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Unread 09-15-2017, 02:03 PM
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[FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Posted on the FRC Blog, 9/15/17: https://www.firstinspires.org/roboti...sity-inclusion

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Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Written by Frank Merrick, 2017 SEP 15.

One of the Five Strategic Pillars of FIRST is Increase Diversity. As Don Bossi, President of FIRST, said in this blog “we need kids of all backgrounds, capabilities and social circumstances to contribute and participate in addressing the world’s toughest challenges and making the world a better place for future generations.”

How teams and volunteers can support this so-important effort is not always obvious. Training can help. FIRST has made available a series of three free training modules under the umbrella title “Strategies for Inspiring Success for All.” The three modules are “Invisible Inequities,” “Hidden Messages,” and “Inspiring Success.” Each module takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. They include interactive exercises that will help you understand the material and take steps toward implementing a personalized plan to support equity, diversity, and inclusion on your team. If you are a mentor or student on a FIRST Robotics Competition team and are in the process of recruiting for the upcoming season (and it’s going to be a good one), now would be a great time to take this training!

Even if you are not on a team, but are a volunteer at FIRST events, I strongly recommend this training. Every interaction you have with a student or mentor, no matter how casual, is an opportunity to make FIRST a more inclusive and welcoming place. This, in turn, takes us one small step toward the goal of fully reflecting the communities we serve.

You can find out more about this training here. Please sign up, take the training, and help FIRST and the world move forward.

Frank
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Unread 09-15-2017, 03:56 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Other than the standard grants that are available to everyone, does FIRST have any programs that lower the cost of entry in disadvantaged or highly rural areas where funds are not really available for teams?
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Unread 09-15-2017, 05:25 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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Other than the standard grants that are available to everyone, does FIRST have any programs that lower the cost of entry in disadvantaged or highly rural areas where funds are not really available for teams?
Check out the FIRST STEM Equity grant (and winners)!
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Unread 09-15-2017, 07:37 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
Other than the standard grants that are available to everyone, does FIRST have any programs that lower the cost of entry in disadvantaged or highly rural areas where funds are not really available for teams?
There were also grants given out through BEST BUY in previous seasons that were earmarked towards underserved communities. This was done in conjunction with the FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA program. I believe it was not renewed for this year however.

And while this isn't directly tied to funding, FIRST AmeriCorps VISTAs' work is specifically on reducing poverty through STEM programs. They primarily support teams and organizations that are running/managing programs in underserved areas. Highly recommend alumni to give a year of service to VISTA. I found the experience very rewarding.
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Unread 09-16-2017, 01:52 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

I wish that main contacts and KVs were required to do this when we update our registration for the year, but having this training is a great start. Creating a positive learning environment for our students is the main priority. Do that, and then everything else can fall in to place.
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Unread 09-16-2017, 04:04 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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I wish that main contacts and KVs were required to do this when we update our registration for the year, but having this training is a great start. Creating a positive learning environment for our students is the main priority. Do that, and then everything else can fall in to place.
I am such a big proponent of these modules and I think that requiring training from KVs and mentors would be great. However, YPP is already a hassle - I think if FIRST could combine this training with YPP training, we would be in great shape. One more set of training is a hard obstacle and increases the barrier of entry for volunteers which, in a way, is what else are trying to avoid with this education.
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Unread 09-20-2017, 07:50 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity of thought is what is valuable to a design process. It is not a coincidence that ethnic/gender/age/etc. diversity tends to increase thought diversity, but these are not the same.

In other words, gender/etc. diversity in and of itself might not lead to thought diversity. However, it usually does. Be wary of one without the other.
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Unread 09-20-2017, 09:41 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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Originally Posted by DonRotolo View Post
Diversity of thought is what is valuable to a design process. It is not a coincidence that ethnic/gender/age/etc. diversity tends to increase thought diversity, but these are not the same.

In other words, gender/etc. diversity in and of itself might not lead to thought diversity. However, it usually does. Be wary of one without the other.
+many

I have met white anglo-saxons whose thoughts were way out there, and been part of groups which included minorities, but where I was the wacko.

However, by and large, the most robust group is attained by combining two or more populations who normally have little interactoin. As an example which does not specifically involve either gender or race, let me enter my current professional work group (5-8 people at various times). Our task is to provide acoustic support products and analyses to US Navy forces worldwide who are engaged directly or indirectly in antisubmarine warfare missions. In this case, color and gender didn't really matter, and have never been considered for balance purposes -- our branch was intentionally balanced between acoustics scientists/technicians on one side, and retired military personnel (both weather/ocean and sonar ratings) on the other. We've taught each other so much in the past five years that I can't properly express it here, even though neither of us is ready to take over for the other. Diversity of thought/point of view is productive, whether it represents different races, genders, career paths, or any of that infinite variety of influences on our lives.
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Unread 09-21-2017, 09:07 AM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

if it cost a lot for one team, it should cost a lot for all teams shows dedication.

i am interested in hearing numbers on how many take these "Learning modules"
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Unread 09-22-2017, 05:03 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Not sure about other key volunteers, but I'm planning on doing the training. Seems like another good skill to have in my volunteer toolbox.
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Unread 09-22-2017, 06:12 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonRotolo View Post
Diversity of thought is what is valuable to a design process. It is not a coincidence that ethnic/gender/age/etc. diversity tends to increase thought diversity, but these are not the same.

In other words, gender/etc. diversity in and of itself might not lead to thought diversity. However, it usually does. Be wary of one without the other.
I'm pretty sure FIRST's strategic pillar "Increase Diversity" is more about about easing access and support to their programs across all demographics of students than optimizing the design process. (see quote below from the blog linked in the OP). Thought diversity is great, but fostering an environment that is comfortable and inclusive for all ethnicities/genders/age groups/etc. is much more important.

" If you believe, like I do, that FIRST programs are real game changers for kids, opening them to a world of opportunity and enabling them to become the critical innovators and problem solvers of tomorrow, then shouldn’t every kid have access to these Programs?"
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Unread 09-22-2017, 07:18 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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I'm pretty sure FIRST's strategic pillar "Increase Diversity" is more about about easing access and support to their programs across all demographics of students than optimizing the design process. (see quote below from the blog linked in the OP). Thought diversity is great, but fostering an environment that is comfortable and inclusive for all ethnicities/genders/age groups/etc. is much more important.

" If you believe, like I do, that FIRST programs are real game changers for kids, opening them to a world of opportunity and enabling them to become the critical innovators and problem solvers of tomorrow, then shouldn’t every kid have access to these Programs?"
This is a solid point. With Diversity and Inclusion, the goal is to create such accessibility with FIRST programs so that diversity comes naturally.

Forcing diversity is not really something that is effective nor realistic. However, leveling the playing field is something that can very much be done with a little bit of effort from everyone. With a level playing field comes people from all different backgrounds with different experiences, interests, and goals.

So do it - take the training! The link is in my signature (it has been there for quite a few months now) and it really doesn't take very long.
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Unread 09-22-2017, 07:40 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdoming View Post
I'm pretty sure FIRST's strategic pillar "Increase Diversity" is more about about easing access and support to their programs across all demographics of students than optimizing the design process. (see quote below from the blog linked in the OP). Thought diversity is great, but fostering an environment that is comfortable and inclusive for all ethnicities/genders/age groups/etc. is much more important.

" If you believe, like I do, that FIRST programs are real game changers for kids, opening them to a world of opportunity and enabling them to become the critical innovators and problem solvers of tomorrow, then shouldn’t every kid have access to these Programs?"
You're talking about equal opportunity, not diversity. Equal opportunity is not pushing people away. Diversity is actively drawing in people with different experiences, usually for the enrichment of the team and its members. I agree that equal opportunity is morally normative while diversity is morally praiseworthy - but they're not the same thing.
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Unread 09-22-2017, 07:47 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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You're talking about equal opportunity, not diversity. Equal opportunity is not pushing people away. Diversity is actively drawing in people with different experiences, usually for the enrichment of the team and its members. I agree that equal opportunity is morally normative while diversity is morally praiseworthy - but they're not the same thing.
You are talking equality vs. equity here.

Equality is not pushing people away. Equity is meeting people where they need to be met to allow for true equal opportunity.

The Diversity & Inclusion training encompasses issues of equality and equity. The equality and equity comes more into play with the inclusion aspect.

Arguably all of this is necessary but you are right that diversity, equality, inclusion, and equity are not synonyms.
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Unread 09-22-2017, 08:26 PM
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Re: [FRC Blog] Training on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

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You are talking equality vs. equity here.

Equality is not pushing people away. Equity is meeting people where they need to be met to allow for true equal opportunity.

The Diversity & Inclusion training encompasses issues of equality and equity. The equality and equity comes more into play with the inclusion aspect.

Arguably all of this is necessary but you are right that diversity, equality, inclusion, and equity are not synonyms.
By Equal Opportunity, I meant what you (and presumably FIRST) call equity. An example from several of the EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) classes I've had over the years involved a local sheriff who had a rule that his deputies must be over six feet tall (perhaps it was even taller). A judge ruled that this was a barrier (that is, not equal opportunity) to women and various ethnicities because fewer of them were of the requisite height than caucasian males, and that there was no reason that a shorter person was incapable of being an effective deputy. This is what I meant by equal opportunity. I certainly do not mean to restrict this to physical characteristics only!
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