DIVERSITY IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS: BERKELEY COLLEGE FACULTY AND WOODBRIDGE METRO CHAMBER DISCUSS DEI IN THE WORKPLACE
Berkeley College faculty shared strategies with business owners seeking to incorporate or elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices in their organizations, during a Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce – Business Owner Resource Center event, held on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at Berkeley College in Woodbridge, NJ.
“What does diversity embody?” asked Patricia Greer, JD, Chair, Legal Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies. “A lot of the time, we only think about gender and race. But diversity, equity, and inclusion are a lot more than that.”
Greer, a professor and attorney with a background in corporate transactional and not-for-profit law, developed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate offered through Berkeley College’s Continuing Education program. She shared best practices for building a diverse working environment, beginning with inclusive hiring practices that incorporate gender-neutral language and blind hiring.
Yesudas Choondassery, PhD, Humanities, Berkeley College Division of General Education, teaches a course titled “Manage Organizational Bias” within the DEI Certificate. He encouraged attendees to explore the Harvard University Implicit Association Test, which can reveal an individual’s implicit or explicit biases.
“I ask my students to take this test and to help them analyze and understand the foundations behind our biases,” Choondassery said.
Heidi Hoefinger, PhD, Social Sciences, Division of General Education, serves as the faculty advisor to the Berkeley College Gender and Sexuality Alliance, a club that provides a safe space for students, free of bias, stigma, or social exclusion.
“Diversity and cultural awareness in both the classroom and the workplace are crucial,” said Hoefinger, who teaches a course titled “Create an Equitable Workforce” within the DEI Certificate. “With the rise of globalization, it’s more important than ever to be able to work with people from different cultures and social groups.”
Hoefinger said studies have shown that businesses that prioritize DEI initiatives have greater employee retention and sales revenue.
“DEI is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense,” she said.
“The Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce is about education, networking in the community, and creating strong bonds,” said Holly Church-Doyle, Executive Director, Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Diversity in the workplace is a topic I am extremely passionate about. Today’s event is a great opportunity for our members to enrich their lives, both professionally and personally.”
The Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce is a Berkeley College Corporate Learning Partner, a program that offers discounted tuition to employees seeking to learn new skills or pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree to advance their careers.
Photo Caption (L to R): Berkeley College professors Yesudas Choondassery, PhD, Humanities, and Patricia Greer, JD, Chair, Legal Studies; Holly Church-Doyle, Executive Director, Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce; Mary Gable, Membership Director, Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce; Diane Recinos, EdD, President of Berkeley College; and Gregory Hotchkiss, ThD, Director, Berkeley College Division of General Education, during “Diversity in the Workplace” on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers Continuing Education programs to enhance career credentials.
Berkeley College has campuses in New York City and in Newark, Woodbridge, and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 3,600 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online? serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for 10 consecutive years. U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College (NJ) one of the Best Regional Colleges in the North in its 2023 edition of the Best Colleges Survey. Berkeley College (NJ) was recognized among the Best Colleges in the region for social mobility for three consecutive years. The website address is http://www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.