Diversity, equity and inclusion expert Razel Jones led the senior administrative team at the University of New Orleans in a two-day professional development session on the subject of cultural intelligence and effective intercultural navigation. Jones will facilitate similar sessions in the coming weeks for all supervisors and managers at the University.
“These sessions build on the work that we have done around supporting diversity, equity and inclusion over the past several years,” said President John Nicklow. “It’s beginning with the university leadership because leaders carry the weight of shaping institutional climate and culture. As leaders and role models, it is up to all of us to examine our own cultural intelligence, sharpen our cultural lenses and strengthen our abilities to successfully navigate differences. But it can’t stop there. It’s important that all employees with supervisory responsibilities do this work to ensure that we are reaching our potential as a university.”
Jones is the director of equity and inclusion at Tennessee State University in Nashville and a certified trainer in cultural intelligence. He is an author, speaker and human resource management professional with extensive experience in higher education.
“The training provided participants an opportunity to be introspective and to seriously consider how their individual practices impact our University’s culture, productivity, and student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention,” said Tina Johnson, associate provost for faculty and diversity affairs.
All participants completed a cultural intelligence assessment in advance of the training. During the session, Jones covered the proper interpretation of the results and the ways that everyone can improve in the four capabilities of cultural intelligence: drive, knowledge, strategy and action. He also provided insight into difference and the creation of a welcoming environment where differences can produce complementary partnerships so that individuals are more effective in cross-cultural interactions.
“Razel is an amazing and engaging facilitator; I appreciate his ability to get participants to reconsider their own perceptions and understanding, and to recognize that difference is a beautiful asset to any organization,” Nicklow said.