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ACRL 2019 President's Program

Discussion, information, and additional resources for the 2019 ACRL President's Program. Opinions expressed by blog authors are their own and do not express the views or opinions of their employers or of ACRL.

Realizing Inclusive Work Environments

by Hallie Clawson on 2019-07-05T12:20:00-05:00 | 0 Comments

This week’s post was written by Nastasha E. Johnson & Jason Sokoloff, on behalf of the ACRL President’s Program Planning Committee and ACRL College & Research Libraries.

To a packed room of more than 250 attendees, Dr. Angela Spranger presented “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion… and Leadership: Where Do We Go From Here?” a talk about inclusive leadership and why diversity initiatives fail. The session was the culminating event of the yearlong ACRL President’s Program on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).


A business-school faculty member at Christopher Newport University and management consultant, Spranger described how workplace behaviors and biases affect people’s decision to join and stay in organizations. She described how, despite professed efforts and articulated priorities, the inherent interest in maintaining the status quo, confirmation of groupthink, and diversity fatigue all have an impact on employee recruitment and retention.


Engaging attendees through small-group discussions, Spranger offered ways of thinking about recruitment and organizational culture that strive towards inclusion and innovation:

  • Rather than hiring someone for their perceived “fit,” we should be hiring for what the organization needs now and in the future.
  • Workgroup effectiveness depends on different cultural norms represented by the group. While cultural communication differences can be a hindrance, diverse groups can yield innovation.
  • Leading inclusively requires emotional and cultural intelligence, self and social awareness, self and relationship management.
  • Progressing into equity requires inviting people to change (without coercion or shame) and consciously responding to that change.
  • Foster belongingness and value uniqueness by sharing the spotlight, rotating responsibilities, empowering others, and seeking opinions.


Emphasizing that we are all leaders who can create safe and inclusive places for people to work and succeed, Spranger described EDI work as messy, necessary, and complicated. She advocated for moving beyond our best intentions toward realizing inclusive and effective work environments.


Nastasha Johnson, Purdue University and School of Information Studies,

Jason Sokoloff, University of Washington, 

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