Diversity Best Practices Conference


Greetings from the Office of Inclusion and Diversity!  Our team is gearing up for the 2018 Diversity Best Practices Conference which will be held February 5-6, 2018. I believe this year’s theme, Accelerating Diversity in Dynamic Environments, is top-of-mind for many of us as we move into the new year.

Hosted by Auburn University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity, the 2018 Diversity Best Practice Conference, Accelerating Diversity in Dynamic Environments, focuses on advancements in diversity and inclusion initiatives among organizations impacted by constant change, limited resources, and complex political systems.

The Diversity Best Practice Conference invites thought-leaders and practitioners from distinct sectors to discuss effective inclusion and diversity strategies necessary for fostering learning and innovation. As changing societal dynamics, political shifts, and racial and religious polarization inform strategies, practitioners and professionals must be engaged with the critical skills necessary to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The conference includes a keynote by Dr. Damon Williams, inclusion and diversity thought leader, as well as a host of notable scholars and inclusion and diversity scholars and experts.

Register online today! The deadline for early-bird registration is January 5th.  Contact Dr. Timothy Fair, Chief of Staff and Special Assistant for Operations and Strategic Initiatives, with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you on the Plains!

War Eagle!


Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton
Vice President/Associate Provost
Chief Diversity Officer
Auburn University


The Diversity Best Practices Conference (DBPC) is a gathering of higher education professionals, public and private sector employees, and HR practitioners who are passionate about working to advance inclusion and diversity within their organizations. DBPC is designed to provide an opportunity for professionals to explore the advancements in diversity and inclusion initiatives among organizations that are often impacted by constant change, limited resources, and complex political systems.

The conference is designed to offer attendees the opportunity to explore organizational best practices, discuss key issues in the field, and build cross disciplinary relationships with other conference participants.

With the theme, Accelerating Diversity in Dynamic Environments, this conference aims to support a variety of areas including, but not limited to: integrating social change, strategic planning, research & innovation, assessment & planning.


Contact Information

For additional information, please contact conference chair, Dr. Timothy Fair by email: Fair@Auburn.edu or phone: (334) 844-4184.


Why Attend?  

Conference attendees will have the unique opportunity to:

  •   Review organizational D&I strategies that have produced cultures of inclusiveness and optimal productivity;
  •   Learn how to create a culturally competent workforce that is conscious of the global economy in which we live;
  •   Understand policy changes that are impacting the efficacy of organizational diversity programs;
  •   Understand the importance of measurement and comprehensive assessment practices; and,
  •   Exchange ideas and to learn best practices for the ever-changing landscape of organizational diversity.


Who Should Attend?
DBPC is open to all members of the public and will particularly benefit practitioners in the following areas:

  •      Higher Education Practitioners & Faculty Members
  •      D&I Directors and Chief Diversity Officers
  •      Public Sector Employees
  •      Corporate Professionals
  •      HR Professionals



DBPC will be held at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center  The hotel is located on Auburn’s vibrant College Street and is within walking distance to several shops and restaurants.

Click here to make your hotel reservation

The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center
241 S College St
Auburn, AL 36830

(334) 821-8200


The hotel rate for the Diversity Conference is $129 per night.

As you plan your trip, please note the following:

  • Hotel is 100% non-smoking
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM  / Check-out: 12:00 PM
  • All room rates include complimentary basic guestroom Wi-Fi.
  • The DBPC Group Rate is available until January 15, 2018, or until the room block fills

Additionally, the city of Auburn’s tourism bureau offers diverse lodging options for conference guests.

Program Info


February 5, 2018

3:30pm-5:00pm Opening Ceremony & Panel Discussion: 

Accelerating Diversity: Institutions Leading Out Front Panelists: Dr. Fran’cee Brown-McClure, Dean of Students, Spelman College; Dr. Ruby Perry, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President, Institute Diversity, Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. Bobby Woodard, Vice President, Student Affairs, Auburn University.
Moderator: Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton, Vice President and Associate Provost, Inclusion and Diversity, Auburn University
Location: Conference Center Auditorium

5:00pm-7:00pm Welcome Reception

February 6, 2018

8:00-9:15am Breakfast & Plenary Session

Accelerating Diversity ROI: Leveraging Metrics and Analytics to tell the D&I Story
Mr. Chad Johnson, Regional Director of Diversity & Analytics, Sodexo
Location: Grand Ballroom
Successful business leaders understand that diversity can be leveraged as a competitive edge and must be accounted for in the equation for continued business development. This session will highlight the diversity initiatives that Sodexo has made that go far beyond affirmative action and compliance standards. The aim of this session is to explore the role of diversity metrics and analytics and their impact and influence on business decisions (recruitment, retention, promotion, market investments).

9:30am-10:30am Concurrent Workshops A:

Accelerating Diversity-Focused Collaborative Partnerships: New Opportunities For Industry And Higher Education Institutions
Mr. Sylvester Mendoza, Corporate Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Northrop Grumman
Location: Legacy Ballroom II
Diversity and Inclusion are crucial to the success of both higher education institutions and private industries alike. Intentional engagement and involvement helps build commitment and leads to action. This session will explore opportunities for diversity operations to use collaboration to spur innovation and learning.  Ideas for corporate and higher education collaborative partnerships will be highlighted.

Accelerating Inclusion in A Complex Political Climate: UNDOCUStudents
Dr. Tremayne Waller, Director, Student Success Programs, Interim Director Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, Cornell University
Location: Terrace Room
Uncertainty is reality for undocumented students on campuses across the United States. Assisting these students and their families to stay safe and participate fully in their communities requires additional considerations. This session is designed to assist educators who provide support to undocumented students in educational institutions in the current political landscape. Through this this interactive workshop, you will gain greater understanding of challenges faced by undocumented students and leverage understanding of federal and local contexts to provide support.

10:45am-11:45am Concurrent Workshops B:

Accelerating Human Capital and Talent Pipeline
Presenter: Mr. Joe Bryant, Manager, Inclusion and Diversity Workforce Programs and Strategy, VF Corporation
Location: Legacy Ballroom II
Our global economy necessitates a more sophisticated approach to talent management.  This session is designed for participants who want to learn strategies to build a thriving, future focused talent pipeline.  This workshop will provide strategies and techniques for creating a diverse pipeline focused on finding, developing and retaining talent.

Proactive Acceleration: The Benefits of Supplier Diversity to Organizational Success
Mr. Eric Watson, CEO and President, Carolina-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council
Location: Oak Room
Supplier diversity refers to an intentional business strategy that ensures diversity in the procurement of goods and services. Based upon shifting demographic realities, all organizations must consider the ways in which suppliers open channels in understanding changing consumer needs. Supplier diversity is not only a smart business decision but an imperative to drive value and economic development. This workshop is designed to empower you with the tools to leverage procurement plans for innovation and growth.

Accelerating the Participation of Women in STEM: Increased Organizational Investment in Workforce Diversity
Ms. Bianca Castagna, Manager, Environmental Health and Safety, Ginny Cavett, Lead Process Engineer, GE Aviation
Dr. Annette Kluck
Location: Terrace Room
The modern global economy is dominated by information, knowledge and technology.  STEM disciplines are the foundation for many careers in the new economy.  There has been a consistent and increasing need nationally and globally for the engagement of more women in STEM related disciplines to impact the presence of women in STEM related careers. With an emphasis on the growing the presence of STEM women, this session will focus on the efforts of a corporation committed to increasing its investment and impact in operationalizing workforce diversity.  It will also feature panelists who will share their experiences as women who have pursued STEM fields academically and professionally.

12:00-1:30pm Lunch & Keynote Address: Diversity and Innovation: Empowering Leaders through Inclusive Excellence
Keynote Speaker: 
Dr. Damon A. Williams, Chief Catalyst and Scholar, The Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Impact, Senior Scholar and Innovation Fellow, Equity and Inclusion Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Location: Grand Ballroom


1:45pm – 2:45pm Concurrent Workshops C:

Accelerating Impact During Leadership and Organizational Transition in Inclusion and Diversity
Presenter: Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton, Vice President and Associate Provost, Inclusion and Diversity, Auburn University
Location: Oak Room
Leadership turnover in diversity and inclusion offices provides a tremendous “reset” opportunity.  From the review of staffing models, to identification of voids in expertise and key functions to greater alignment of diversity and inclusion operations with institutional goals to advance diversity, there are positive shifts that can occur in moments of change.  This session will focus on key steps to positioning a refreshed diversity and inclusion operation following transition.

Acceleration Through Collaboration
Julie Huff, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Communications, Ada Wilson, Assistant Vice President for Access and Inclusive Excellence and Julia Charles, Assistant Professor, English (African American Literature), Auburn University
Location: Terrace Room
As Auburn University began to address matters of diversity and inclusion and free speech through the Critical Conversations Speakers Series in the fall of 2017, faculty were encouraged to cultivate and implement ideas to extend the conversation and learning into the classroom and co-curricular environments.  This session will showcase a Critical Conversations-inspired classroom collaboration engaged by professionals from the Provost’s Office, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and a faculty member from the College of Liberal Arts.

Women in Leadership: Accelerating Change and Expanding Influence
Ms. Carol Godfrey (Southwire), Dr. Joyce Gossom (Bestgurl, Inc), Ms. Angelia Duncan, JD (Bryan Cave, LLP)
Dr. Vini Nathan, Auburn University
Location: Legacy II Room
This session will help examine the systemic barriers to women’s achievement and powerful strategies for change.  Participants will be challenged to learn the context for individual growth and impact.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Concurrent Workshops D:

Accelerating Recruitment For Diverse Faculty
Presenter: Dr. Damon A. Williams, Chief Catalyst and Scholar, The Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Impact, Senior Scholar and Innovation Fellow, Equity and Inclusion Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Location: Terrace Room
Across the country, institutions are engaged in efforts designed to diversify their faculty.  Given the importance of hiring practices in achieving a diverse professoriate, this session is designed to unpack some of the challenges to diversifying the faculty and to provide participants with the tools needed to more effectively recruit and retain diverse faculty members.

Accelerating Excellence Through Strategic Planning
Dr. Timothy Fair, Special Assistant, Operations and Strategic Initiatives, Auburn University; Mr. Garry Morgan, Special Assistant, Inclusion and Diversity Education, Auburn University, Mr. Bill Shackleford, President, ACTA
Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton, Vice President and Associate Provost, Inclusion and Diversity, Auburn University
Location: Legacy II Room
Within the last few decades, institutions have explored various ways to institutionalize and frame its diversity and inclusion mission and to advance its diversity goals.  This session focuses on strategic planning initiatives at Auburn University designed to advance diversity and inclusion, cultural competence and inclusive excellence within the institution’s academic and administrative units.  The workshop unpacks the question, “How can institutions develop key unit based goals, linking them to larger institutional diversity and inclusion priorities to drive change and goal attainment?”


Registration for Auburn University’s Diversity Best Practices Conference is now open!

Register today using the online registration form.

Early Bird Registration $150
December 5- January 5, 2018

Regular Registration $175
January 5-February 1, 2018

Online registration will close on February 1, 2018


Cancelation Policy

If you are unable to attend the Diversity Best Practices Conference and would like to request a refund, please contact Dr. Timothy Fair at (334) 844-2620 or Fair@Auburn.edu.

To cancel registration, you must contact us no later than January 19, 2018. For cancellations made by January 19th, registration fees will be refunded less a $25 cancellation fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations made after January 31st.