Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Conference - Registration is closed but a livestream is available at www.umass.edu/diversity/jedi-conference-livestream

With its large and diverse population of students, faculty, and staff, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to building a community where every individual feels a sense of belonging.

To kick off the new academic year, the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) is collaborating with campus partners on a series of educational and celebratory events, talks, panels, workshops, and performances dedicated to “Belonging@UMass". This initiative will continue throughout the entire year, with a goal of affirming UMass’s values of equity, inclusion, and belonging, and creating a strong unified sense of community. 

The JEDI conference will consist of talks around growing our culture of inclusion and belonging and what it means to embody belonging, building inclusive classroom practices, a deep dive into the results of the Campus Climate Survey and what that means, and more.

Primary role

Please Indicate the Sessions You Plan to Attend

Tuesday, September 13th
Research shows that a sense of belonging impacts students’ learning, motivation, persistence, and academic success. As faculty and instructors, we can foster our students’ sense of belonging, whether this be in small seminar, a lecture hall, a hybrid course context, or a lab. Why does it matter that you take such action? Attendees will be guided through activities that demonstrate strategies for cultivating a learning atmosphere of caring and support – one where students feel that their contributions, perspectives and backgrounds are valued. (Audience: Faculty, Instructors, staff, GA/TAs involved in course instruction.)
This keynote invites participants to consider belonging as an active practice rooted in individual and collective values. Penn Pritchard, Education and Development Manager in the Office of Equity and Inclusion, will share the role of culture and cultural archetypes in creating a sense of belonging. During the session, attendees will explore how the brain responds to both pleasurable and challenging experiences around social inclusion. Key takeaways include opportunities for self-reflection and an open discussion of our unique hopes and goals for a culture of genuine belonging at UMass. (Audience: All campus.)
Allyship involves both showing up and standing up for others. So what does allyship mean when we are all complex individuals with various demographic, social and cultural identities? This panel seeks to explore ways to demonstrate good allyship in a society that is founded on principles of exclusion and oppression. Opportunities to reflect and engage with the panel will be embedded throughout.
Experts on equitable collaboration will discuss their research and experience related to faculty inclusion and belonging. This session will be interactive, with discussion of practices, tools, and opportunities to discuss ideas for faculty collaborations across units at UMass.
Wednesday, September 14th
Diversity, equity and inclusion "work" has long been a stated priority on our campus. This panel will provide space for various campus leaders to discuss the initiatives that not only prioritize DEI, but center belonging. Registrants and attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance to be included as a part of the program. Discussion with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, Brandi Hephner LaBanc; Provost Tricia Serio; and Deputy Athletic Director for Administration, Kirsten Britton. Moderated by Vice Chancellor & Chief Diversity Officer, Nefertiti Walker. (Audience: all campus.)
In November 2021, all members of our campus were invited to participate in a campus climate survey. Now, we have an opportunity to take a deeper dive into what the results tell us about sense of belonging on our campus. This session will give an up close and personal look at our campus climate data on belonging, lead by Deputy Chief Officer for Equity and Inclusion, Emmanuel Adero. During the session, attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about how these data impact our campus. (Audience: all campus.)
Threats to inclusion and belonging will always exist when hate and ignorance have a powerful platform. This session highlights the work of the UMass police department, U.S. Attorney's Office District of Massachusetts, and the FBI discussing how collaboration between campus and investigators can lead to early detection of potential threats. During this session, audiences will learn what constitutes a hate crime, how bias influences hate, and the significance of reporting. (Audience: all campus.)