The U Offers Bias Trainings Across Campus


Microaggression advertisements on the U’s campus | Chronicle archives.

By Joseph A. Moss

At the University of Utah, there has been a multitude of trainings regarding inclusion, hate speech and campus safety. The Office for Inclusive Excellence, through their training and workshops, have made numerous efforts to aid in reducing negative impacts on campus climate, as well as helping people to understand biases.

“We offer several different workshops,” said Jude McNeil, the director of the Office for Inclusive Excellence. “But the one that is most requested is the training we do on bias and microaggressions. It’s called ‘But I Didn’t Mean It Like That: Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions.’” 

McNeil said the Office for Inclusive Excellence “knows that there are a lot of things that happen on campus that negatively impact climate. It’s often things that are requested for implicit bias.” They explained that many people have biases based on their experiences, which leads people to “say or do things that they don’t recognize might be hurtful, or negatively impacts climate on campus.”

McNeil says their Office offers all levels of training for members of the campus community, ranging from “considerably basic” to “deeper-level workshops.” McNeil said the workshop on microagressions is more introductory, but they also offer more detailed training. These more in-depth workshops teach people to recognize and address subtler instances of bias on campus.

Past workshop topics have included creating a more inclusive classroom, facilitating difficult conversations and developing identity.

OIE does not make workshops mandatory, but in many cases other departments on campus require the training. “Most of our workshops — nearly 100% — are by request,” McNeil said. “We’ve seen across campus that each college and department is being more proactive in increasing their cultural competency. A lot of colleges and departments have rolled out diversity action plans, and part of these plans include some of these trainings.”

For faculty and staff, these trainings can help improve job performance. While McNeil teaches how students and faculty can combat bias together, they also focus on individual professional development. This training helps participants develop professional skills, like communicating across differences.

The workshops and trainings being done by the OIE are not the only trainings around campus. Annalisa Purser, associate director of University Marketing & Communications, said that other trainings have included workshops on free speech and the University posting policy from the Office of the Dean of Students and safety training from the Center for Student Wellness.

To find more information about the various trainings the Office for Inclusive Excellence has, contact them here. To see and find out more information about other trainings, go to the SafeU webpage here.  


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