The primary diversity strategy of many institutions focuses on college admissions to increase the representation of women and people of color (Bowen & Bok, 1998). Yet, changing the campus climate—belonging, inclusion, and anti-discrimination—is a critical strategy to increase diversity and should receive greater attention (Stewart & Lavaque-Manty, 2008). In order to bring these issues to light, we are developing and implementing a workshop that teaches first-year students evidence-based strategies to combat microaggressions. Our program is adapted from a previous successful workshop, Speak Up in STEMM!: Challenging Microaggressions to Foster a More Inclusive Workplace (Moors & Mayott, under review). Our project, Speak Up! Challenging Microaggressions By Intervening As an Ally, remedies the inclusion training gap by using the prejudice habit model and ally development theoretical frameworks (Ada Initiative, 2015; Casey & Ohler, 2012).
Our first step is actively recruiting first-year students, who then chose to participate in a workshop and a three-part survey process. Participants report their attitudes towards campus climate and personal experiences prior to attending the workshop. They are randomly assigned to attend the workshop in the Fall or the Spring. Those assigned to the Fall condition participate in a 90-minute workshop with a complimentary pizza dinner and prizes. Although online survey data is collected, our focus is on feedback gained from the workshop independent of the survey responses.
The results of our post-workshop survey demonstrated that participants believed the workshop to be a positive experience. Of the 12 participants, all rated the workshop as living up to their expectations, stimulating their learning, providing sufficient practice, and as an experience they would recommend to a friend. Many of the participants enjoyed the roleplaying scenarios, learning about microaggressions and the evidence-based strategies. For future workshops, participants suggested allowing the audience to share their personal experiences with microaggressions and refining our role playing scenarios.
In fall of 2020, we plan to continue running workshops and recruiting participants through the subject pool system in the Department of Psychology. We believe that by expanding our recruitment to the subject pool, we will receive more first-year students and generate more traction as it relates to challenging microaggressions.
Siguenza, Gabi; Knebel, Carsyn; Segal, Sierra; and Moors, Amy C., "Speak Up! Challenging Microaggressions by Intervening As an Ally" (2020). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 377.