Inclusive language training for higher ed communicators

The Evolving World of Inclusive Language

How to Develop and Apply Best Practices

UMBC hosted “The Evolving World of Inclusive Language” virtual conference on June 10, 2020. Nearly 800 people from across the U.S. and around the world registered, and 250-300 participants, on average, joined each session.

Below are the links to the session recordings and presenter decks as well as contact information for each presenter. All videos are captioned. Feel free to share the links. The information is for anyone who is interested in the topic. 

If you are looking for additional resources, you might start with The Diversity Style Guide by Rachele Kanigel, a professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, as well as the accompanying website. In addition, Montgomery College, our conference partner, will host a Cultural Intelligence and Inclusive Language event on June 24, 2020. Registration is now open.

The purpose of the event

The goal of this conference was to give college and university communicators tools to develop more inclusive writing, including to support their work creating, managing, and updating inclusive language style guides.

Inclusive language style guides serve to help communicators engage broad audiences through messages, stories, social media, and websites that reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Speaker information and session recordings

Introductory Session

Presentation recording

Keynote: Inclusive Language in Higher Education Communications During COVID-19

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DàVida Plummer, Hampton University davida.plummer@hamptonu.edu

Dean, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications; Assistant Vice President for Marketing/Media

DàVida Plummer returned to Hampton University to join the faculty of Scripps Howard School of Journalism after over 30 successful years in some of the nation’s top newsrooms. She is a six-time Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked on both sides of the camera, including as a senior executive producer and news director launching news programs in some of the most competitive media markets in the country.

UMBC Keynote: Elevating Voices: The UMBC Inclusive Language Process

How university leadership sets the stage for inclusive language evolution and innovation.

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Candace Dodson-Reed ’96, English, UMBC cdodreed@umbc.edu

Chief of Staff, Office of the President; Executive Director, Office of Equity and Inclusion

Candace Dodson-Reed serves as the chief of staff to the president and executive director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion at UMBC. Prior to her appointment in 2018, she was the AVP of communications and public affairs at UMBC.  Dodson-Reed also serves as an appointed commissioner in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights-Maryland State Advisory Committee and serves on the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Board of Directors, in addition to numerous other leadership roles in prominent local and state organizations.

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B. Ever Hanna, UMBC  everhann@umbc.edu

Training Case Manager, Office of Equity and Inclusion

Ever Hanna holds a J.D. from Villanova University and a B.S. from Boston University. They joined UMBC in early 2020 after serving as the policy director for End Rape on Campus, a national survivor advocacy organization. Prior to this, they worked as a social services coordinator and educator.

Panel: Inclusive Language for Students and Staff: From Intent to Impact

Presentation deck/ Session Recording

The panel will address key aspects of inclusive language: how self-work impacts our language and assumptions; the considerations of the audience in regards to selected language and tone; as well as the specific needs of the “non-traditional” student population.

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Jasmine Lee MSW, PhD, UMBC jaslee@umbc.edu

Director of Inclusive Excellence

Jasmine Lee serves as director of inclusive excellence in UMBC’s Division of Student Affairs. Throughout her career in higher education, she has implemented strategic student success initiatives focused on a holistic student experience, while providing leadership and consultation for racial climate concerns and broader diversity issues for faculty, students, and staff. Lee’s research focuses on Black college student experiences, social justice, critical race theory, academic resilience, and theory-to-practice methods for higher education professionals. Additionally, she is a trained clinical social worker, with a BSW from Eastern Michigan University and MSW from the University of Michigan.

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Lisa M. Gray, UMBC lisamgray@umbc.edu

Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Campus Life

Lisa M. Gray came to UMBC in 2006 as the assistant director of Student Life, Cultural and Spiritual Diversity, where she served for over 11 years before advancing to her current role. Prior to her work at UMBC, Gray worked for state and higher education institutions developing diversity programs.  Gray holds an M.A. in Education Policy and Leadership: Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in English literature from University of Richmond. 

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Carlos Turcios ’14, psychology, M.A. ’17, sociology, UMBC  carlos6@umbc.edu

Coordinator for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Campus Life

Carlos Turcios has been part of the UMBC campus community for over a decade. He is currently the program associate for Diversity and Inclusion in Campus Life, and prior to this was a Hispanic and Latinx Student Community Outreach intern at UMBC’s Mosaic Center. His master’s research focused on the difficulties that immigrants from Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle experience with immigration and life in the United States.

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Vlad Rodriguez, UMBC vrodri@umbc.edu

Assistant Director of Off-Campus Student Services

Vladimir Rodriguez joined UMBC as a community director for UMBC Campus Life in 2018. He holds an M.Ed in curriculum and instruction from Salisbury University.

Panel: Gender-Inclusive Language and the LGBTQ Community

Presentation deck/ Session recording (This recording will be posted soon.)

What is gender-inclusive language and why is it important? Presenters will review key issues related to gender and social inclusion, and will share strategies and suggestions for implementing gender-inclusive language in workplaces, schools, and policies, as well as everyday interactions.

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Christine Mallinson, Ph.D., UMBC mallinson@umbc.edu

Director of the Center for Social Science Scholarship; Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture; and Affiliate Professor of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

Christine Mallinson is the author of four books and other publications across the areas of linguistics, education, and gender studies. Her work has been covered extensively in the media, including radio, news, and magazine appearances in such outlets as National Public Radio, Glamour Magazine, Ms., The Atlantic, Business Insider, and The Baltimore Sun.

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J. Inscoe, UMBC jinscoe1@umbc.edu

Ph.D. candidate in Language, Literacy, and Culture 

Their research centers on the intersection of gender studies, radio studies, and linguistics.


Disability, Neurodiversity, and Practicing Inclusion

Presentation deck/ Session recording

Thirty years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, higher education institutions continue to struggle to meet the needs of disabled and neurodiverse students even as their representation in student populations increases. In this session, we will discuss common conflicts between institutional norms and inclusive practices related to disability and neurodiversity and how this tension is affected by the language we use to describe disabilities. Attendees will learn about using inclusive language in their teaching and research as well as strategies for being an ally to disabled and neurodiverse students in university life.

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Drew Holladay, Ph.D., UMBC  holladay@umbc.edu

Assistant Professor of English

Drew Holladay’s research combines rhetorical theory, disability studies, and feminist theory to examine writing about mental health, the brain, and disability activism.

Creating Inclusive Communities Among Students, Employees, Alumni, and Trustee Boards through Equity Dialogues

Presentation deck/ Session recording

Montgomery College developed The Roadmap for Success, a data driven approach to creating inclusive communities. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, the Office of Equity and Inclusion identified a cycle of change to engage all members of its campus community.

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Sharon Bland, Montgomery College (MC)  Sharon.Bland@montgomerycollege.edu

Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer 

Sharon Bland holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in political science and African American studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Prior to joining MC, Bland held president and vice-president positions in corporate consulting firms across Washington, D.C., for over a decade. She also served for four years as the director/senior policy advisor for Education for the Executive Office of the Mayor in Washington, D.C. Prior to this, Bland was the director for the Office of University Affairs and Community Programs at the University of the District of Columbia.  

How to Create and Maintain an Inclusive Language Style Guide

Presentation deck/ Session recording

This session will address why an inclusive language style guide is necessary for universities to offer a welcoming and affirming environment for students and staff. Using UMBC’s process as a guide, this session will explore the collaborative style guide creation process that results in an effective and relevant living document. 

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Randianne Leyshon ’09, modern language and linguistics, UMBC leysra1@umbc.edu

Assistant Editor, UMBC Magazine; Co-creator, UMBC Inclusive Language Style Guide

Randianne Leyshon is the assistant editor of UMBC Magazine. She’s worked in higher education for more than a decade, writing and editing for university communications. She’s a proud alumna of UMBC, holds her master’s in journalism from the University of Oregon, and was the first Fulbright placement at Syktyvkar State University in Russia.

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Amelia Meman ’15, gender and women’s studies, UMBC meman1@umbc.edu

Assistant Director, Women’s Center at UMBC

Amelia Meman (they/them and she/her) is an advocate, educator, and social worker. As the assistant director of the Women’s Center at UMBC, their praxis combines feminist theory, social justice commitment, creative pedagogy, and clinical therapeutic skills in order to support historically marginalized student populations. Amelia is a proud alum of UMBC and holds their master’s in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s School of Social Work. 

Hosted by UMBC in partnership with Montgomery County Community College. Sponsored by CASE District II.