Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Employee Resource Groups at Columbus State are self-determined, College-sanctioned associations of faculty, staff, and administration organized around a specific minoritized identity (a social group that society devalues, restricts access to resources from, and withholds power from), a group of minoritized identities, or a collective goal that relates to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.
Columbus State’s ERG Program is a critical part of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), which recognizes and supports ERGs committed to using anti-racist and anti-oppression practices (practices that seek to notice, examine, and uproot interpersonal, internalized, institutional, and structural racism and other oppressions) to:
- help attract, nurture, and retain a diverse workforce,
- build inclusive workplace and learning environments,
- confront legacies of discrimination within higher education workplaces and learning environments,
- and/or advocate for policies and practices in the service of advancing equity.
Research shows great benefits for employees and institutions who host Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs can help boost employee satisfaction, retention, and advancement. ERGs can also provide an avenue for meaningful dialogue between employees and institutional leaders.
ERGs allow members to connect with other employees who share similar interests and
a common bond or background. These employee-led groups are designed to meet the unique
needs of each affinity or identity, and aid in fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace
aligned with the College’s mission and values.
ERG participation is also a way to gain workplace leadership experience and build professional connections across the College.
Each ERG has its own culture that reflects the needs, wants, values and expectations of the affinity and identity it represents. ERG meetings can be an informal opportunity for members to come together and speak freely and confidentially about their perspectives and experiences as employees of the college. Sometimes ERGs bring in guest speakers or invite members to present on specific topics relevant to the group. Some membership meetings are used to plan upcoming events, discuss advocacy or education initiatives, or share a meal.
Most ERGs hold membership meetings or gatherings once each month. Meetings can be within or outside of traditional work hours and can be on or off campus. Additionally, ERGs sometimes host service opportunities, professional development programming, or social events.
Absolutely! The ERG Program at Columbus State is designed to support all of its employees, regardless of part-time or full-time status. ERGs also welcome all forms of teaching and instruction staff, from tenured faculty to adjunct professors.
A college employee may join multiple ERGs. People may have more than one affinity with which they identify. For example, it is understandable that a woman who also identifies as African-American and a parent may want to join all three respective ERGs.
Yes! We recognize that there are many affinity groups not yet represented among our ERGs and we welcome you to propose a new ERG. To learn more about the process and benefits of forming an ERG, contact ERG Manager Liz Rose-Cohen, review the ERG Formation Process, or check out the ERG Formation Application.
Membership of each ERG is open to any employee interested in advancing the goals of that ERG. With regard to ERGs that are organized around specific minoritized identities, the ERG Program empowers each ERG to offer group norms or activities specific to identifiers (people who identify with the ERG identity) and allies/accomplices (people who are not identifiers and who are committed to increase their awareness of and active participation in anti-oppression work) in order to center the voices and experiences of identifiers, create brave/safe spaces for identifiers, and help allies/accomplices engage their privilege in ways that feel supportive to identifiers. If you are an ally/accomplice and are not sure how to get involved, please contact ERG Manager Liz Rose-Cohen.
ERGs are led by two or three Co-Leads and sometimes have several committee or work group Chairs. ERGs also have Executive Champions who are members of the College leadership.
For more information on the ERG Program, please contact Liz Rose-Cohen, ERG Strategy and Operations Manager, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org