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D&I Toolkit: Resources for Executive Boards

DEI Resources for Executive Boards

Overview for Executive Boards

This guide serves as a resource for student leaders on club executive boards (e-boards) to improve DEI efforts within their organizations. Since officers are at the heart of how an organization functions, e-board has a unique opportunity to implement and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in their organization. This guide provides comprehensive resources for student leaders to establish DEI chairs, incorporate DEI efforts during recruitment, and discuss how to address various DEI related issues that may arise.

DEI Chairs

Purpose of DEI Chair

Purpose of DEI Chair

Having a member on e-board dedicated to advancing DEI efforts is a good step in prioritizing equity within your organization. DEI chairs can also ensure that conversations around equity can be sustained all throughout the year.

Note: DEI should be a group effort, rather than the responsibility of just one individual. Historically DEI chairs have been minority students who carry the burden of implementing DEI work, which can threaten the sustainability of these efforts.

Responsibilities of DEI Chair

Responsibilities of DEI Chair

  • Monitor the recruitment process and ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values in the recruitment process (see our DEI recruitment guide). 

    • Make amendments to the recruitment process if necessary.
    • Work with members of your e-board to advertise your organization in minority and underrepresented spaces on campus. 
  • Work with your e-board to make DEI a priority in all aspects of your organization.
  • Coordinate and host DEI workshops for e-board members and recruitment committee(s), as well as general body members
    • Examples: race and racism, consent and power dynamics, unconscious/implicit biases, ableism, microaggressions, etc. 
    • Engage members on DEI issues throughout the year through programming such as roundtable discussions, DEI office hours, social media awareness, etc.
  • Handle concerns and complaints anonymously from new and active members
    • Provide a safe space for minority students in your organization
    • Ex: anonymous complaint form or email for bias reports 
  • Identify gaps in your organization where DEI can be strengthened and work with your e-board to address them
    • Update organization bylines/constitutions and amend practices where necessary 
    • Talk to underrepresented minority (URM) students to see where they think improvements can be made

DEI Recruitment Resources & Best Practices

* Note, much of the content in this section was taken directly from the Cornell Students for Black Lives (C4BL) Resource Guide.

Recruitment Resources by Student Organizations

Recruitment plays a big role in determining diversity within your organization. Cornell Students for Black Lives created a comprehensive powerpoint presentation for club recruitment.

Refer to this powerpoint for tips and suggestions on how your organization can center diversity and inclusion during recruitment: C4BL Recruitment Resources

Refer to this guide compiled by the Business D&I Advisory Council for recruitment best practices: General Recruitment Best Practices

Acknowledge the social capital theory during club recruitment

Social Capital Theory: Social relationships are resources that lead to the development of human capital (Machalek & Martin 2015). 

Key point: Acknowledgement of the social capital theory can reduce biases and remind organizations of the role they play in creating economic opportunity for minorities.

Combatting biases and microaggressions

Avoid stereotypes— identity markers don't dictate personality.

Acknowledge that feelings are valid.Everyone has bias, but we have a responsibility to reflect on and challenge our own ways of thinking

Acknowledge intent vs. impact and remember “impact OVER intent”— a speaker may not intend to be malicious but the impact of their words may nonetheless cause harm. This impact should be prioritized over intent. 

DEI training sessions for recruitment

Note: This recruitment guide is created for application-based student organizations that have historically been exclusive in their recruitment practices. 

Host a DEI workshop for your recruitment committee prior to beginning recruitment. Foster an engaging dialogue with the recruitment committee members to understand the importance of DEI in recruitment. Create a community agreement together that all of the recruitment committee members will agree to abide by during the recruitment process. If any DEI issues come up during recruitment, refer back to the community agreement to hold members accountable.

Example of a DEI Recruitment Training Presentation from POLIS Government Society

To learn more, refer to the DEI training session resource guide.

DEI office hours during recruitment: The DEI chairs can also host DEI office hours during recruitment to create additional space for minority students to receive information/make connections. 

Reach a diverse candidate pool

Issue: It is easy to blame the lack of diversity among members on the absence of minority applicants. However, this may be the result of lack of intentional marketing and neglect in reaching out to minority communities. In addition, lack of inclusivity within the org makes minority candidates feel uncomfortable applying. 

Solution: Promote your club in minority spaces by asking friends (if they’re comfortable), minority clubs, organizations, professors, and campus resource centers. 

Here is a comprehensive outreach guide to help you identify diverse spaces

Maintain an equitable evaluation process

Minimize discrimination via amendments to evaluation processes: Provide an optional space on the application for individuals to explain circumstances (e.g. law school applications have a diversity statement that allows applicants to describe aspects of their identity, background, or extracurriculars)
Minimize subjectivity in rubrics by: Listing qualities of ideal candidates and a standardized assessment of such qualities; enlist multiple interviewers/scorers for candidates and average each candidates’ scores

Create a comprehensive interview guide

Create list of qualities you would like to see in a candidate, then break it down into which rounds you will assess these qualities

Make the breakdown of the rubric as specific as possible: differentiate levels (e.g. what constitutes a 1 vs 5?) 

Do not solely focus on experience. Take into account individuals’ passion for the area, which may not always be reflected on their resume. Rely on other application materials such as personal statements that convey passion for your organization’s mission, rather than placing undue emphasis on the experiences listed on the resume. For example: some applicants might not have much relevant experience in the field due to having to work paid service jobs. 

Do NOT deduct points for dress code. Keep in mind that many cannot access professional attire. Provide your candidates with a list of resources where they can find professional attire such as Cornell Wardrobe, Cornell Thrift, and Access Fund

Do NOT require professional headshots, but consider offering this as a free service. 

Provide advancement opportunities for g-body members to join e-board

E-board is a representative of the group’s voice. Having an e-board which reflects the diversity of membership not only better allows for more accurate representation, but also for growth as an organization in terms of having diverse perspectives in administrative positions. However, for diverse students, it can be daunting to apply to an e-board where representation is lacking. As such, here are ways to encourage more diversity in e-board participation and applications.

Encourage minority students to join e-board and make e-board safe for these members by:

  • Providing general body members frequent, transparent exposure to e-board roles, particularly following recruitment and during transition periods
  • Implementing a standardized rubric for assessing e-board applications that:
    • Includes the responsibilities of each open role,
    • Has examples as to how such responsibilities are fulfilled, and
  • Encourage g-body engagement with e-board through such means as:
    • Coffee chats, progress presentations in g-body meetings, debriefing/summaries of e-board minutes

Recruitment Resources by Student Organizations

The Dean of Students office has additional resources that can be found here.

Note: This DEI toolkit is a student-led initiative created by student leaders to address the need for additional DEI trainings, resources, and initiatives for student organizations. Support for these materials was provided by Campus Activities and the office of the Dean of Students.