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DEI Checklist

A thorough checklist to help improve the effectiveness and engagement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility professional development events.

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Download pdf handout on DEI here ----->  

Session Administration


General Principles

Integrate training that develops specific levels of awareness about systemic issues such as:
      Whiteness, racism, power differentials, and

      Experiences by specific groups

Address intersectionality and intersectional identities

Address the "us versus them" mentality

Be sensitive to and address external, contextual, or current events in the training, such as political events, news, social and cultural happenings, and legislative developments

Make PDEs practical and make sure that participants leave with concrete take-aways

Advance Communication with Attendees


Communicate intended outcomes in advance

Provide training material in advance

Solicit questions from the audience in advance anonymously

Psychologically prepare participants that conversations will be uncomfortable

Take a differential approach to session design and delivery based on different levels of knowledge, awareness, and preparedness of participants - try to gauge this beforehand

For the most effective reflection, provide prompts so that participants are equipped to speak on these matters


Communication and Dynamics During the Session

Acceptance - try to understand different ways of thinking and expression instead of prescribing "right" ways of approaching DEI issues; expose participants to alternative ways of thinking

Relatability - design engagements and exercises that allow participants to relate to DEI issues from the standpoint of their own life experiences


Specific Engagement Techniques

Cultural knowledge and sensitivity - approach sessions with the understanding of specific cultural backgrounds

Marathon, not a sprint - devote a significant amount of time to the topic instead of holding one-shot brief sessions, with the related emphasis on repetition, reinforcement, and scalability, persistence, and creativity

Variety - combine multiple pedagogical techniques, e.g. recommended readings provided in advance; lectures; videos; individual and group reflections sessions; balance of formal and informal engagements; balance of interactive and instructive content; relevant activities and concepts; role-playing; small group discussions; kinetic exercises. See our list of exercises here

Power of personal narratives - use narrative techniques and storytelling as personal stories are a way to reach and engage people on an emotional level

Event Organization



Invite individuals with firsthand experience in DEI in their personal and professional lives as facilitators and presenters; also include them in sessions as participants

Invite experts from outside of LIS who specialize in DEI training

In PDEs related to race and racism, invite facilitators who are skilled at leading uncomfortable conversations instead of keeping the white majority in their comfort zone

Ensure that facilitators have a good deal of experiential and expert reflection on DEIand on their role as facilitators and are able to intervene effectively if the situation escalates or becomes harmful to some participants

Ensure fair compensation to BIPOC facilitators who are often not only asked to participate and lead but also overextended by requests for PDEs facilitation


Safe (and Brave) Spaces

Ensure safe spaces through codes of conduct and other measures for BIPOC and other minoritized participants in order to allow them to:

      Leave threatening conversations as needed

      Have a chance to discuss issues of relevance and concern in a safe environment

      Have the opportunity to get centered and build rapport



Be intentional in developing networking opportunities at PDEs

Integrate mindfulness sessions into PDEs

Policy-Related Suggestions

Make More DEI-related PDEs Mandatory, Not Optional


Be Acutely Aware That BIPOC and Other Minoritized Colleagues Shoulder the Burden and Responsibility of DEI Training Facilitation and Factor This in Decision-Making

Hold Managers and Leaders Accountable for Ensuring DEI Training Opportunities and their Effectiveness

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

Demonstrate Accessible and Inclusive Practices

      Use the microphone

      Ask whether people have dietary restrictions

      Use accessible materials for people with low vision

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