The University of Indianapolis hosted the Inaugural Chief Diversity Officers Symposium on Sept. 11-13, a national three-day workshop to help chief diversity officers from higher education institutions across the country improve their skills. This specific event focused on finance, budgeting and strategic diversity fundraising.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Sean Huddleston said it is important for diversity officers to continue their education on diversity matters. He said that education like this has become an increasingly important addition to the resume of a chief diversity officer.”
“It is becoming more and more required that many institutional leaders find ways to contribute to the development of fundraising strategies of the institution,” Huddleston said. “So this one was specifically designed to help build that skill set for the chief diversity officers.”
About 25 different chief diversity officers came to UIndy to learn these specific skill sets. The event was organized by CoopLew, who selected UIndy as a host location. CoopLew is a group made up of national diversity researchers, former chief diversity officers as well as experts that develop ways to transform current officers. Co-founder of CoopLew William Lewis was able to attend the event and said he believed it was a huge success. Huddleston also said he was pleased by the amount of interest they had in this first event held at UIndy.
“We really did not know what to expect,” Huddleston said. “We were very pleased that the level of interest was there to attend the symposium but also to come to UIndy as a place to have a conversation.”
Lewis said that the company takes the needs of the officers into consideration when planning events for the symposium.
He said they collect information about topics the officers would like to learn about during the conference and create the sessions based on their needs.
“We surveyed 262 chief diversity officers in the United States and from here, the data pointed us to the fact that there needed to be some ongoing training development for chief diversity officers in the states,” Lewis said.
The panel was made up of many people who had different expertise in fundraising and finance in higher education. Huddleston said that his role was to connect the fundraising and finance with the diversity inclusion work that is happening around campuses. Others members of the panel came from all across the nation.
With this being the first event hosted at UIndy, CoopLew is already partnering up with the university for a second time to host a boot camp for new chief diversity officers in February. Huddleston said that this event will help new chief diversity officers with introductory skills.
“CoopLew is greatly appreciative for the University of Indianapolis being the host and we had a great time there in Indianapolis and are looking forward to coming back for the bootcamp in February,” Lewis said.