculty
  1. Once you complete the modules within your track, you may access additional modules in the Learning Library.

The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity will send announcements in the spring about registration for Level 2 of the Inclusive Monarch program.

For additional questions about the Inclusive Monarch Professional Learning contact, John Wiley at jewiley@odu.eduor (757) 683-3141 in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.