Making Video Conferences Equitable and Inclusive

By Brian Pillsbury, Jehan Hill, Sarah Patterson-Mills and Azra Karajic Siwiec

The COVID-19 crisis has necessitated a shift to online work activities and service delivery in most sectors of our workforce, and the field of career services is no exception. Because of the increase in usage of online technologies such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other virtual communication systems, the NCDA Committees on Diversity Initiatives and Cultural Inclusion and Ethics would like to present these tips for conducting online workshops and presentation services, such as virtual professional conferences. These tips, which are organized as either Participant Needs or Privacy Concerns, will help ensure maximum accessibility and sensitivity to the needs of diverse populations.

Participant Needs


Privacy Concerns


We hope you reflect upon these tips as you prepare for your next workshops. If you would like to learn more about the NCDA Committees on Diversity Initiatives and Cultural Inclusion or Ethics, please visit https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/about_committees for chair contact information as well as descriptions of each committee.



Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99 (2015).

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section. (2014, January 31). ADA Requirements: Effective Communication. Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act. https://www.ada.gov/effective-comm.htm




Brian Pillsbury, Ph.D., is Assistant Director of Career Services at Northern Illinois University. At NIU, he serves on the Presidential Commission for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and is a facilitator of Conversations on Diversity and Equity. He is a member of the NCDA Best Practices Subcommittee of the Committee on Diversity Initiatives and Cultural Inclusion. He can be contacted at pillsbury@niu.edu

Jehan Hill, Ph.D., LPC, is an assistant professor for the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University. Her scholarly work highlights methods of advocacy, activism, and culturally responsive counseling practices to better support historically marginalized and oppressed communities in the educational system. She is currently on the NCDA Best Practices Subcommittee of the Committee on Diversity Initiatives and Cultural Inclusion. She can be reached at jhill2@niu.edu

Sarah Patterson-Mills, Ph.D., is a Licensed Professional Counselor and formerly a 7-12th certified school counselor. She is the program chair for school counseling at Lindenwood University. She was the counselor educator representative for the Illinois School Counseling Governing Council and appointed as a legislative liaison between the Governing Board and legislative efforts. Dr. Patterson-Mills is active in the field of career counseling and has been co-chair of the NCDA Ethics Committee and editor of Career Developments, Ethics. She can be reached at spatterson-mills@lindenwood.edu


Azra Karajic Siwiec, Ph.D., is a graduate of Youngstown State University and the Pennsylvania State University and has been a counselor educator for the last 13 years. She is serving as contributing faculty in counselor education at Walden University. She is co-chair of the NCDA Ethics Committee. She can be reached at akarajic@aol.com


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Jim Peacock   on Friday 10/02/2020 at 11:53 AM

This is very helpful. Thank you to all of you.
Now that we have moved to nearly everything online, it is important to consider all the implications of how this affects different people and privacy issues. Nice job.

Dina Janicki   on Sunday 11/01/2020 at 08:29 PM

Thank you for this, these are great tips.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.