In its commitment to diversity and inclusion, Marquette University is requiring employees to participate in the online program “Faculty and Staff: Personal Skills for a Diverse Campus.”
The program, which has been vetted by representatives from the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Human Resources, along with volunteers from the University Committee on Equity and Inclusion and Employee Resource Group leadership, will be launched in February.
During the fall of 2021, a pilot group was organized that consisted of the College of Nursing, the College of Communication, University Advancement, Human Resources and University Relations. They all completed the program.
The program consists of three modules: Engagement with Diversity, Communication for Inclusion and The Influence of Unconscious Bias. The modules will take approximately three hours to complete, and this includes quizzes and comprehension checks.
Acting Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Joya Crear was in the initial team that evaluated and endorsed the program as a required training for all employees.
“Marquette is sincere in their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and this is one piece of evidence of their seriousness. Developing a ‘culture of inclusion‘ at Marquette requires intentional effort from all community members and this training provides employees with foundational skills to contribute to an overall sense of belonging,” Crear said in an email.
A few of the topics discussed within the modules are microaggressions, unconscious bias, how resistance to diversity and difference can affect students and strategies to counteract biases.
The program gives employees the knowledge and skills needed to help create a more inclusive environment on campus.
“The program aims to provide a common vocabulary and foundational knowledge around diversity concepts, offers faculty and staff skills to support a welcoming and inclusive environment and supports Marquette’s efforts to attract, hire and retain a diverse workforce by equipping potential search committee members with critical guidelines for inclusive recruitment,” Crear said in an email.
Jacqueline Black, director for Hispanic Initiatives and Diversity & Inclusion Educational Programming, is one of the program administrators on campus. She worked alongside Wendy Butler, director of organizational development in the Department of Human Resources, to gain approval and funding from the executive leaders.
Black said this program is the first step toward critical knowledge and understanding of how to create a safe and inclusive environment.
“It is our hope that this is a launching point for faculty and staff to learn more about implicit bias, communicating across difference, and microaggressions, all of which affect the day-to-day experiences of many of our underrepresented and marginalized students,” Black said in an email.
Butler said that this program represents Marquette’s core values.
“The training provides various perspectives for discernment consistent with our Ignatian pedagogy and our Jesuit, Catholic heritage,” Butler said in an email.
Alongside the program for employees, there are programs regarding diversity and inclusion for students, teaching assistants and graduate assistants. All incoming undergraduate students are required to participate in “Brave and Bold Dialogues.”
“Bold Dialogues. Brave & Bold Dialogues: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – College Edition for students is an interactive, one-hour course exploring real-life scenarios designed to increase awareness and understanding while building foundational knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Crear said in an email.
Black said that the graduate school piloted a program for teaching assistants and graduate assistants about implicit biases, and it is now incorporated in regular trainings.
“We know that the most effective way to engage with folks around these issues is actually through discussion, so there have been efforts to incorporate anti-racism content into introductory English courses, which most of our freshmen take. The Black Student Council was integral in the development of that content and the English department implemented it for the first time this year,” Black said in an email.
This program is one of the different opportunities for self-guided work regarding diversity and inclusion.
“This is just a starting point — a way to establish foundational understandings, increase self-awareness and hopefully motivate folks to engage in additional learning opportunities around these important topics.” Black said in an email.