Quest University Faculty Retreat 2018

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish, BC Canada

Fostering a Faculty Culture of Inclusion & Intercultural Fluency
August 14, 2018

Dr. George Iwama opens the 2018 retreat with a message of welcome to new faculty and emphasizing an aspirational culture of respect. 

Dr. George Iwama opens the 2018 retreat with a message of welcome to new faculty and emphasizing an aspirational culture of respect. 

Special Thanks! 

Thank you to all the faculty at Quest, for their enthusiasm and sustained engagement throughout the day; to Krista Lambie and the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) for helping to make this PD possible; to Verity Olson for taking care of all the details, small and large; to Dr. Iwama, for showing full support for Quest's effort around diversity and inclusion and an aspirational culture of inclusion, and for asking really important questions around institutionalizing inclusive practices and processes. A special thank you to the following officers of the Academic Council at Quest University, for providing invaluable insight and advice on making the day as meaningful as possible:

  • Dr. George Iwama, AC Chair
  • Dr. Doug Munroe, Chief Academic Officer
  • Dr. Darcy Otto, Incoming Board Representative
  • Dr. Jamie Kemp, AC Vice-Chair
  • Dr. Andrew Hamilton, AC Secretary
  • Dr. Ellen Flournoy, Outgoing Board Representative

The Retreat

The retreat aimed to equip faculty with a common understanding of diversity and inclusion, provide a range of concepts and practical tools that foster an institutionalized culture of diversity and belonging, and ultimately contribute to the University's aspirations towards Inclusion Excellence, as articulated in Quest University's Diversity and Equity Statement: 

Quest University Canada aims to foster an inclusive, accessible, and equitable learning and working environment for all members of our university community that recognizes, respects, and promotes diversity, and encourages intellectually rigorous debate and collaboration among different points of view. Our commitment is motivated by both our social obligations as well as by our deeper desire to build a more equitable society and increase opportunities for all. We recognize that not everyone experiences and understands the world in the same ways; therefore, our vision is to cultivate a climate in which all members are supported and feel welcomed.


Beginning with a foundational understanding of inclusion, the retreat covered the following four modules: 

  • (A) Establishing Intent for Inclusion Excellence
  • (B) Six Vital Traits for Inclusive Leadership
  • (C) Intercultural Essentials for a Diverse and Inclusive Campus
  • (D) Building the Capacity for Courageous Conversations

Within each module, an effort was made to address "D&I pain points", specific to Quest, in four areas: 

  • Faculty Culture
  • Classroom Experience
  • Curriculum
  • Student & Campus Culture

The following sections include the descriptions, visuals and resources used in each module. 

(A) Establishing Intent for Inclusion Excellence
(90 minutes)

Purposeful leadership requires a strong sense of intentionality. In this opening session, participants will examine the different kinds of diversity, the business case for a more inclusive workplace, and also explore the organizational stage-by-stage process towards fostering a work environment where people with profound differences thrive. Participants will determine where they are in the process, what business outcomes are most relevant and the kind of organizational mindset they aspire to establish as leaders.

During this module, faculty were asked What net positive impact would you like to have at work? Below are the collected responses. 

Click to enlarge.

2018-08-14 17.22.41.jpg

Inclusion and Psychological Health and Safety

An emphasis was made to the connection and overlap between inclusion and psychological safety. The Canadian Psychologically Healthy and Safe Workplace Standards were mentioned: 

There are 14 workplace psychosocial factors known to positively impact an employee’s mental health, psychological safety, participation, and productivity. If these factors effectively exist in the workplace, they have the potential to prevent psychological harm. The first 13 of these workplace factors were adapted from Guarding Minds @ Work and used for the purposes of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The 14th factor is particularly important to unions in assessing psychological health and safety in the workplace.

These factors can be found at

Where is Quest on the D&I Journey? 

Faculty were asked to identify where on the Diversity Change Curve they felt their faculty or department was positioned. Below are the results from the poll. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 12.42.16 PM.png

What is the most relevant Diversity Business Case for a more diverse and inclusive faculty culture? 

Faculty were asked to identify which business case benefits were most relevant. This was key to identifying what D&I outcomes would most meaningful to the faculty at Quest. Below are the top 5 results from the poll. For the complete list of results, please visit

Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 12.54.03 PM.png

(B) Six Vital Traits for Inclusive Leadership
(60 minutes)

Inclusive leadership is promised to be the heart of innovation. The capacity for academic leaders to model inclusive attitudes, language and behaviours are the litmus test of any university’s commitment towards social inclusion. Failure to demonstrate inclusivity at any level of the university drives people away, harbours discrimination and normalizes inequity. This session provides a framework for what inclusive leadership is and aims to achieve. This session explores the most recent report by Deloitte on when employees feel included, provides a research-based framework around inclusive leadership, and further examines differences in what various employee groups perceive as inclusive leadership behaviours.

Inclusion according to Quest

Faculty were invited to "Name a Characteristic of Feeling Included." Below is the infographic of the resulting words. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 1.02.18 PM.png

The research of when employees feel included

Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 1.09.34 PM.png

Source: Deloitte and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup? A new recipe to improve business performance, May 2013

(C) Intercultural Essentials
(120 minutes)

Snowball technique of gathering anonymous responses to high-risk questions and facilitating conversation. 

Snowball technique of gathering anonymous responses to high-risk questions and facilitating conversation. 

This engaging and interactive session provides a frank conversation about the complex difficulties of leading and/or being a member of a more diverse and inclusive campus, the intercultural afterthought, and what is required to convert a team’s diversity into innovation. This session covers:

  • The impact of cultural differences (cultural bias)
  • The stages of organizational change that must occur for inclusion to be institutionalized
  • Intercultural Fluency
  • Racial discrimination vs. Racism (incidences vs. the historic accumulation of oppression)
  • Examples of Micro-Aggression
  • Whose responsibility is it to adapt?
  • Saying the wrong thing

Staying enthusiastic about working with culturally different people

Faculty were invited to share what excited them about working with culturally different people. The following is a collection of the submissions: 

Quest faculty "excite wall"

Working with culturally different people is more work

Faculty were invited to share their "pain points" of working with culturally different faculty and/or students. Those submissions are currently being transcribed and will be uploaded once available. 

Differences in academic expectations

Faculty were invited to consider their academic expectations in comparison to culturally different students. The survey used for the this activity can be found at the following link: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning

Intercultural Communication Resources

Tips for Fostering an Intercultural Classroom Experience

The following are the slides specifically about the examples of pedagogical techniques gathered from other faculty. 


(D) Building the Capacity for Courageous Conversations
(60 minutes)

Advanced levels of equity and inclusion within an organization requires difficult conversations about difficult topics. The aspiration for inclusion on campus is ultimately limited by faculty’s and the university’s overall capacity to have difficult conversations about race, gender equity, cultural differences, privilege and power.  This segment is focused on the fundamentals to building the capacity within organizations to have more meaningful dialogue.

Unsafe topics at Quest

Faculty were invited to identify "unsafe topics." The following are a list of the few submissions: 

Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 1.40.15 PM.png

Modelling a Courageous Conversation

In speaking with the Diversity and Equity Committee about how to make this content as meaningful as possible, the idea of providing all of you a mock dialogue came to mind. Despite the expectation by the American and Canadian public that universities are places where difficult conversations should happen with ease, the reality is that isn’t always the case. My fear is that everything I’ve just said becomes conceptual if you don’t actually have the opportunity to witness a tough dialogue.

Please see the link below for recommendations on holding a courageous conversation, including the sample Community Agreement and Script: 

Have a burning question or comment? Anonymous questions are welcome.