Focusing on Assets: Action Research for an Inclusive and Diverse Workplace

Leo Hwang

In higher education, efforts to diversify the workforce and create a more inclusive and repre- sentative environment for students and employees have often been stymied by institutionalized racism, a lack of resources, and a lack of institutional energy. In this chapter I discuss an action research intervention, inspired by diverse economies scholarship, that was aimed at valuing and strengthening diversity and inclusion in a community college setting. A starting point for the project was the recognition that within the workplace there are multiple forms of work being performed, and associated ways of being, that fall outside of the traditional identity of a waged worker being paid for services rendered. For instance, the work of creating an inclu- sive workplace relies on volunteering, college service, gifting, mentoring, professional devel- opment, sweat equity – all practices that help create a sense of community that is larger than just an educational services enterprise in which teaching is delivered in return for monetary payment. In a complex organization like a community college, the business orientation of the ‘enterprise’ thus sits alongside non-capitalist orientations. In a climate of increasingly limited resources, it is the combination of non-capitalist practices and diverse identities that has the potential to engender change and drive the mission of the workplace to become more diverse and more inclusive. This chapter describes the context and process of using an assets-based approach to highlight diversity and enhance inclusion in a community college setting.

Suggested citation

Hwang, Leo. "Focusing on Assets: Action Research for an Inclusive and Diverse Workplace." In The Handbook of Diverse Economies edited by J.K. Gibson-Graham, Kelly Dombroski, 520-526. United Kingdom, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020.