Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awareness Week & Request for Proposals

Message to USC Faculty and Staff

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Camille Rich, Associate Provost of Student and Faculty Initiatives in the Social Sciences

December 17, 2019

We are proud to announce the Fourth Annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awareness Week (DEI Week), scheduled for March 2-6, 2020. Our theme this year is Climate Change in 20/20: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at USC. DEI Week serves to nurture and produce innovative educational experiences to meet our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. We strive to see the challenges and opportunities before us with 20/20 vision, energy, and optimism.

This year we also celebrate the growth of DEI Week over the past several years. We began with 23 sessions in our first year and expanded to over 100 sessions last year.

We invite interested parties to submit proposals for sessions here by January 31, 2020. (Jan. 24 update: this has been extended to February 7, 2020.) DEI Week organizers seek to offer unique experiences that are directed to the specific needs of faculty, staff, alumni, and students.

We also ask that you save the date for the Fourth Annual DEI keynote luncheon on Tuesday, March 3, and our Fourth Annual DEI reception on Friday, March 6, 4:00-6:30 p.m.

As in previous years, events will cover a wide array of diversity topics, including gender, race, disability status, first generation status, sexual orientation, immigration status, nationality, veteran status, and gender identity. Programming will include sponsored sessions and professional development exercises. In the past, we have hosted immersion and training sessions, panels and roundtables, as well as music, theater, and virtual reality experiences, all celebrating USC’s commitment to giving diverse perspectives respect, space, and voice.

Our focus is to provide sessions that assist the USC community in negotiating and handling difficult conversations about contentious issues. We will offer sessions designed to help our community better recognize, celebrate, and advocate for DEI in various contexts. These include managing classroom discussions, recruitment and hiring efforts, constructing transparent and inclusive governance processes, and cultivating meaningful dialogue about equity.

We thank our co-sponsor for the event, Tanya Adolph-Moran from Alumni Relations, who played a key role in creating our Intergenerational Perspectives on Diversity Series, and in advancing our DEI Film series. She will review all alumni-focused session proposals.

We also thank Naddia Palacios and Jonathan Wang in Student Affairs for their work in developing our student-focused Diversity Allyship programming, a series that explores the support and solidarity needs of different communities on the USC campus. They will review all student-sponsored or student-directed proposals.

Faculty, administrator, and staff-focused proposals will be reviewed by Associate Provost Rich and Renée Smith-Maddox, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. This year we invite sessions intended to explore learning from the USC Values Poll and ways in which these values set priorities for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across campus. All proposal questions should be sent to DEIweek@usc.edu and will be routed to the appropriate party. 

Please see the attachment for further guidance on submitting a proposal. All are welcome to submit; all are welcome to attend. We look forward to an engaging and productive week.

CC: President Carol L. Folt
Academic Deans
Academic Senate
President’s Cabinet
Provost’s Cabinet
USG President
GSG President


How do I submit a proposal for DEI Week 2020?

Proposals for sessions are being accepted through January 31, 2020. Interested parties should go to our Request for Proposals page here. Please have the following information ready for your submission:

  1. Session title and fifty-word abstract outlining the subject matter and objectives of your session
  2. Session type – live vs. online session – and expected number of participants
  3. Technology requirements
  4. Release permitting USC to record the event and post to our online training library
  5. Presenters’ exact titles and institutional affiliations, and a summary specifying any relevant special qualifications of the presenters

Financial support is available on a limited basis for artistic performances, installations, and other special programming. Lunch funding will be provided upon request for sessions with 10 participants or more and hosted during the lunchtime hour.

Preference in the selection process will be given to sessions that offer the following:

  1. Adopt a how-to approach outlining a specific practice, strategy, or model
  2. Engage participants with evidence of “what works”
  3. Facilitate reflection and foster engagement that helps translate abstract ideas into practice
  4. Advance the DEI initiatives in a particular school, unit or course
  5. Foster discovery and problem solving through idea sharing and community building, and encourage immediate short term as well as long term dialogue

Who will benefit from DEI Week 2020?

DEI Week programming is designed to appeal to a broad array of interests and inform people with different levels of exposure and different levels of understanding about diversity issues. All are welcome. However, faculty, administrators, alumni, and student leaders are especially likely to benefit from our programming, including:

  • Persons that have served or are currently serving on search and hiring committees;
  • Persons that have served or are currently serving on interview and selection panels for student admissions, awards and scholarships;
  • Persons that have served or would like to serve as a USC Diversity Liaison, or persons that would like to serve on student, alumni or faculty development committees;
  • Persons teaching classes or serving as teaching assistants in courses where diversity, equity, and inclusion are subject matter topics;
  • Persons that would like to update or enhance course offerings to better address and explore DEI issues as they arise in the classroom and/or office environment;
  • Persons that provide services to highly diverse student populations;
  • Persons interested in exploring new strategies and best practices to increase diversity in enrollment and hiring;
  • Persons that have received criticism about potential bias or insensitivity to others; and
  • Persons planning new educational initiatives, business innovations, or research projects and want to explore whether these new ventures are properly responsive to potential DEI issues.

For further questions, please feel free to email the organizers at DEIweek@usc.edu