The ASPIRE Racial Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series continued in November with a workshop led by Domonique Noel, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. Domonique’s presentation on Colorism and Career Mobility in Higher Education explored how colorism and bias impacts both the treatment of students of color as well as impacts career mobility for professors of color and offered strategies for addressing colorism in higher education.
Domonique’s workshop was inviting, centered empathy, and prioritized actionable and attainable steps that participants could take to create a more inclusive, equitable, and just community at their institutions and organizations. The workshop then coached participants on how they can build knowledge, engage in reflection, and ultimately move to action to create more equitable environments. The workshop also demonstrated how to use critical check-ins that could be used in classrooms, or other group environments, to identify and address individual concerns or obstacles that might be limiting a student or participant’s ability to engage and be fully present in a conversation.
The workshop emphasized that having conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion can foster a spirit of curiosity and collaboration within a community and encourage compassion and critical thinking. Participants were then asked to reflect on their identities and experiences as well as their proximity to the identities and experiences of others. Through mapping proximal relationships to various experiences and identifiers, participants were able to reflect and walk away from the presentation with an awareness of their own blind spots that would inform their decision- making responsibilities in their classrooms and at their institutions. One participant shared that “this session was phenomenal…the scenarios that we had to work through were so illuminating and so helpful.”
Domonique Noel is a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultant, speaker and writer for organizations, communities and professionals. Domonique’s passion is helping people improve their teams and workplace environments by equipping them with the strategies needed to identify and serve the needs of vulnerable and underserved patients and clients. Domonique has her bachelor’s degree in public health, a Certificate in Health Disparities, a Master of Health Administration degree and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Domonique has nearly 10 years of experience in LGBTQ health equity research, creating and facilitating DEI cultural competency training programs, advocacy work and program management. She also is a member of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
Domonique educates individuals, communities, organizations, and professionals on strategies for establishing LGBTQ-affirming healthcare, workplace and school environments, including LGBTQ terminology, addressing and preventing discrimination, allyship and the intersection of race, gender and sexuality. I am passionate about spreading awareness on quality-of-life indicators among vulnerable populations, including money and wealth disparities, access to employment, period poverty/ menstrual equity, housing and education. Learn more about Domonique’s work here!
The creation of the Accelerating Student Progress and Increasing Racial Equity (ASPIRE) project was in response to the Developmental Education Reform Act (DERA) which aims to address inequities in college completion among students of color and first-generation students. Passed in March 2021, the act requires public colleges in Illinois to reform their developmental education (dev ed) programs — the introductory math and English classes students may need to improve their skills, before they can take a college-level math or English class — so that students can enter a credit-bearing, college-level math or English course by their second semester.
To read our refresher on the ASPIRE Project, click here.