Division of Equity and Inclusion offers new support on website

Collage of faces

The Division of Equity and Inclusion has launched a new tool employing the concepts of LACE — love, authenticity, courage and empathy — to provide support for members of the UO community during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as in the days ahead.

LACE is an aspect of the research of Vice President of Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh.

“While not an official UO policy or framework, the concepts of LACE,  when used in ways that are consistent with UO policies and practices, are helpful in facilitating engagement, active learning strategies and to diffusing ‘hot moments’ in the classroom,” she wrote in a recent letter sent to faculty members. “LACE is a method for how we can actualize our IDEAL framework.”

The new LACE section of the division’s website is divided into opportunities, care and community, and resources.

The resource pages provide specific information and support for faculty member and students, and has segments addressing issues of responding to bias and xenophobia; understanding accessibility issues and the needs of people with disabilities; serving rural communities; reviewing the ethics of care; and promoting wellness for underserved populations and allies. Each area includes reports, toolkits, scholarly articles, webinars and workshop opportunities, and community resources.

The faculty resources page contains tools such as templates for student communications, including how to champion students and provide sympathy, guides for remote teaching and dealing with hot topics, tips on how to be more inclusive with Zoom, advice on supporting single-parent students, and more.

Students can find information such as food, housing and health resources; immigration material; emergency funding and technology support; and even links to virtual museum tours.

The opportunities pages provide ideas on how university members can practice each of the LACE values. A variety of suggestions can be found, such as engaging in journal writing, asking for feedback, defining values like courage and reaching out to others.

The university’s IDEAL framework was officially adopted in 2016. IDEAL stands for inclusion, diversity, evaluation, achievement and leadership. The framework is a guide to the university’s work toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community. LACE offers a way to enact the values of the IDEAL framework, proactively and reactively.

“We can use the value of love to lead with kindness and react with patience; authenticity to allow our unique essence and true selves to shine through; courage to move forward in the face of fear; and empathy to hold space for others,” Assensoh said. “When institutions lead with values, it helps us all to be more resilient and compassionate in times of crisis. Leading with values helps make the university sustainable and viable.”

All university members are encouraged to share their experiences with the LACE opportunities and give feedback through a Qualtrics survey. University members are also invited to follow the division’s social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtag #UOLACE to share experiences.

The care and community pages offer opportunities to connect virtually. Currently, through the division’s Center for Diversity and Community, remote sessions are available for faculty support and writing circles. Future plans call for remote lunch hours and happy hour sessions for faculty members and graduate students.

The LACE website has a strong emphasis on support during the pandemic. However, it is applicable to the university’s time of recovery and return and will be continually expanded to meet current needs as the university moves forward.

It will focus on the central IDEAL framework at the UO and explore LACE values to do the work. Assensoh invites university members to “read the resources, get support and share your stories.”

—By tova stabin, University Communications