AUPresses Session Notes: DEI a Global Publishing Perspective

by Laura


Background of colored strings with AUPresses logo and session title along with Sheridan logo

For nearly every panel participant—from London, to Auckland, to Mumbai, to Guadalajara —making a sustained noise within one’s organization is critical to success in altering the environment and culture. Doing so changes diversity, equity, and including (DEI) DEI from being a language of appeasement to generating genuine transformative change. Through formalizing DEI strategy with measurable outcomes/targets, DEI becomes normalized so that there is not a single individual charged with DEI, but DEI becomes embedded in every employee.

Definition of Terms: Collective Point of Departure

There is no formula for obtaining DEI sensibility, as the topic is very complex. As Tasneem Bhopalwala, Global Diversity & Inclusion at Oxford University Press, notes, “Equality has changed into equity: ‘You cannot ask a fish to climb a tree.’” The definition of DEI is being refined around the world. Currently, each press has a different idea of what DEI or EDI means; what is our collective point of departure and definition of terms (“diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion”)? We are all “diverse” and have many identities/intersectionalities. Diversity must be broadened beyond race to include all aspects of diversity, including race, gender, age, ability, socio-economic status, neurodiversity, and identity.

Bedrock of Change: “Making Noise”

Many presses are challenged with burnout and fatigue around implementing and maintaining DEI. Organizations recharge and redouble their efforts by celebrating small wins, setting achievable goals, shifting the collective mindset to recognize that DEI is not “extra work,” but, rather, normalized work. The goal is to have DEI evolve organically through encouragement, support, and leadership example. Identify champions or ambassadors who do not view DEI as “extra work,” but are passionate about the work. By contrast, one person “pestering” everyone about DEI is a losing strategy.

Village of Support: DEI is Difficult Work

With a changed organizational mindset comes the opportunity to see learning about the world as fun. The democratization of knowledge by presses acknowledges that knowledge belongs to everyone, and we need to support the global spread of ideas and best practices to create a better world. Collaborative pooling of ideas and connection globally amplifies the success of DEI.

DEI is Foundational and Good for Business

DEI is not extracurricular, but foundational. And presses agree that equity publishing is good for business and improves decision-making and problem solving. The ideal would be to develop global standards and definitions of DEI to be able to measure and quantify efforts. Sometimes publishers need to break the rules about target audience; question past assumptions about what will sell to whom. The impossible does not exist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and bring your authentic self to work; by doing so, you give others the courage to do the same.

Article by guest contributor K. Page Boyer, Sheridan.

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