The Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit has been created to identify best practices for promoting diversity and inclusion at Brown. The toolkit provides guidelines for demonstrating an understanding of compliance, cultural awareness, respect for differences, and coaching for positive change towards inclusive practices for all identities.

Guideline #1: Create a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Recruiting Checklist and Strategies for Recruiting Diverse Candidates

Guideline #2: Strategies for Communicating Across Cultures

Guideline #3: Enhance Respect

Guideline #4: Identify Ways to Build An Inclusive Team

Guideline #5: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans/Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) Individuals

Guideline #6: Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities


Guideline #1: Create a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Recruiting Checklist and Strategies for Recruiting Diverse Candidates

This toolkit outlines best practices for promoting diversity and inclusion at Brown.


  • To diversify recruiting by identifying specific responsibilities for hiring supervisors.
  • To follow best practices by demonstrating an understanding of compliance, cultural awareness, respect for differences, and coaching for positive change.

A community that values diversity and inclusion is a place where staff, faculty, and students of the division or department demonstrate, on a daily basis, their respect for each individual's unique attributes. It is a workplace that values diversity and inclusion requiring us to understand and respect the beliefs, values, and ethics of others while demonstrating our ability to effectively work with, communicate with, and service a diverse community of individuals. It is also essential that we interact and serve others with mutual respect while observing the highest standards of conduct. In sum, the workplace must be free from harassment, discrimination, and intolerance.  


  • Recognize that creating a workplace culture of diversity and inclusion is an ongoing developmental process for individuals and organizations.
  • Commit to building awareness, knowledge, and communication across cultures and teams.
  • Encourage others to be open, flexible, and receptive of differences.
  • Mentor others.
  • Assume that all people are individuals, who appreciate being treated with respect regardless of their ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, gender identity and expression, generational group, socioeconomic background,  and other aspects of cultural identity.


  • Assume that only colleagues from traditionally oppressed groups benefit from a community that promotes a culture that values diversity and inclusion.  All staff, faculty, students, visitors would benefit from understanding and respecting the diverse identities of the Brown community.
  • Forget about elements of diversity that cannot be overlooked. Sexual orientation, age, gender identity and expression, religion, regional differences, country of origin, generation, and all other aspects of identity are also elements that impact communication and working styles for some of the different groups you come into contact with at your job.

How Do We Foster A Workplace Culture that Values Diversity and Inclusion?

  • Have a defined set of values and principles, demonstrated behaviors, structures, and strategies that enable all faculty, staff and students along with supervisors, chairs, and advisors to effectively work across differences.
  • Demonstrate an ability and commitment to (1) value diversity, (2) manage the dynamics of difference, (3) acquire an understanding of compliance and respect for diversity, and  (4) appreciate diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities you serve.

How Can We Understand Our Own Awareness of Diversity and Inclusion in our Academic Community?

  • Increase self-awareness, explore and identify biases and privileges that you may have, know your communication and work style preferences and develop an awareness of your cultural surroundings.
  • Develop skills for communicating across cultures and identities.

Checklist - Recruiting Strategies in Support of Diversity and Inclusion within our Community


  • Assure that all data is collected to fairly evaluate a potential candidate’s qualifications. Evaluate the job description or faculty job announcements (ensuring details of the position, job duties, competencies and required minimum qualifications).
  • Incorporate department specific diversity and hiring goals into the recruitment and hiring plan. Identify resources, timeline, budget, and other recruitment sources, etc.
  • Establish diverse search committees and interview panels.
  • Provide search committee members with implicit bias training and make them cognizant of how potential unconscious biases can play a role in their selection process.
  • Provide search committees and interview panels with an understanding of the:
    • Organization's hiring goals and values for recruitment
    • Education, experience, skills, competencies, strengths and desired professional traits of the ideal candidate
    • Brown University’s Affirmative Action Plans
  • Verify if underutilization exists and if so, include and source a diverse applicant pool.
  • Provide guidance on managing underutilization to the search committee or panel.
  • Plan to "cast a wide net." Work with the Human Resources Consultants, and Director of Human Services to discuss and implement recruitment advertising strategies.

Committee/Panel Process:

  • Develop job related, legal interview questions.
  • Review applications and select candidates to interview.
  • Coordinate interview schedule.

Prepare for interviews by:

  • Reviewing job descriptions, applications, and references.
  • Organizing interview area. Assure that it communicates an inclusive environment.
  • Preparing for note taking.
  • Minimizing interruptions.

Selection and Conclusion

  • Conduct interviews with specific and consistent questions.
  • Prepare questions and conduct reference checks.
  • Contact references to schedule mutually convenient times for discussion.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Take clear and subjective notes.

Evaluate Candidates

  • Evaluate the credentials, skills, experience, and opportunities to select qualified diverse candidates, if possible.
  • Complete and submit hiring report to Human Resources.

Guideline #2: Strategies for Communicating Across Cultures

Communicating across cultures, also referred to as intercultural communication, is a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate, in both similar and different ways among themselves, and across cultures. There are several practices you can implement to increase the strategies for cross-cultural communication in your department, such as:

  • Demonstrate a value for diversity.
  • Communicate respect and show empathy.
  • Do not judge.
  • Recognize your own assumptions.
  • Explore you own unconscious biases.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and tolerate ambiguity.
  • Be conscious that humor may be misunderstood.

Some tips for additional practices include:

  • Provide an open and safe environment: Be aware of situations and settings that are uncomfortable. Reduce power dynamics.
  • Focus on understanding: Be nonjudgmental and check tone, style, and delivery of voice.
  • Seek first to understand; then be understood. When interacting with others in a diverse community like Brown, it is likely that you will encounter new and/or controversial ideas. Demonstrate a clear understanding of these ideas by actively listening before formulating arguments for or against them. Back up your claims with intelligent arguments. Also, critique ideas rather than individuals.
  • Explore the possibility that what is presented may not be the main issue: Listen to others and give them time to tell their story in their own way and words; trust must develop before others share their vulnerability; trust is earned and developed over time; Identify root or underlying issues, which may prevent you from developing a relationship.
  • Acknowledge differences and different experiences: Avoid saying "I know how you feel" as it is always untrue. Most cultural minorities are more skilled in coping in the majority culture than members of the majority culture. Most majority culture members are less skilled in coping within a minorities' culture.
  • Be aware of differences in nonverbal communication patterns: eye contact and facial expressions.
  • Treat all people with dignity and respect regardless of diversity issues: Keep an open mind; keep it simple; speak to the person in a polite manner; avoid making judgments and assumptions; avoid ethnic, racial and gender jokes.
  • Respect all people as adults who have the right to make decisions freely: Avoid dictating and giving orders; avoid giving commands.

Guideline #3: Enhance Respect

Enhancing respect in your work areas is one way of supporting colleagues within your department or division and helping them feel valued. Respect can be demonstrated through our choices, delegation, behaviors, verbal and non-verbal communication. There are several practices you can implement to increase awareness and sense of respect in your work area.


  • Make your expectations clear to your colleagues regarding verbal and non-verbal communication (e.g., avoid eye rolling at meetings, talking over each other when you disagree with a viewpoint, etc.)
  • Schedule at least one staff/faculty meeting a year specifically focused on discussing the work environment or to assess the climate, discuss feelings of respect, and solicit feedback from colleagues about ways to improve the environment/climate.
  • Identify best practices for all to model.
  • Provide consistent feedback to colleagues who need further mentoring and support on improving their behavior.
  • Reward/Reinforce respectful behavior when you see it.
  • Manage conflicts and disagreements with respect in a timely and confidential manner.


  • Assume that all colleagues in your department or division have the same definition of respect as each other or as you.
  • Avoid conversations about disrespectful behavior in the hope of stopping the behavior all by itself.
  • Rely on someone else, if you are an area manager/department chair/center director, to provide vision and tools for respect in your department. This is part of your responsibility as a person in a leadership role.

What are some specific behaviors that can convey respect?

  • Although each situation is unique and not everyone may agree, some behaviors that we have found to convey respect at Brown University are:
  • Communication that is open and transparent.
  • Decision making that is transparent, communicated, and inclusive.
  • Information being shared in a timely and consistent manner.
  • Disagreeing without losing one's temper or otherwise conveying disrespect.
  • Greeting students, faculty, staff, and vendors by acknowledging them verbally and non-verbally.
  • Respecting people's time by arriving at meetings and ending meetings promptly.
  • Being open to criticism and feedback.
  • Providing critical feedback in a manner, which is caring and respectful to the specific individuals.
  • Taking responsibility for the impact of one's actions.

What are some suggestions for coaching and providing feedback about disrespectful behavior?

  • Choose an appropriate time and private place to offer the feedback. It is best not to let too much time pass, and also to be calm and not reacting to your own emotions.
  • Ask the person how they saw their behavior impacting the situation or the other person involved?
  • Listen to their own self-evaluation and provide feedback that encourages self-reflection.
  • Examine the long-term impact this behavior has on the team or faculty on the job tasks, and on their relationships with other colleagues, faculty, staff or students.
  • Engage the person displaying the disrespectful behavior. Have the person identify a solution for improvement.

Guideline #4: Identify Ways to Build An Inclusive Team

Inclusive teams are characterized by open communication, transparent decision making, and creativity. The purpose of building an inclusive team is to create a productive work climate of trust and respect. Brown University is a diverse community. We have members of our community that represent multiple and different identities. Our differences and similarities are based on age, gender identity and expression, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, ability, and other forms of identity as well as opinion, which requires us to develop an inclusive team and/or faculty.


  • Develop a brief statement or practice about how you will work with your team/faculty.
  • Link inclusion to specific behavioral expectations that are likely to generate trust, openness, and inclusion.

Example: Some of the behaviors that demonstrate inclusion are communicating information consistently, being open to feedback rather than being defensive, respecting colleagues regardless of different styles or beliefs, and offering criticism in a constructive manner.

  • Communicate regularly to colleagues in your department or division as to why an inclusive culture is important: enhance productivity, improve communication, boost problem solving, and foster retention.

Example: There are several ways to remind your team that inclusion is an important value in your department: one sentence that states departmental values and vision in quarterly staff meetings (e.g., devoted to work) or all new hire letters.

  • Build a more inclusive team: identify culture topics such as teamwork, communication, and inclusion, and set a professional development goal for each member of your related to at least one aspect of communication and inclusion.
  • Mentor supervisors/advisors/faculty in a way that creates model behaviors that you would like to see from them.


  • Rely on the same people for advice all of the time.

Example: Who you turn to for advice and buy in should be as varied as your stakeholders and customers. If you find yourself with a homogenous group of advisors, who never push back or point out challenges, your advisor group is not sufficiently inclusive. Seek out the perspectives of colleagues and customers who have different backgrounds and expectations. Teamwork and projects generally benefit from having such diverse feedback.

  • Use some of your staff meeting time as an "information dump." Facilitate meetings that invite participation, explore ideas, and model dialogue.
  • Allow exclusionary or intolerant behavior to go unaddressed. Respond efficiently and with respect to behaviors that mock, shame, insult or injure staff.

Guideline #5: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans/Transgender, Queer (LGTBQ+) Individuals

Brown University welcomes faculty, staff, and visitors of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The purpose of educating ourselves about LGBTQ+ concerns is to maintain a harassment and prejudice free workplace, and continue to build a supportive climate for collaborators of all sexual orientations and gender identities.


  • Be responsible for openly communicating that LGBTQ+ colleagues are welcome in your department and that you expect fair and respectful treatment of all staff, faculty, students, and visitors.
  • Be sure that your department offers LGBTQ+ inclusive services and programs (e.g., do not assume heterosexuality when sending invitations for department events and avoid gendered terms like Mr., Mrs., Ms, etc. ).
  • Respond to inappropriate jokes or comments immediately. Silence sends a message of agreement.


  • Ignore inappropriate language or humorous discussions around LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Make generalizations about any group or identity.
  • Reveal a person's sexual orientation or gender identity without their expressed permission.

Click here to learn more about Brown's LGBTQ Center

Guideline #6: Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities

Disabled veterans make up a large part of the U.S. workforce. According to the 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics (Employment Situation of Veterans Summary), "in 2015, 21.2 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 9 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over (...) veterans are defined as men and women who have previously served on active duty in the U.S."

At Brown University, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and University Human Resources work together to provide information for this special population as noted in Brown University's Affirmative Action Plan for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities (Affirmative Action Plans).