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Diversity Certificate Program

"Supporting an environment rich in diverse perspectives, cultures, beliefs and experiences allows us to foster a more thoughtful and welcoming community and strengthen our ability to work cooperatively toward our core mission."

- Joe DiPietro, former University of Tennessee president


dr. steve schwab

Steve J. Schwab, MD
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center


Dr. Ken Brown

Kennard D. Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE
Executive Vice Chancellor
Chief Operations Officer
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center


Dr. Lori Gonzalez

Lori S. Gonzalez, PhD
Vice Chancellor
Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center


Dr. Michael Alston

Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP/AP
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Equity and Diversity
Chief Diversity Officer
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center


About the Program

The Office of Equity and Diversity is excited to announce the Diversity Certificate Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). Increasingly, diversity and inclusion are becoming strategic business drivers that have a direct impact on organizational effectiveness and reputation. Investing in diversity and inclusion is paramount to improving employee engagement, serving students more effectively, increasing institutional innovation, and preparing more knowledgeable health care professionals. 

The program will demonstrate that embracing diversity and inclusion can bring a broader range of perspectives and backgrounds into our organization, leading to more effective decision-making. Participants will gain a sound understanding of the latest research and best practices in the fields of cultural competency and diversity. 

This initiative is a training opportunity for faculty and staff and in alignment with the Chancellor’s priority on Equity and Inclusion.

Spring 2020

Diversity Certificate Conference

Applications accepted: January 13 - 31

Submit an Application
Diversity Certificate Conference

The Diversity Certificate Conference (or “DCP Conference”) was designed to offer UTHSC staff and faculty the opportunity to participate in the Diversity Certificate Program in a compressed, 2-day format. Participants will attend ten sessions that include the six core courses, three elective courses (which will be filled on a first come, first served basis), and one lunchtime panel discussion. All ten sessions are required in order to receive the certificate.

To earn the certificate, signed by Chancellor Schwab, participants must pass a “final exam,” covering content from the six core courses, with a score of 75% or higher. This test will be delivered via Blackboard in the week following the conference. Elective course options will include some of those listed in the curriculum, along with a few new options. More information about electives and enrollment will be available soon.


Participants in the program can expect to:

  • Explore their own background, identities, and values.
  • Develop critical competencies relevant to a wide variety of disciplines.
  • Deepen their understanding of historical and institutionalized policies that continue to impact inequities for diverse and marginalized populations.
  • Learn tools for decreasing bias and supporting a more inclusive climate for underrepresented minorities at UTHSC.


To develop a more knowledgeable workforce by enhancing staff competencies and capacity relevant to diversity and inclusion, in order to leverage these toward achieving and sustaining campus-wide excellence. 

Specific objectives:

  • Understanding foundational concepts for diversity and inclusion.
  • Connect the impact of diversity and inclusion to key organizational goals to identify critical gaps that impact overall effectiveness.
  • Help create a culture that values differences and celebrates a global outlook in understanding diversity.
  • Considerations and tools for creating an inclusive climate at work and within the community.
  • Professional development.
  • Contribute to the University community by addressing unmet diversity needs.

The curriculum focuses on exploring foundational concepts essential to enhancing an inclusive work environment, through lecture, experiential activities, and independent learning activities.

The four-month certificate program’s curriculum builds knowledge, understanding, and application methodologies to address dynamics within a diverse academic health science center. Those who pursue the certificate will learn more about ways in which they can assist and improve their ability to contribute in a manner that is welcoming and inclusive.

To earn the Certificate in Diversity, participants must complete six (6) required courses. Additionally, participants must select four (4) elective courses to complete and participate in experiential learning activities.

  Course Name Course Type Units
1 Accommodation Process: ADA & Religion Required 1.5
2 Management Supervision: What’s Law Got to do With It? Required 1.5
3 Managing Conflict in a Diverse Workplace Required 2.0
4 Diversity and Inclusion Literacy Required 2.0
5 Practicing Cultural Humility Required 1.5
5 Unconscious Bias: Do Your Employees Feel In or Out? Required 1.5
6 MBTI: Communicating with Diverse Personalities Required 3
Total 6 Required Courses    

Elective Courses (A minimum of four required.)

  • Complaints: Formal and Informal
  • Star Power Workshop
  • Generational Diversity in the Workplace
  • Drop by Drop Workshop
  • Interrupting Bias in the Search Process
  • Safe Zones and LGBTQ
  • Sexual Harassment in the #MeToo Era
Faculty, Speakers, and Presenters

Diversity Certificate Program Leader

  • Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP/AP
    Assistant Vice Chancellor for Equity and Diversity
    Title IX Coordinator

Resident Instructors

  • Lauren Rotonda, JD, MBA
  • Olivia Ralph, JD
  • Dominique Crockett, MHA
  • Sophia Mosher, MPA
  • Isabella Porcaro, MA
  • Tiffinie Snowden

Program Coordinator

  • Isabella Porcaro, MA
How to Apply

The Diversity Certificate Conference is offered by the Office of Equity and Diversity to UTHSC Faculty and Staff at all locations. A complete application will include the following:

  1. Application
  2. A separate document with answers to open-ended questions
  3. Supervisor’s endorsement

To apply, submit a complete application following the steps above. Upon acceptance, a registration form with supervisor’s signature and submission of conference fee will need to be completed.

Application submission deadline: January 31st, 2020

Last Published: Feb 28, 2020