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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

Let’s Talk: UVA to Hold ‘Diversity Dialogues’ Nov. 5 and 6

Oct 26, 2015 |

Diversity Dialogues, a series of workshops for University of Virginia students, faculty and staff, aims to give participants the opportunity to understand and move beyond hidden biases that can affect interpersonal relationships and the institutional climate.

Organized by the Office for Diversity and Equity, the event – to be held Nov. 5 and 6 in Newcomb Hall – will showcase diversity and inclusion leaders from around Grounds, who will give talks and lead group discussions on topics such as implicit attitudes, multicultural fluency, disability awareness and the inclusive classroom. Other sessions will introduce bystander training, safe-space training, the sexual violence survivor support network and the Sustained Dialogue organization.

“When people of different backgrounds come together, they exchange ideas, question assumptions – including their own – and broaden the horizons for us all,” Dr. Marcus L. Martin, vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, said. “Building bridges between people of different backgrounds is increasingly important as our society grows more and more diverse.”

Andrea Iglesias, a clinical psychologist and assistant director for outreach and liaison programming at the Department of Student Health’s Counseling and Psychological Services, along with colleague Glenda Russell from Boulder, Colorado, will lay the foundation for each day’s workshops with “Implicit Attitudes 101.” They will talk about the hidden biases, the shame and blame, often present in conversations or interactions around diversity issues and present a model that can be applied to remedy these situations.

Implicit attitudes are positive and negative evaluations that occur outside of a person’s conscious awareness and control, according to Project Implicit, a website housed by Harvard University. UVA psychologist Brian Nosek was part of the research team that described implicit bias in 1998 and developed a test people could take to reveal their hidden attitudes that might get in the way of efforts to be more tolerant and inclusive.

For example, someone might say he believes women and men should be equally associated with science, but his automatic associations could show that he – like many others – associates men with science more than women with science.

Registration for the event is required online. Some of the sessions will be repeated on both days to give participants the chance to attend the most workshops. See the schedule for times and locations.

“With 11 units co-sponsoring Diversity Dialogues, I’m pleased with the level of University commitment to cultivating a more inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Martin said. “I hope you will join us. Let’s talk!”