Programs and Initiatives

Connectivity Series events include events organized by the AdvanceRIT program and most focus on on retention and advancement of faculty. A smaller proportion of events each year are devoted to organizational learning and development, including unconscious bias related workshops. From 2012 through 2019, we offered 50 unconscious bias-related events and a total of 500 unique women attendees and 350 unique men attendees participated in these events.

AdvanceRIT has designed and hosted many unconscious bias education related workshops for various audiences at RIT, including the following:

  • AdvanceRIT has designed and hosted many unconscious bias education related workshops for various audiences at RIT. Including six large-scale workshops offerings performed by the Michigan Players from the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, focused on departmental climate, faculty search, promotion & tenure deliberations, campus inclusion for students, sexual harassment, and student mental health concerns – each workshop explores power, privilege and unconscious bias.
  • Four years of annual bystander awareness workshops, often including various forms of theater, have been facilitated by Tina Chapman DaCosta from RIT’s Diversity Theater and Professor Maureen Scully from the University of Massachusetts at Boston have been offered to the faculty, staff, and academic leaders within RIT, at both the college-level and the university-level.
  • Several years of interactive, high-energy workshops have been offered at the department-level, college-level and university-levels with a focus on “Creating Vibrant Learning and Working Environments”.  Dr. Linda Manning, Ph.D. facilitated these workshops for several years and AdvanceRIT now conducts most of these offerings based on the foundation that Dr. Manning created.  The workshops are uniquely designed with the audience in mind – audiences have included faculty, design team coaches/guides, students, and staff. 
  • In 2015, AdvanceRIT co-hosted with the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of the Provost a week-long workshop led by Professor Leah Wing from University of Massachusetts at Amherst on Social Justice Conflict Resolution & Mediation Training.
  • In 2013, AdvanceRIT collaboratively hosted with the Office of Faculty Recruitment, a two-day workshop, “Searching for Excellence and Diversity: A Workshop for Search Committees,” facilitated by WISELI from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Photos from Michigan Players event on 2/28/18-3/1/18

Photographer - Sue Weisler

 

How does AdvanceRIT address unconscious bias education?

AdvanceRIT conducts unconscious bias (UB) education with workshops that explore the need for an inclusive work environment, define the origins of “bias” and how each of us use bias within our everyday lives, and include interactive, high-energy activities that challenge audience members to increase awareness of unconscious bias while developing a deeper understanding of actions that we can all take to help promote a more inclusive campus environment. The workshops are created with our audience members in mind through the development of detailed session plans which are guided by a set of intended learning outcomes for each session. Our instructional goals include discussing “diversity” in a broad sense and focusing more attention and dialogue on the promise of inclusion. We also strive to create a learning environment which is comfortable, where participants display low levels of defensiveness.

How does AdvanceRIT evaluate the effectiveness of our unconscious bias education offerings? Example results included. 

Beginning in late 2015, AdvanceRIT contracted with the University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE) to provide targeted evaluations of select programs.  Since that time, CERSE has provided IRB support to RIT for analyzing multiple unconscious bias-related event surveys and created presentation slides with results. UW CERSE conducted in-depth survey analysis from nine different unconscious bias events from 2016 to 2019.  These include Bystander Awareness & Action Workshops with RIT Diversity Theater (2016, 2017, May 2018, Nov. 2018, April 2019), Creating Vibrant Learning Environments (2017 and 2019), and 2018 and 2019 Michigan Players. Many of these evaluations included initial and follow-up surveys about 3-4 weeks after the event. The response rates have been great for these surveys, ranging from 71%-95% on the initial surveys to 38% to 71% on the follow-up surveys.  These response rates suggest that these findings are likely representative of the population and should be taken seriously.

Selected Findings from Bystander Awareness & Action Workshops (2016, 2017, May 2018, Nov. 2018, April 2019):

 

2016

(2 weeks post)

2017

(4 weeks post)

2018, May

(4 weeks post)

2018, Nov.

(4 weeks post)

2019

(4 weeks post)

I am more aware of incidents on campus where bystanders would be useful

82%

79%

79%

88%

70%

I shared with others the idea of being an active bystander

73%

79%

80%

66%

50%

I have been an active bystander on campus (since attending workshop)

61%

50%

54%

22%

60%

Attendees reported greater self-efficacy and feel they can make campus a more inclusive place by being an active bystander. On many of these surveys, there were continued calls for more events like these.

Creating Vibrant Learning Environments Workshop (2017 for faculty within School of Film and Animation in College of Imaging Arts and Sciences and 2019 for faculty and staff within College of Applied Science & Technology):

A total of 81%-100% agreed that the session enhanced how they think about interactions in diverse classrooms, 80%-87% agreed that the activities and discussion enhanced their understanding of how norms can affect learning, and 90%-96% planned to take action to create a positive learning experience for students. Attendees described plans to be more observant in their classrooms, more intentionally inclusive in the future, and to regularly establish classroom norms.

CRLT Michigan Player Workshops (in AY2017 hosted “Mariam”/“Carter” and in AY2018 hosted Parts I and II of “Moving the Needle”):

The immediate post-event surveys showed increased: attendee awareness, knowledge and skills, and an impulse to improve the departmental climate for marginalized students and about sexual harassment. There was significant praise for all the sessions, as well as a desire for more professional development of this nature.

The 4-week follow-up surveys indicated that there were internal conceptual shifts, increased awareness, and expanded conceptions of the role that staff and faculty can play in creating a more inclusive climate. There was “stickiness” to attendees’ learnings, since responses rarely saw large decreases in percentages that agreed/strongly agreed from the initial survey to the follow-up. And some of the results are reflective of the expected developmental arc of attendees, such that as people develop more complex understandings of these issues, they may actually feel less comfortable taking action.

Past Sessions:

  • “Distress Signals - Supporting Students Facing Mental Health Challenges" offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, offering two (2), 2.5-hour long workshop sessions, March 26, 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19)

  • “Distress Signals - Supporting Students Facing Mental Health Challenges” offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, offering two (2), 2.5-hour long workshop sessions, March 25, 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19)

  • “Advocates & Allies Workshop: Engaging All Faculty in Institutional Transformation” for all full time faculty (gender inclusive), co-facilitated by faculty from AdvanceRIT and the Advocate & Allies program, offered one (1), 1.5-hour long workshop session, December 10, 2019. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • ”Bystander Awareness Workshops: Studies, Stories, Systems” for Deans, department chairs and administrative leaders in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director of the RIT Diversity Theater, Nancy McDonald-Stoler from RIT Human Resources, Stacy DeRooy from RIT Title IX and Compliance, and Joe Johnston from the RIT Ombud’s Office, offered one (1), 2-Hour Session, October 29, 2019

  • ”Bystander Awareness Workshops: Studies, Stories, Systems” for faculty and staff in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director of the RIT Diversity Theater, Nancy McDonald-Stoler from RIT Human Resources,  Stacy DeRooy from RIT Title IX and Compliance, and Joe Johnston from the RIT Ombud’s Office, offered three (3), 1.5-Hour Sessions, October 28, 29, and 30, 2019. Please read further about participation feedback pertaining to these sessions and the one above here.

  • “Vibrant Learning Environment within Software Engineering” for first-year students in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences Software Engineering Department, facilitated by Professors Margaret Bailey, Carol Marchetti and Sonia Lopez Alarcon, offered one (1), 2-hour long workshop session, September 10, 2019

  • “Creating a Vibrant Learning Environment” for faculty in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, facilitated by Professors Margaret Bailey and Carol Marchetti, offered one (1), 30-minute long session, August 27, 2019

  • “Creating an Effective and Inclusive Learning Environment” for coach sponsors in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, facilitated by Professors Margaret Bailey and Carol Marchetti, offered one (1), 1.5-hour long workshop session, August 22, 2019. Please read further about participation feedback for this workshop and the student workshop for Software Engineers above here.

  • “Bystander Awareness & Action Workshops: Designing and Supporting Inclusive Practices at RIT” for department chairs/academic leaders, full-time faculty and staff, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director, RIT Diversity Theater, offered two (2), 2.5-hour long workshop sessions, April 30, 2019

  • “Moving the Needle: Creating a Culture Resistant to Sexual Harassment” offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, offered two (2) workshops which each included a Part I (2.5-hour long workshop session) and a Part II (3-hour long workshop session) , April 9 and 10, 2019. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • “Creating Vibrant Learning Environments Workshop” for faculty and staff in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, conducted by Dr. Linda Manning, one (1) 3-hour long workshop session, January 10, 2019. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • “Bystander Awareness & Action Workshops: Strengthening Communication Through Vibrant Work Environments” for faculty within RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director, RIT Diversity Theater, offered two (2), 2.5-Hour Sessions, November 28-29, 2018

  • “Bystander Awareness & Action Workshops: Strengthening Communication Through Vibrant Work Environments” for chairs and academic leaders within RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director, RIT Diversity Theater, 2-Hour Session, November 27, 2018

  • “Bystander Awareness & Action Workshop: Strengthening Communication Through Vibrant Work Environments” for staff, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director, RIT Diversity Theater, 2-Hour Session, November 27, 2018. Please read further about participation feedback pertaining to this workshop and the two above here.

  • “Bystander Awareness & Action Workshops” for faculty and staff, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston in collaboration with Tina Chapman, Director, RIT Diversity Theater, 3, 2-Hour Sessions, May 1-2, 2018. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • “Cut’s: Responding to Student Concerns, Carter Sessions” offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, 2, 2-Hour Sessions, March 1, 2018

  • “Cut’s: Responding to Student Concerns, Mariam Sessions” offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, 2, 2-Hour Sessions, February 28, 2018. Please read further about participation feedback pertaining to this workshop and the one above here.

  • There was a session this fall of 2017 offered for CIAS school of film and animation. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • ”Bystander Awareness Workshops Follow-Up Session” for deans, chairs and administrative leaders in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, and True Story Theater, Boston, MA, November 7, 2017

  • ”Bystander Awareness Workshops” for staff in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, and True Story Theater, Boston, MA, November 7, 2017

  • ”Bystander Awareness Workshops” for faculty in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, and True Story Theater, Boston, MA, November 6, 2017

  • "Bystander Awareness Workshops" facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston, offered one (1), 2-Hour Session, November 3, 2017

  • ”Bystander Awareness Workshops” for deans, chairs and administrative leaders in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, facilitated by Dr. Maureen Scully, University of MA, Boston, and Tonia Pinhiero of True Story Theater, Boston, MA, October 24, 2017. Please read further about participation feedback pertaining to this workshop and the four above here.

  • "Chairs Role in Faculty Mentoring" for academic leaders, offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, 2, 2-Hour Sessions May 16, 2017

  • "Fences" for tenure committee members, offered by CRLT Michigan Players, University of Michigan, April 7, 2016

  • "Leveraging Difference to Advance RIT" for the promotion committee members, Overview, with expert collaborator Linda Manning, Ph. D., October 2, 2015. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • "Social Justice Mediation & Conflict Resolution" Week-Long Workshop, University of MA, Amherst, June 8-12, 2015 Overview

  • "Leveraging Difference to Advance RIT" for a Provost's Town Hall Session for faculty and staff, Overview, with expert collaborator Linda Manning, Ph. D., February 20, 2015. Please read further about participation feedback here.

  • "Leveraging Difference to Advance RIT" for Department Head, Chairs, and Directors, Overview, with expert collaborator Linda Manning, Ph. D., February 6, 2015

  • "Navigating Departmental Politics" for search committee members, offered by Michigan Players from CRTL, University of Michigan, December 11, 2014

  • WISELI presented "Searching for Excellence and Diversity: A Workshop for Search Committees“ Office of Faculty Recruitment, Executive Summary available through link above. December 20, 2013

 

Photos from Michigan Players event on 2/28/18-3/1/18

Photographer - Sue Weisler

Sample Session Overview:

"Leveraging Difference to Advance RIT“ for Department Head, Chairs, and Directors, February 6, 2015

As part of an ongoing series of ‘unconscious bias’ education and professional development to expand the capacity of RIT to meet the goals of the 2014 Strategic Plan, the AdvanceRIT team hosted a workshop for the RIT Department Heads, Chairs and Directors’ Meeting on February 6, 2015. The strategic plan presents inclusion at RIT as an economic imperative. The goal is an inclusive campus to insure that students and faculty alike can contribute to and benefit from being with Rochester Institute of Technology. We want to (in economics lingo) maximize the objective, subject to constraints, under uncertainty. In other words, get as close to the goal as possible, using the resources available to us and minimizing costs and other barriers, including uncertainty. This goal was defined in terms of the strategic plan, and resources were presented as: department and individual strengths, best practices, commitment and tacit knowledge.

The purpose and objectives of the February 6 workshop were to:

  1. Build awareness of RIT strategic objectives around inclusion (i.e., leveraging difference) and frame them into the business case of maximizing benefit and minimizing costs (monetary and non-monetary) for the university and its members.
  2. Identify the resources (i.e., strengths and best practices) to build upon to foster inclusion in efforts to attract, retain and graduate students, recognize how far we’ve come, and where to go from here.
  3. Build awareness of and appreciation for RIT objectives to attract, retain and graduate a more diverse population of students, and become a model for inclusion for faculty and staff, and review departmental progress on institutional objectives around hiring and promotion of women faculty.
  4. Reflect on departmental progress and the circumstances that influence their ability to progress.
  5. Identify immediate-term, short-term, medium-term or long-term actions at the department level that can move inclusion forward at RIT, and understand the influence that we have to affect biases and outcomes.
  6. Identify data and research needed by departments to move inclusion forward in collaboration with the AdvanceRIT team, and next steps.
     

Six workshop activities were designed to build participants’ awareness around these objectives and their role and influence in achieving them. This workshop did not deal with barriers (e.g., costs) that can be specific to a department or individual. Rather, the focus was on the strengths that exist and how individuals can build on those strengths to achieve RIT objectives to serve their own goals.

Aligned Activities:

AdvanceRIT is committed to supporting campus-wide activities which are focused on unconscious bias education for our campus members which include:

  • Strong supporter and collaborator for Interactive theater from RIT's Diversity Theater that presents interactive learning workshops using theater and theatrical techniques to engage participants in meaningful experiences within the context of diversity and inclusion education. Additional information can be found on the Division of Diversity and Inclusion webpage.
  • Participant on Provost’s Task Force on Unconscious Bias convened in 2015, Final Recommendations.
  • UB education conducted by WISe with Diversity Theater, during orientation in 2016, Report
  • Center for Women and Gender
     

Additional Unconscious Bias handouts, documents, and presentations and be found on our Unconscious Bias Education Resource Page