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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. 

  • Lisa Costello (College of Arts and Humanities, Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Writing and Linguistics) 
  • Nikki DiGregorio (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, School of Human Ecology) 
  • Stacy Smallwood (Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Health Policy and Community Health) 
  • Rochelle Bornett Lee (Waters College of Health Professions, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Sciences) 
  • Peggy Shannon-Baker (College of Education, Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading) 
  • Clare Walsh (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Sociology and Anthropology) 
  • Alexandra Reyes (College of Education, Middle Grades and Secondary Education) 

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!Friday 11/12, 11:30am-12:30pmNovember
Managing Difficult Conversations
Cap. 40 per session
Thursday 11/4, 1:00-2:30pmNovember
Unpacking Privilege
Cap. 40 per session
Thursday 10/21, 1:00-2:30pm

Monday 11/15, 10:00-11:30am

Recognizing BiasWednesday 10/13, 10:00-11:30am

Friday 11/5, 10:00-11:30am

Responding to MicroaggressionsMonday 11/1, 11:00-12:30pm

Wednesday 11/10, 1:00-2:30pm

Thursday 11/18, 10:00-11:30am
Workshop 1

Workshop 2

Workshop 3

Unpacking Privilege

How does privilege show up in the classroom and workplace? In this interactive workshop, participants will identify different types of privilege, describe how privilege is connected to teaching and learning, and discuss strategies for disrupting and intentionally operationalizing privilege.

Managing Difficult Conversations

In this interactive workshop, participants will identify strategies to pre-emptively plan for, respond to, and retrospectively reflect on difficult conversations that come up in the classroom and workplace. We will focus on working through case scenarios in small group discussions to build on participants’ previous experiences.

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! 

Recognizing Bias

What is bias and how does it show up in the classroom or workplace? In this interactive workshop, participants will consider how stereotypes inform our biases and how these biases impact our social interactions at work and in the classroom. Resources for identifying biases will also be shared.

Responding to Microaggressions

This learning session will define and describe microaggressions based on race, gender, disability, and more 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.

Join Us! Apply Now to Become a DIFF Affiliate


The Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellows (D.I.F.F.) are accepting applications for three Affiliate Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellows –one to begin effective immediately (Fall 2021), and two fellows to begin in Spring 2022. Applications will be accepted through Friday, October 8, 2021. The application review process (including interviews) will begin on Monday, October 11, 2021.

The primary responsibilities of the Affiliate Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellow position include: 

○ Serving as an Office of Inclusive Excellence (O.I.E.) liaison as the primary contact for O.I.E. staff, manage communication between D.I.F.F. and O.I.E., address questions O.I.E. specific questions in consultation with senior D.I.F.F., and coordinate with O.I.E. on scheduling respective staff for D.I.F.F. meetings. 

○ Recording meeting minutes and preparing meeting agendas, documenting events, as well as coordinating and monitoring registrations, attendees, and collating workshop evaluations and response rates. 

○ Coordinating and executing event logistics alongside O.I.E. staff (e.g., relaying finalized event materials, embedded polls and activities, and timing of exercises), as well as following up on event marketing and registration links as needed. 

Additionally, all Affiliate Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellows will support D.I.F.F. and the O.I.E. through the following duties and responsibilities: 

○ Facilitate/Co-Facilitate two or more workshops per semester 

○ Develop/Co-Develop one or more D.I.F.F workshops per year 

○ Attend monthly D.I.F.F. meetings 

○ Assist in curating resources for the resource guide/repository 

○ In addition to duties listed above, Affiliate Diversity & Inclusion Faculty Fellows will engage in ongoing learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and topics 

D.I.F.F. welcomes applications from faculty across colleges and campuses. Special consideration will be given to applicants who originate from colleges and campuses not currently represented in D.I.F.F. Applicants from historically underrepresented backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply. The D.I.F.F. membership numbers are dependent on the needs of the university and the financial support of the O.I.E. 


Last updated: 10/12/2021