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Inclusive Relationship Initiative and Workshops





Defining Inclusive Relationships and Core Concepts


What is an Inclusive Relationship?

Founded in learning, compassion, and collaboration with communication as the skill that ties all together


  • Learning: being vulnerable and able to admit not knowing, being open to finding out more or something new
    • Compassion: offering help and knowledge through empathy
    • Collaboration: foregrounding dialogue to dream, build, implement, and assess ideas and projects


  • Recognizes Difference
    • Acknowledges dissimilarities between and among people
    • Allows other people to define their “difference” (flip the script from “eye of the beholder” to “eye of the beholden”


  • Sees Difference as creative potential
    • existing in the undefined space of not knowing what may happen
    • full of potential


  • Recognizes how power and privilege function in infrastructures and relationships
    • Makes power and privilege visible
    • Invites structures and people with power and privilege to participate


  • Exists across boundaries (e.g., race, ethnicity, class, organizational hierarchies, gender)


  • Requires ongoing learning and skill development because it is a continuous process


  • Creates opportunities to remake institutional and structural frameworks that exclude


Click HERE for our Workshop Menu!

Why Inclusive Relationships Are Necessary

Why Inclusive Relationships Now?

-National (indeed, perhaps international) trends of a “calling-out” rather than “calling-in” culture

-Reports of academic departments becoming less collegial, nationally and through Lehigh Climate Survey data

-Research and leaders purporting men and women hesitate being in meetings with persons of the opposite sex

-Tweets, trolling, and online bursts of hate and anger rather than conversation

-Increase in recruitment and retention of folks that are not part of the “Mythical Norm” (Lorde describes this space as White, straight, Christian, upper-class man)

Why do Inclusive Relationships benefit staff?

-Methods for creating an inclusive and collaborative workplace and department

-Creating skills for being with others whose views may be in direct opposition to one’s own

-Skills for supervisors to hear and inspire supervisees

-Skills for supervisees to make needs clear to and gain insights from supervisors

-Techniques for working with colleagues who are in academic affairs

-Techniques for working with colleagues of different ages, regions, and skills sets

-Techniques for working with constituents who are not part of higher education

Why do Inclusive Relationships benefit faculty?

-Methods for creating a Department that fosters collaborative research, teaching, and service

-Methods for creating a Department and College ready to take risks on understanding the creative power in implementing different evaluative criteria for tenure and promotion

-Skills to become collaborative colleagues with Staff

-Skills for being with others whose views may be in direct opposition to one’s own

-Skills for sharing knowledge to people and agencies outside of the Department and academic community

-Skills for building an inclusive classroom

Why do Inclusive Relationships benefit students?

-Learning to meet, live and work with, and develop long term relationships with people vastly different from or new to them (e. g. coming from different nations, areas within a nation, different race or sexual identity)

-Creating skills for being with others whose views may be in direct opposition to one’s own

-Developing skills for communicating with professors and administrators

-Practicing skills for developing non-hierarchical friendships and or romantic relationships