Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion at Peirce College

By Sonya Weigle

A few years ago, the College was looking to strengthen these established ethics by exploring an initiative called diversity and inclusion (D&I).  At its core, D&I is the idea that an organization accepts and acknowledges its diverse population, and works to create an environment where this diversity is truly embraced.  The benefit of creating this kind of an environment is that people feel more valued and free to express their ideas, driving better innovation, and creating a more productive environment.  So in 2012, Peirce enlisted me through SWI Human Capital Solutions to help start its D&I journey.

Over the past three years, we’ve surveyed the Peirce community and fostered a series of focus groups – in which some of you may have participated – so we could better understand the College’s readiness for D&I.

Overall, we identified five key themes Peirce could focus on to keep the members of its community healthy and happy: diversity of thought and appreciation for personal differences, generational diversity, communication and interaction among employees, sexual orientation and LGBT issues, and respect across levels and departments.

To embrace this new way of thinking, we’ve created the Peirce College Diversity and Inclusion Council, comprised of people from across the College who are tasked with implementing D&I into our daily life.

To recognize this important step in Peirce’s history, the Council has planned a series of events that will take place from April 9 through April 11, celebrating our vision for the future. The schedule of events includes:

Wednesday, April 9th at 9:00am: “I am Peirce” Kick-off Event & Getting to Know Peirce
Join us to celebrate the kick-off of our event series and check out the premier of a new video highlighting the faces of Peirce College.
Location: College Hall Rooms 51-52
Wednesday, April 9th at 5:30pm: Salsa Event: Come Dance with Us
5:30 - 5:45pm     Networking and food
5:45 - 7:15pm     Dancing facilitated by dance instructor
7:15 - 8:00pm     More dancing, food, and networking
Location: College Hall Room: Room 51-52
Thursday, April 10th at 12:00PM: Learning through the Experience of Others (Lunch and Learn Breakout Sessions)
You are encouraged to participate in round table discussions with members of the Peirce community. Topics include:  
  • African American Males: Struggling with Society's Perception – facilitated by Kareem Calliste (Room 31)
  • Nontraditional Adult Learners: Challenges and Opportunities (an online discussion) – facilitated by Adrian Zappala (Room 69)
  • (To join the discussion online: (
  • Spiritually Speaking: A Discussion of Faith, Religion, and You  – facilitated by Rosemary Connors (Room 54)
  • Veterans: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – facilitated by Margie Pannell, Derek Rossi, and current Peirce student Diana Kirkland (Room 61)
  • Working Parents: Avoiding the Superhero Syndrome and Creating Work-life Balance  – facilitated by Rita Toliver-Roberts (Room 41)
Location: College Hall Rooms as noted above for each round table discussion

Thursday, April 10th at 5:30PM: Annual Pride Day Event (LGBTQ)
5:30 - 5:45pm    Networking 
5:45 - 7:00pm    Program - facilitated by Barry James ’07.  Topics include:  Gay Marriage, Navigating Work and/or School, and Support Systems
7:00 - 7:30pm    Networking
Location: College Hall Room: Room 51-52
Friday, April 11th at 12:00PM: Celebration of Cultures
Join us for a celebration to appreciate the food, music, and fun that makes the Peirce community unique. 
Location: College Hall Rooms 51-52

To RSVP to one or more of these events, click here

This new initiative will provide the opportunity for everyone in the Peirce community to feel safe in sharing new ideas and perspectives. So on April 9, let’s get ready to celebrate our differences!

Sonya is a seasoned human resources consultant with 20 years of consulting experience.  Her areas of expertise include strategic human resource planning and implementation, change management, organization design & development and diversity consulting.  Sonya has worked for global organizations as a senior human resources executive as well as leading consulting teams that work to align strategic human resources initiatives with business objectives. Sonya has been working with Peirce since their Diversity & Inclusion journey began in the summer of 2012.