What are the I-Connect Diversity and Inclusion Workshops?
I-Connect Diversity & Inclusion Workshop is an experiential workshop designed and administered by Diversity & Social Justice Education to help incoming students embrace differences and recognize shared experiences in order to build a welcoming and engaged campus community. Due to COVID-19 precautions, this workshop will be held virtual in two (2) components. Taken in this order, the first component of I-Connect is where you will have the opportunity to explore diversity and inclusive topics in a self-paced, online e-Text workbook. The second component is a peer-led, virtual, interactive workshop that explores the skills to build a welcoming and engaged campus community.
The first component of I-Connect e-Text allows students to engage in concepts such as stereotyping and microaggressions through videos and self-reflection. Once students have completed their workbook, they will be allowed to register for their virtual, interactive Zoom session. During this component they will participate in discussions and interactive activities facilitated by their peers employing dialogue-based communication skills (via Flick, 1998) to promote inclusion. The total I-Connect experience will last approximately 120 minutes (each component is 60 minutes).
Why is it mandatory?
Research shows that a diverse and supportive environment leads to increased critical thinking, creativity, perspective taking and decreases fear of conflict. All of us - regardless of our experiences or social group membership - must develop strong intercultural communication skills in order to collaborate, learn, and work in diverse environments during their years at Illinois and beyond. The I-Connect workshop provides first year and transfer students with a framework to understand the concepts of diversity and inclusion while practicing intercultural communication skills.
When and where will these workshops be held?
Workshops will be held during the spring semester, virtually. The first component e-Text workbook is an online, self-paced program beginning mid-March 2021. After completing the e-Text, the second component of I-Connect is the Zoom interactive workshops that will run from mid-March to late April from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm and 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm (choose one), Sunday through Thursday.
How will I learn about the I-Connect workshop?
In the spring 2021 semester, first year and transfer students whose first semester was the previous fall or current spring semester will be invited via e-mail to register for an I-Connect workshop experience online. Once students have completed their e-Text workbook they will be directed to register for their interactive Zoom session. You must complete the e-Text workbook in order to register for the Zoom session. You will not be able to register for the Zoom session without having completed the e-Text workbook. There is a special link you will receive at the end of the Zoom session to indicate that you completed both components for successful completion of the I-Connect workshop. I-Connect Registration Portal
How are I-Connect facilitators selected and trained?
I-Connect facilitators are University students interested in facilitating dialogues on issues of diversity and social justice with their peers. Priority is given to students who take PSYC 496 ID3: Facilitating Intergroup Dialogue. Facilitators receive training on facilitating social justice dialogues and present a variety of workshops across campus. Students interested in becoming an I-Connect facilitator should contact the DiversityEd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I go for more information?
For more information about I-Connect and other social justice workshops, check out our links above or e-mail DiversityEd@illinois.edu.
The I-Connect Diversity and Inclusion workshop is sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, a department within Student Affairs.