At Illinois Tech we honor our diverse community when we discuss issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability status, religion, or any other characteristic. Although we are exposed to all sorts of diversity, without reflecting on the ways in which the same systems and practices are treating us and our colleagues differently, it does not necessarily prepare us for the challenges of an increasingly diverse workforce and acquisition of competencies required of future leaders. The opportunity lies in reflecting on situations in which some are singled out because of their differences, and think about the ways in which we can contribute in creating an inclusive environment where everyone can be who they are and perform at their best.
In this class, students are intellectually challenged on their assumptions, it will expand their perspectives on social issues and help them to be critical thinkers. Working in teams, you will begin to identify issues related to diversity and inclusion that are present in your day-to-day experiences of the university community. Then, you will apply user-centered design methods to understand how these issues are being reinforced by current systems, structures, and practices at the university. For example, exploring the ways in which students with certain gender, ability status, or nationality might feel excluded or unwelcomed when they seek certain services on campus. The goal of this IPRO class is to 1) identify instances of discrimination, and 2) create alternatives to identified challenges as a starting point for a more inclusive campus. The solutions that you propose are expected to enhance the quality of our relationships across campus by putting in place services, and communicative strategies that are more sensitive to differences.
This IPRO experience offers students an introduction to design thinking as applied to social challenges, as well as hands-on opportunities to apply these principles in real-time. A number of guests with expertise in social activism and community engagement will join the class through the semester to share their experience in advocating for diversity and inclusion across Chicago, and provide you with feedback to achieve project success.
IPRO team members will:
This course is fundamentally about diversity. It requires IPRO team members to seek out, interact with, understand, and serve people different from yourselves. Students will be expected to leave their zones of familiarity to learn from diverse communities in real life and positively leverage differences that are discovered for everyone’s benefit.