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Empowering Change Agents: The Equity Institute Workshops at the University of Denver

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Center for Professional Development

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In today's increasingly diverse and interconnected world, fostering equity and inclusion is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity for businesses and nonprofits alike. Recognizing this need, Equity Labs at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) has been at the forefront of providing active and practice-oriented workshops focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ). These workshops, designed for teams of business and nonprofit change agents, have been instrumental in driving operational change related to DEIJ across various domains. 

Recognizing the need to expand access to this valuable curriculum, the Equity Labs team, led by Chenthu Jayton, Executive Director, alongside Ashley Hill, Assistant Director, and Kenna Andreas, Marketing Manager, embarked on a collaborative journey with the University of Denver's Center for Professional Development (CPD). Their goal was to offer their existing training in a workshop format over six weeks, making it financially accessible to a wider range of professionals, especially those in helping professions and within the DU community itself. 

The first Equity Institute launched in September 2023. The inaugural cohort of 15 students included DU employees and community members. The workshops were facilitated by a team of experienced DEIJ practitioners and educators spanning a variety of disciplines. Over six weeks, participants studied research-backed content spanning four thematic categories: intrapersonal, interpersonal, epistemic, and institutional. Through a combination of pre-work, reading assignments, reflections, and live sessions, they explored critical reflexivity, DEIJ literacy, empathetic learning, generative conflict, and more, culminating in a final project that tasked them with writing an Equity Ethos.  

The success of the first Equity Institute paved the way for further iterations; the next institute begins on April 11.  

Who should consider enrolling in these workshops? Professionals at all levels – from corporate executives to human service workers–who are committed to deepening their understanding of DEIJ principles and applying them in their work environments. Whether you are in the corporate, nonprofit, government, or education sector, these workshops offer a platform for critical thinking and actionable insights into operationalizing equity and inclusion. 

At its core, the Equity Institute represents a commitment to transformative learning and tangible change. By empowering change agents with the knowledge and skills to advance equity and inclusion, communities at the University of Denver are fostering a more just and equitable society, one workshop at a time. 

If you are ready to embark on this journey of personal and professional growth, visit the Equity Institute: Workshops for DEIJ website for more information or to register for the upcoming offering. Join us in building a more equitable future for all.