Inauguration Event: President's Forum on Inclusive Excellence

When Sep 27, 2023
from 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where SAC Ballroom
Contact Name
Contact Phone (502)852-9589
Add event to calendar vCal

Join President Kim Schatzel and Vice President of Institutional Equity Lee Gill at this inauguration event. The 2023 President's Forum on Inclusive Excellence aims to bring together thought leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education to explore and discuss the latest trends, topics, best practices, and advancements. The keynote speaker for this year's event is Dr. Steve Robbins.  [Download Flyer PDF]

Online registration is now closed, however onsite registration is still available.


Steve Robbins

Keynote Guest Speaker: Dr. Steve Robbins

A powerful storyteller with a powerful story to tell, Dr. Steve L. Robbins has an uncanny ability to inspire people, even in the midst of disrupting and challenging the ways they think about the world. Born in Vietnam, Dr. Robbins immigrated as a little child with his mother to the United States where they faced many challenges during a time when there was much anti-war and anti-Vietnamese sentiment.

Working through and rising out of the challenges of poverty, discrimination and the tough streets of Los Angeles, Dr. Robbins now brings insightful perspectives on issues of inclusion & innovation, leadership, and the power of caring.  Drawing upon a compelling life journey, his talks and workshops are filled with intriguing stories, laugh-out-loud humor and a keen understanding of human behavior.

 Dr. Robbins uniquely knows how to simultaneously challenge and motivate people with a dynamic use of storytelling, humor and extensive knowledge of pertinent issues and concepts. The inclusive power of his message are why organizations like Amazon, Chase Bank, Coca-Cola, Disney, Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, Pepsi, Pixar, NASA, The NBA, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart  and numerous others call on Dr. Robbins to inspire, educate and prepare their people for the exciting challenges of dynamic and diverse environments.

 A thought leader and innovator, Dr. Robbins' unique, science-based approach to inclusion and diversity has captured wide acclaim from numerous audiences and organizations across the world. His approach does NOT blame or point fingers. It uses neuroscience and the science of human behavior to encourage individuals and organizations to be more open-minded, mindful and intentional about inclusion and valuing people for their unique gifts, abilities and experiences.

Dr. Robbins earned an undergraduate degree in Communication from Calvin College, and his masters and doctorate in Communication Science from Michigan State University.  His background in communication, social-psychology and cognitive neuroscience drives his work with individuals and organizations – the core of the work is about understanding human behavior and leveraging human differences fast-paced, dynamic 21st century world.

Lecture Overview

Your Brain is Good at Inclusion…Except When It’s Not

The “Your Brain is Good at Inclusion… Except When It’s Not”workshop/presentation provides an innovative, neuroscience-based look at the benefits of creating inclusive workplaces. Using the fields of cognitive neuroscience, social-psychology, and communication (among others), Dr. Robbins explores the human, hard-wired need to belong – and what happens when that need is not met. He demonstrates how our brain has natural and developed tendencies (e.g.  unconscious biases) that can help us achieve goals, but also lead to unintended consequences, like the exclusion of others who are different than us.  He provides listeners with terms and a language that invite people into productive conversations about inclusion and diversity. In the end, Dr. Robbins shows that the key to battling bias and a cultivating a more inclusive organizational culture begins with a practical understanding of how the brain operates, but ultimately requires continuous and intentional practice of fundamental skills (i.e., open-mindedness and mindful engagement). With such skills, organizations have a strong foundation for creating and maintaining an environment that unleashes everyone’s talents and skills.

The interactive workshop/presentation makes a compelling, neuroscience-grounded case for why addressing inclusion and diversity is not an option, but an organizational imperative for excelling in a dynamic, 21st century world.  And as always, Dr. Robbins brings all this science-based content neatly packaged in real-world relevance, a good dose of storytelling and laugh-out-loud humor. Ultimately, listeners will walk away with 1) a greater motivation to engage the work of inclusion and diversity, 2) better understand what that work looks like, and 3) how such work will enhance individual and organizational performance.


Workshop/Presentation Objectives

To help participants:

  • Better understand the work of inclusion and diversity from the perspectives of human behavior and cognitive neuroscience
  • Understand how the brain’s natural functioning can lead to unintended consequences and prevent us from leveraging human differences
  • Better grasp unconscious bias and how it operates and effects individuals and organizations
  • Better understand the root of cause(s) of inclusion and diversity-related problems
  • Obtain concepts, terms and language that invite people into more positive and productive conversations about inclusion and diversity
  • Develop a practice strategy to acquire necessary and fundamental skills
  • Walk away with a deeper commitment and simple, yet powerful actions to address issues of inclusion and diversity

The event is free and open to the public.  Register online to attend.

More information about this event…