Affinity groups are employee-led and facilitated groups formed around interests, backgrounds, identities, experiences and other common bonds. Through participation in an affinity group, staff and faculty help foster a community of belonging by actively contributing to an inclusive and respectful workplace that values efforts specific to diversity, inclusion and respect. In support of NDSU’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect, the Faculty Affairs office provides guidance to faculty and staff who would like to form an affinity group.
Affinity groups build shared community amongst individuals with similar personal or professional interests based upon mutual understanding and/or identity.
How is an Affinity Group Formed?
- A group of faculty and staff with a common interest can be an affinity group. The minimum size to maintain an active group should be five members.
- Determine a group name. Ideally the name of the group will communicate who the group serves or the focus (e.g., International Faculty, Faculty Running Group, etc.). However, feel free to be creative.
- Identify a purpose of the group (i.e., Why does this group exist? What would you like to accomplish?), and develop a mission/vision statement.
- Create a narrative description of the group purpose and membership to be used for information purposes on the website and in communications.
- At least one person is the designated "lead" in the group and communicated to the Faculty Affairs office. Leading means to manage the affinity group membership, organize gatherings, and sending out communication. The designated lead(s) can delegate some of this work like gathering the group through "no host" events. Leader(s) will be responsible for communicating the group's needs once the group is formed.
- Personal data on staff or faculty (e.g., race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.). We recommend you allow people to self-identify into the group.
- Getting folks to join may require various methods of outreach. Word-of-mouth and referring friends and colleagues are the biggest ways of reaching people.
- Once you have identified your group, please email your information to be officially recognized and get support from our Faculty Affairs office.
Support for Your Affinity Group
The Faculty Affairs office can support affinity groups in the following ways:
- Add information and contact about your group on the Affinity Groups page.
- Communicate about your newly formed group, or share information annually with campus about joining.
- A sample email that could be sent by your group:
Faculty and/or staff who self-identify as _____ (adjunct, faculty, staff, administration, etc.) are invited to join the [affinity group name]. The overall mission is to [state mission]. This group communicates via email so all members can stay connected, organize events, and share resources. For any questions please contact [name at email@example.com].
- Limited funds may be available.
Affinity Group Best Practices
Once an affinity group has been established, the below are suggested best practices for managing and maintaining a successful affinity group:
Manage purpose – Continue to assess why the group exists. Update based on what the group would like to accomplish.
Recruit members– Identity those on campus who might benefit from the affinity group, and establish a plan to invite them to join the group.
Create an engagement schedule – Determine how often the group will meet and maintain a consistent schedule.
Organize social opportunities – As part of the engagement schedule, include dedicated time for social activities.
Partner with Faculty Affairs – Contact the Faculty Affairs office for changes in leadership, mission/vision, and to discuss opportunities and challenges.
Please visit the above link to learn more about current affinity groups.