Plug & Play DEI Programming

AAUW’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plug and Play Programming is a way to help branches create programming and events around the topics included in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit. Each Plug and Play topic includes an explanation of the topic, guidelines for the facilitator(s), and discussion prompts to make the event and conversation as robust as possible.

We strongly encourage all branches to have created their diversity plan using the Diversity Planning and Structure exercise before engaging in the plug and play programs. Having a plan in place first will help ensure that your programming is aimed at helping your branch achieve its equity and inclusion goals. We also recommend watching this video on how to engage the audience in a remote meeting before hosting a virtual plug and play program.

Plug & Play Programs

Understanding the Difference Between Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are concepts that are often used interchangeably but mean quite different things. In this program, we work to ensure that attendees understand the difference and the unique importance of each. Armed with their new knowledge, we hope AAUW members will be empowered to create a space where members can come together and celebrate their differences.

We recommend that branches break up this program into two sessions on separate days. The first session should be used to reinforce the understanding of the terms and the second session for an activity in practice.

  • Part 1: Understanding the difference between DEI (30 minutes — 1 hour, depending on discussion)
  • Part 2: DEI Activity (1 — 1.5 hours, depending on discussion)

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to lead the discussion and so we recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW sections on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (as a baseline)
  2. Read through the Additional Resources for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Choose at least one to use in Part 2 of your event. Reading through each activity will help expand your personal understanding of each key term and better enable you to answer questions from your participants.
  3. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  4. Read the having Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  5. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

Day of the event:

The day of the event you’ll want to ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance and participation.

Materials: Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep his/her notes for later use.

Getting started: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees to write down their personal definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Once attendees have written down their individual definitions, the facilitator will form small groups to compare definitions and create one common definition. The facilitator will ask each group to present their definition to the rest of the attendees. Participants will write their individual definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion then take part in the facilitator-guided small-group exercise. Participants will keep the individual and group definitions to use as reference throughout the session.

Facilitating the Discussion: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

Together the group will review the AAUW-accepted definitions. This review will take place after each group has presented its definitions. The facilitator will ask questions to allow participants to compare and contrast their drafted definitions to the accepted ones. Sample discussion questions include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions drafted by each team?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions drafted by each team?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions drafted by each team?
  • What differences do you see between the definition your team drafted and the AAUW-accepted definition?
  • What similarities do you see between the definition your team drafted and the AAUW-accepted definition?
  • Now having seen all the definitions, do you have any strong feelings or emotions toward one? If so, which one and why?
    Do any of the presented definitions bring to mind a specific connotation? If so, which one and why?

Guided Exploration: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

At this time, the facilitator will bring all participants together for a group discussion. The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants grow as individuals and as a team through shared experiences. The facilitator will then help participants explore other aspects of DEI to include:

Sample discussion questions include:

  • What is your definition of belonging?
  • What is your definition of equality?
  • Why do you think the two words (diversity vs. inclusion; inclusion vs. belonging; equity vs. equality) are grouped together?
  • In your opinion, what distinctions between the two grouped words are they?
  • Why is it important to acknowledge the differences between the grouped words?
  • How can we foster a sense of community through acknowledging the differences in grouped words?

Remember, participants may not agree on the foundational definitions presented. This includes not understanding/acknowledging differences in equity/equality and inclusion/belonging. Other misconceptions may include participants not acknowledging any hidden biases they may have concerning DEI or having limited scope on dimensions which should be included in these conversations. It’s important to talk through these misconceptions so everyone leaves the event with a clear understanding of the terms.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate. 

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of DEI definitions to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.

Understanding Unconscious Bias

We all have seen and/or experienced overt biases, but how often do we recognize unconscious bias? Do we recognize unconscious biases in others? In ourselves? Having unconscious biases does not make us racist, homophobic or discriminatory in other ways. However, we need to be able to recognize them in ourselves so we can work to overcome them. Doing so creates a more inclusive environment. Let’s learn more about unconscious bias.

We recommend that branches conduct this discussion in one session. If branches desire a second session, we recommend choosing a book from the additional resources list to use as a starting point for discussion/exploration.

  • Understanding Unconscious Bias: 1-1.5 hour depending on discussion

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event, we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. We recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW section on unconscious bias as a baseline and review the slide deck from the related webinar.
  2. Read through the additional resources for unconscious bias. Reading through each activity will help expand your personal understanding of each key term and better enable you to answer questions from your participants.
  3. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  4. Read the Getting Started with Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  5. Prior to the event, have participants take at least one test from the Implicit Bias website. Ask participants to bring their results with them to the facilitated session to use as reflection and/or discussion points.
  6. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

Day of the event:

On the day of the event, ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. There will be different considerations depending on if the session is in-person, virtual (Zoom, Teams, etc.) or a hybrid.

Materials:
In-person:
Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes during the discussion. The facilitator should have the materials set up prior to the beginning of the session. The facilitator should also have paper copies of some of the Implicit Bias tests or a method to show a few of the tests using electronic means (laptop and projector, etc.).
Virtual: File/screen sharing capability, audio sharing, video sharing. Facilitator may need to tell participants to have writing utensils and paper ready for any activities. The facilitator should also have a method to show a few of the tests using electronic means (share screen via Zoom).

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for and ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions they may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Getting started: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees if they have brought their results of the implicit bias test(s) taken prior to the facilitated discussion. Participants will keep their individual results to use as reference throughout the session. The facilitator will ask the group to provide definitions for the words “unconscious” and “bias.” The input will be recorded in a place the group can see to use as a discussion topic later in the session. The facilitator will show one of the introduction to unconscious bias videos. The recommended videos are:

Facilitating the Discussion: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

Together the group will review the AAUW-accepted definitions for the words “unconscious” and “bias.” Participants will be asked to compare their definitions to the definition inferred from the chosen video and the AAUW-accepted definition. This review will take place after the chosen video has played and the AAUW definitions are presented. The facilitator will then ask the participants to reflect on the results of their implicit bias test(s). At this time, the facilitator should consider passing out paper versions of one or more of the tests or share their screen/project one of the tests for participants to take if they have not already. The facilitator will ask students to share thoughts about their results. Sample discussion questions include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions presented today?

Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

At this time, the facilitator will bring all participants together for a group discussion. The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants grow as individuals and as a team through shared experiences. The facilitator will then help participants explore unconscious bias, to include:

  • recognizing unconscious bias in themselves.
  • recognizing unconscious bias in others.
  • addressing unconscious bias.

Sample discussion questions include:

  • Were you surprised by the results of your implicit bias test(s)? How so?
  • Reflecting on your results, can you think of a time where an implicit bias may have influenced your interactions and/or actions?
  • Can you think of a time where an implicit bias may have affected how someone interacted with you?
  • How do you think unconscious bias impacts organizations?
  • How can we work to change our own unconscious bias?
  • How can we work to address unconscious bias in organizations?

The facilitator may want to include the group’s previously-agreed upon definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion to use in this discussion. Specifically, the facilitator can tie unconscious bias to inclusion definitions and inclusion/equity efforts. It is suggested the facilitator use another video to provide ideas for addressing unconscious bias. Suggested videos include:

The facilitator will then gather ideas from the group on how addressing unconscious bias can help their branch meet diversity and equity goals as identified in their community agreement.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of unconscious bias to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.

Creating Inclusive Spaces

Diversity is only the beginning, and it isn’t enough. To create truly diverse spaces, those spaces also need to be inclusive, where all parties feel welcomed, appreciated, respected and heard — and have full access to all resources and can contribute to AAUW’s success.

As diversity advocate Verna Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” If you don’t have both, neither works.

Program Objectives:

  1. Introduce the concepts of inclusion and the relationship to diversity and belonging.
  2. Reflect on the branch current inclusion activities.
  3. Create/update a plan to increase inclusion and sense by members of belonging within the branch.

Program Plan:

We recommend that branches conduct this program in one meeting which will last between 1 and 1.5 hours depending on the discussion and prior work your branch has completed. If your branch desires a second meeting, we recommend choosing a book from the Additional Resources list to use as a starting point for discussion/exploration.

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event, we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to facilitate the discussion. We recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW DEI Toolkit sections on Inclusion and review the slides from the Creating Inclusive Spaces webinar.
  2. Read through the Additional Resources for Inclusion. Reading through each activity will help expand your personal understanding of each key term and better enable you to answer questions from your participants.
  3. Read the AAUW DEI Toolkit section on Understanding Organization Inclusiveness.
  4. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  5. Read the Getting Started With Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW DEI Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  6. Read To Build An Inclusive Culture, Start With Inclusive Meetings to prepare for your meeting.
  7. Check to make sure you have all the supplies you will need for a successful meeting, including any you will need for activities and discussion.
  8. If your meeting is being held via video conference, make sure you are familiar with all of the functions you will be using. Read How To Engage An Audience in a Remote Meeting for tips on how to run your meeting.
  9. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

 

Day of the event:

The day of the event you’ll want to ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance participation.

Materials: Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session.  Should your meeting be held via video conference, be sure you have tested how you are going to include interactive sessions and administration including potential breakout rooms and sharing your screen.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive needs that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities. Should you have a video conference meeting, be sure you are prepared for participant participation, breakout groups and screen sharing.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she/they may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Objective 1 – Understanding inclusion and the relationship to diversity and belonging

The goal of this portion of the program is to create a common understanding of the terms: diversity, inclusion and belonging, and to understand the relationship between these terms.

Getting started: (15 – 20 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will either remind the attendees about the definition of diversity from prior other branch experiences or will post the definition from the AAUW DEI Toolkit.

The facilitator will either display the AAUW DEI Toolkit definition for inclusion or post the branch’s previously agreed upon definition of inclusion.

The facilitator will request a volunteer to read the discussion of Diversity vs. Inclusion and Inclusion vs. Belonging found in the AAUW DEI Toolkit. If appropriate the facilitator may want to ask participants to revisit their prior discussion of these concepts.

The facilitator will post Arthur Chan’s concept and ask for any discussion of this concept:

  • Diversity Is a Fact
  • Inclusion is an Action
  • Belonging is an Outcome

The facilitator may show one or more of the following videos:

Breakout discussion: (10 minutes participant lead)

The facilitator will break attendees into groups of 3-5 individuals and ask breakout groups to discuss the definition of inclusion and the concepts introduced regarding diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Facilitating the Discussion To Develop A Group Understanding and Agreed Upon Definitions: (10 – 25 minutes depending on divergence of definitions; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will bring the group together again and ask each group to report out what they discussed and learned. This information will be documented by the facilitator so that all can see it. After the report out, the facilitator will ask the group to create an agreed upon definitions for the words:

  • “inclusion”
  • “belonging”

NOTE:  The participants may have already had this conversation in a prior meeting; however, additional insights may have emerged.

Sample questions to further the discussion include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions presented today?

The facilitator will post the agreed-upon definitions of “inclusion” and “belonging” in a way that all can see it.

The facilitator may want to insert a 5-minute break.

Objective 2 – Reflection on Branch Current Inclusion Activities

Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants understand their branch culture and how it can become more inclusive. The output may include:

  • A list of the great things their organization is doing around inclusion.
  • New ideas to become a more inclusive organization.

The facilitator may introduce or if previously introduced, then remind participants of the Organizational Inclusiveness States Chart. If previously discussed, the facilitator will remind participants of the decisions made by the group, and ask if any modifications to the categorization need to take place.

Otherwise, if new to the participants the Organizational Inclusiveness States Chart will be handed out or displayed so all can refer to it. Additional questions to start the conversation may include:

  • What inclusive behaviors are you proud of your branch?
  • Are there other things that you can do within your branch to be more inclusive?
  • Can you think of a time where a potential member did not join as a result of lack of feeling comfortable or included in your branch?
  • How can we individually work to change to personally become more inclusive?
  • How can the branch work to address inclusion in our organization?

The facilitator will ask the participants where they believe their group falls within the organizational inclusiveness states. There may be differences of opinion, and this is okay. The discussion is the important activity.

Objective 3 – Creating a Plan to Increase Inclusion and Sense of Belonging by the Branch Members (20 minutes, facilitator guided)

The goal of this portion of the program is to create or validate the previously agreed upon plan to increase inclusiveness and a sense of belonging in the branch.

If a plan is being created, the facilitator will document ideas that arise from the group on how addressing inclusion can help their branch become more inclusive and encourage a feeling of belonging.

  • The facilitator may then ask participants place a check mark beside the 3-5 changes that they would like to see the group make to become more inclusive.
  • At the end of this activity, a readout of the highest vote getting ideas could be discussed for implementation.
  • The facilitator may wish to verify that the ideas have been agreed upon as an action plan and next steps are determined.

If the plan has previously been agreed upon, the facilitator will ask the participants to assess progress made on the plan.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

Application and Extension:

If an agreed action plan is developed during this meeting these will be communicated to the entire branch.