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Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellows (DIFF)

Mission Statement

The Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellows (DIFF), in alignment with Strategic Pillar 3 – Inclusive Excellence within the Georgia Southern University Strategic Plan, will serve as advocates and agents of change in addressing broad issues of diversity and inclusion for faculty and graduate students on the campus of Georgia Southern University. Our overarching goal is to cultivate a community of like-minded colleagues who desire to shape the current conversations about higher education around issues of diversity and inclusiveness. We will do this by (1) developing and curating diversity and inclusion resources available to faculty and graduate students, and (2) providing opportunities for exposure and sensitization to issues related to diversity and inclusion in higher education. 

Who We Are

The current group of DIFF represents a range of departments and most colleges at Georgia Southern University. Click the members’ names to read their biographies.

  • Shainaz Landge (College of Science and Math, Chemistry and Biochemistry)
  • Juanjuan Peng (College of Art and Humanities, History)
  • Stacy Smallwood (Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Health Policy and Community Health) 
  • Peggy Shannon-Baker (College of Education, Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading) 
  • Clare Walsh (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Sociology and Anthropology) 

Brief History on How DIFF Came to Be 

The organization known as DIFF was born out of a panel discussion on diversity & inclusion in the classroom, which was part of the Fall 2017 new faculty orientation. Based on the high attendance and positive feedback from attendees, a representative from the Faculty Center recognized both the importance of and demand for ongoing diversity & inclusion training opportunities for instructors. The four panelists (Drs. Costello, DiGregorio, Smallwood, and Walker-DeVose) became the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellows. Since then, DIFF has grown to include other faculty members from the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses with expertise in and commitment to diversity and inclusion in the classroom. 

Upcoming DIFF Events

To date, DIFF has designed and led several faculty and staff professional development workshops. DIFF members have also designed, co-facilitated, and participated in other university events and activities. Register for each session by visiting the links below. If you have already registered through the original system, you will not need to re-register. Additional information about the programs and sessions may be found below.

Event DateRegistrationFlyer
FIKA with Fellows! TBA


Responding to Microaggressions



Gender Pronouns 101



Neurodiversity in the ClassroomTBATBA
Designing an Inclusive Syllabus for a Diverse Setting TBATBA

FIKA with Fellows!

Fika. (noun or verb). A Swedish term for a short break involving coffee or tea, a snack, and conversation; an opportunity to connect with others around you.

This is a monthly opportunity for faculty, lecturers, and graduate teaching assistants to come together and take part in informal conversations about diversity and inclusion in the classroom. Bring your topics and questions, and DIFF will facilitate the dialogue.  Don’t forget your drink and snack — if you want to participate on multiple levels.  The mood is casual and drop-in, but the discussions are sure to be insightful! 

Responding to Microaggressions

In this interactive learning opportunity, we will discuss microaggressions based on race, gender, disability, and other social identities. Participants will explore the impacts of microaggressions on those who experience them, and also identify ways to respond when you are the recipient, when you commit one, and when you witness one.

Gender Pronouns 101

In this interactive learning opportunity, we will discuss strategies for how to ask for, use, and display gender pronouns in ways that demonstrate openness and inclusion for all genders. We will also work through scenarios that involve gender pronouns in teaching, research, and the workplace as well as how to address misgendering.

Neurodiversity in the Classroom

In this panel discussion, we will talk with members of the Students with Disabilities Advocacy Group and their faculty advisor about some of the experiences that students with disabilities have at Georgia Southern. They will be sharing challenges they face and advice on how to support neurodivergent people.

Designing an Inclusive Syllabus for a Diverse Setting

This highly interactive session will include discussions/conversations on how you can design an inclusive syllabus for a diverse set of students to support and engage all students. We will also review strategies to address common issues and concerns regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom. We encourage you to bring your current syllabus to compare and discuss. Workshop materials will be provided during the session.

Last updated: 5/17/2022