Job Feature: DEI Communications Manager

As the University continues its work related to diversity, equity and inclusion, MSU’s Media and Public Information department is currently seeking a DEI Communications Manager (#669421) for University Communications. This position will serve as the lead communications professional for the unit and will be responsible for developing and executing strategies to communicate MSU’s broad commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as among the institution’s highest priorities.

The Communications Manager will additionally be responsible for assisting University Communications and other university units to facilitate appropriate messaging throughout MSU’s communications infrastructure to communicate key diversity and inclusion themes. The Communications Manager will also perform media relations functions including monitoring coverage on key initiatives and issues, assisting with issues management and media responses, coordinating and implementing media events and developing and writing news releases.

Preferred education, experience, and/or skills include knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in journalism, communications, public relations, English, or a related field; three to five years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in communications, public relations, or a related field in higher education, an agency environment, or a large, complex organization; equivalent combination of education and experience.

Ideal candidates would possess a minimum of five to ten years of professional experience developing and executing integrated strategic communications programs in a fast-paced PR or marketing agency or working closely with an agency to achieve strategic communications objectives; and demonstrate mastery of high-quality, professional-level project management, planning and conceptualization, plan execution, and results assessment; with particular emphasis on diversity and inclusion programs and projects, directed at both internal and external audiences, among other qualifications.

For more details on the responsibilities of these positions, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Inclusive Leadership: Starting with Self-Reflection

Written by Jennie Yelvington, MSW, ACSW, Program Manager for HR Organization and Professional Development.

Central to being a leader at MSU is understanding that furthering diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority that is imperative to the university fulfilling its mission. Simply understanding, however, is not enough. All of us must take an active role in continuing to work towards a more diverse and inclusive community. In a recent response to the killing of George Floyd, President Stanley noted:

“We are committed to building an inclusive environment here at MSU, one that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. However, this commitment must be manifested in ways that extend well beyond words.”

President Stanley

Our commitment includes the work of both the individual and the collective; of behaviors, practices and policies that work together in an impactful way. Thankfully, we have a talented Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee (learn more about this committee and their vision here) that will be identifying recommendations going forward. In the meantime, start with the following questions for self-reflection related to these six themes to help reveal where you are on the path to being an inclusive leader:

  1. Belief: Do you wholeheartedly believe everyone is created equal? Regardless of differences in skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, workplace hierarchy, support staff vs. academic staff, attire, etc.? Your honest answers may help with the next question.
  2. Awareness: Are you aware of the conscious and unconscious biases you had or have towards others? We all have them, so the question isn’t “if” you have bias, but where you do and what you do about it. Authors of the Harvard Business Review article The Key to Inclusive Leadership add that to be meaningful, bias awareness must be tied to two other traits:
    1. Humility – a willingness to acknowledge your vulnerability to bias and ask for feedback on blind spots and habits; and
    1. Empathy/perspective-taking – striving to understand others deeply and leave them feeling heard.
  3. Boldness: Are you honest with others about your shortcomings or misperceptions? Are you willing to have uncomfortable conversations or do reparative work if you make a mistake? This work does not occur without mistakes, but we must have the courage to do it anyway.
  4. Curiosity: Are you open to unlearning and relearning from others? Do you take the time to do your own research and learn about experiences others may be facing? Do you really know what it means to actively be a good ally? As leaders, we need to build diverse relationships, ask regularly for honest feedback and make adjustments as needed.
  5. Action: Are your behaviors and actions towards others aligned with your belief in equality? Believing in something theoretically is a start but has little meaning if your actions don’t consistently back it up. In developing inclusive cultures, leaders must address forces that dehumanize at personal, systemic and institutional levels. Don’t sit back waiting for others to take action. Make the changes that you can and speak up to exercise your influence.
  6. Commitment: Do you consistently hold yourself and others accountable to a culture of inclusion? The article Inclusive Leadership in Higher Education Today reminds us that “the inclusive leader works to support others’ identities, fosters understanding, respect, and dignity, and works to build a sense of mutual responsibility for and commitment to cultivating an inclusive, supportive, and impactful experience for all.” Do you speak up when you notice microaggressions? Do you actively seek the opinions of people in meetings who are being marginalized? Do you push for diverse hiring committees and candidate pools? Think about different ways that you can actively expand your commitment and take related steps.

As noted in the white paper Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership, “companies can’t add diversity to the mix of a team and expect that people will automatically collaborate, connect, resolve conflicts, or innovate as a cohesive unit. Aiming to improve your company’s demographic diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, ability) without also aiming to improve employee experiences of inclusion is not good for employers or employees. To generate exceptional outcomes, people need to work in an inclusive atmosphere where they can belong, contribute, and thrive.”

With perseverance and humility, we can continue to work on these issues and help MSU to be at the forefront of positive transformation.

Resources to Help:

elevateU Resources:

Podcast: Help Me Understand – Episode 8: A Conversation About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. JK talks with Jessica Garcia, former MSU faculty member and CEO of Hummingbird Solutions, LLC, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm.

Sources:

Arnold, N. W. (2020, May 22). Inclusive Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.higheredtoday.org/2020/05/20/inclusive-leadership/

Bourke, J., & Espedido, A. (2020, March 6). The Key to Inclusive Leadership. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/03/the-key-to-inclusive-leadership

Jenkins, R. (2018, June 12). 6 Questions That Reveal If You Are an Inclusive Leader. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/ryan-jenkins/how-to-be-an-inclusive-leader-in-6-steps.html

Kendall, F. E. (2003). How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege. Retrieved from http://www.scn.org/friends/ally.html?fbclid=IwAR2y_9Z615-XMXhfsaZ4P9lJ2EvgTXjZNamdmj8ru_eQdot0bzwAUnzC4qs

Stanley, S. L., & Sullivan, T. A. (n.d.). Message to the campus community on the shocking events in Minnesota. Retrieved from https://president.msu.edu/communications/messages-statements/2020_community_letters/2020_05_29_Letter_on_Minnesota_events.html?utm_campaign=standard-promo&utm_source=msulinkedin-post&utm_medium=social

Travis, D. J., Shaffer, E., & Thorpe-Moscon, J. (n.d.). Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership: Why Change Starts with You. Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership: Why Change Starts with You. Catalyst. Retrieved from https://www.catalyst.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Getting-Real-About-Inclusive-Leadership-Report-2020update.pdf

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King participates in a civil rights march.
Dr. King participates in a civil rights march.

MSU has celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. since 1980, six years before Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a national holiday. This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on Monday, January 19. MSU students, faculty and staff will join together in recognition of Dr. King’s life’s work; bringing publicity to major civil rights activities, emphasizing and encouraging peaceful protests, and providing leadership.

The tribute begins this Saturday, January 17 with a gala celebrating the commencement of Project 60/50, a year-long initiative focused on engaging the community in conversations about diversity. After the gala, a Union Activities Board event will be held to illustrate the student body’s talent and commitment to civil rights issues. On Sunday, January 18, free jazz concerts will be available as 60/50’s gift to the community. On Monday, a student leadership conference will run through the morning to be followed by a luncheon taking place in partnership with the Greater Lansing King Commemorative Celebration Commission. Other festivities include a commemorative march from the Union to Beaumont Tower and an exhibit at the MSU Museum.

As we look forward to paying homage to the heroic deeds of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., MSU HR salutes all those who have worked for equality; past, present and future.