Magazine Article

A Journey into Change: An Unconscious Bias Workshop

By Audrena Redmond
CFA Staff, Council for Affirmative Action

This fall marked the campus presentation kickoff of the CFA Council for Affirmative Action’s “A Journey Into Change”: An Unconscious Bias Workshop.

The workshop was developed over two years by a CAA task force to help faculty and administrators become aware of unconscious biases, preferences, and micro-aggressions that interfere with the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty.

This four-hour workshop was created with every CSU campus in mind, and it places a particular emphasis on hiring, evaluation and retention practices.

“A Journey Into Change” is different from other campus workshops to which it might be compared because it is not focused on liability and how to avoid legal pitfalls. Rather, a key goal is to transform the individual to affect change through personal understanding of oneself and as an active participant on campus and in the CSU system.

This goal sets the workshop apart from others that members of the campus community may have experienced.

Five campuses hosted the workshop this inaugural semester—Fresno, Monterey Bay, Sonoma, East Bay and San Marcos. Campus diversity officers participated at Monterey Bay and East Bay and at San Marcos the campus diversity office co-sponsored.

The workshops were well attended by participants who had taken implicit association tests before coming as strongly requested. The evaluations re well received. In fact, many participants remarked to the trainers that the time went by quickly, they were engaged, and they hoped the workshop would be repeated.

The host campuses have reported that the workshop provided an opportunity for team building among the chapter’s elected leaders and activists, and greater understanding among faculty and with campus diversity officers, where they participated.

In the coming weeks, workshop participants will receive a copy of their action plans developed in the second half of the workshop. And some will come together to discuss the steps they are taking as transformed faculty and colleagues.

With a successful inaugural fall behind us, the CAA looks forward to the spring schedule, which is filling up quickly. Those interested should contact me. 

Thanks to the host campus CAA representatives John Beynon (FR), George Station (MB), Erma Jena Sims (SO), Nick Baham (EB) and Sharon Elise (SM); to workshop trainers Cecil Canton, Ted Scott-Femenella, Chris Cox, Theresa Montaño, José Cintrón, Jeff Tan, Mernie Aste and Nena Torrez; and to CFA staff assigned to CAA Maureen Loughran along with myself.

Please visit us on the web to learn more about the CFA Council for Affirmative Action and the “A Journey into Change” workshop.