The Other Side of Diversity: Being Aware When Online

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Few platforms exist for faculty to collaborate, learn, and develop new techniques which foster inclusion and diversity especially when in the online environment. This session will provide educators with researched strategies and ideas to be interactive when working with students to promote awareness and acknowledgement of diversity.


Richarne A. Fuqua, is known as Dr. Shawn, the LPC, she is a clinical Licensed Professional Counselor and co-founder of the Licensed Professional Counselor Institute. She is also Program Director for Social Sciences and Psychology at Baker College and has worked for Baker College for more than 12 years in various position. Being a scholar-practitioner combines her major interests of mental health, teaching and encouraging people to be better. Dr. Shawn knows about new beginnings as she has more than 20 years of experience working with families, organizations and individuals. Her clinical practices has several locations in Michigan and she has traveled all over the country doing workshops and training. She has dedicated her life to helping others, through counseling, academic instruction, and through community service. Whether it is speaking on healthy relationships, diversity or the importance of assessments in higher education. Her personal mantra is Build, Believe and Go Beyond the ordinary, not only serves as a blueprint for her teaching approach, but represents the foundation of her own life.

Extended Abstract

In this presentation, the goal is to provide an awareness on what diversity and inclusion can look like within the online classroom. Many institutions have initiatives or goals to facilitate more inclusive and equitable experiences for students. While intercultural learning promotes inclusion with strategies that can strengthen an organization, diversity and inclusion can be pragmatic to the pedagogical process when virtual spaces are not considered. The instructor must understand where he or she fits in the collegiate structural system as an influencer and model for diversity and inclusion.

Diversity is seeing differences, even though typically students are not seen online, we still need to acknowledge those differences. Online education has been in existence for more than 25 years yet, most of the literature references face-to-face settings. In 2003, Bill Pelz shared an award winning strategy for creating an effective online environment. Bringing diversity into focus, the tridatical model of Social Presence, Cognitive Presence and Instructor Presence can be easily translated to virtual spaces to promote a multicultural presence. Thus, increasing  diversity practices within the ascryonous platform.

While diversity in higher education is a broad context, the focal point for this workshop is based on research that can be used to make an online classroom progressive and inclusive of multicultural perspectives. We will share how to expound on the instructor’s knowledge to be more aware, inclusive and intentional in an online classroom. This workshop can be a brief introduction with ten tips in creating an environment that promotes multicuralism online or an expanded educational session that shares the research of how to engage students with inclusiveness as well as sharing tips that promote diversity in the online classroom.