Courageous Conversations grew out of the Race and Pedagogy Initiative (now Institute) as a mechanism to involve staff both during and outside of Race and Pedagogy programming. Spearheaded by Sharon Chambers-Gordon, former director of the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships, Courageous Conversations has engaged staff through book clubs, open dialogues, and reflections on current events since 2009. Participation has ranged from a many as 60 to as few as four, and has included individuals with often quite divergent levels of experience, comfort, and facility engaging with important and sensitive topics. Throughout, we have endeavored to facilitate a welcoming space for staff to struggle with questions of inclusion, power, privilege, and diversity. Any member of the Puget Sound community is welcome to participate, though our primary audience is staff members.
Our purpose is to raise awareness of racism in our everyday personal interactions and professional/institutional practices, and our goal is to include all staff in discussions and trainings on equity, diversity, and inclusion so that our campus may embrace change and value all identities. We believe that cultural competency is critical for all staff on campus in order for Puget Sound to fulfill its Diversity Strategic Goals and deliver on its mission and vision.
Sharon's Corner is a designated online space for sharing resources and providing supplemental materials that further our awareness about race. Sharon's Corner honors Sharon Chambers-Gordon, who started the Staff Conversations Program, advocated for staff participation in the Race & Pedagogy National Conferences as participants and presenters, and facilitated Courageous Conversations on campus.
Here are some resources to explore:
Special thanks to Lori Ricigliano for organizing resource materials at Collins Memorial Library!