Learning about race, power, & privilege

Over 120 members of the campus community participated in a free e-course to learn the fundamentals of how interpersonal and systemic racism function.

The e-course, “Race, Power, and Privilege” by SpeakOut, presented participants with an introductory curriculum on anti-racism. The virtual course contains three hours of content that could be completed at an individual’s own pace.

The office of Student Success, Equity, and Community (SSEC) offered the course to students, faculty, and staff as a part of their programming for Black History Month. Program Coordinator Daksha Howard identified and brought the course to campus, having worked with SpeakOut previously to bring speakers such as Tim Wise to campus.

“The course is directly tied to learning about the basics of race, power, and privilege,” Howard explains. “It was a great way to offer professional development that directly ties into the mission of ‘Becoming Better,’ so it was important to offer the course to the entire campus.”

The course was made free for participants thanks to funding from the Weissberg Program. Co-Director of the Weissberg Program Josh Moore found that the course fit the program’s mission centered around issues of equity, inclusion and anti-racism at local, national, and international levels.

“This e-course covers the central concepts of bias and structural oppression that are at the heart of social injustice around the world,” Moore explains. He also saw additional benefits. “A short e-course like this one can advance institutional goals while allowing participants to go at their own pace and when convenient for them,” he adds. “It is also useful to be part of a larger conversation happening across the country, rather than only offering in-house opportunities.”

Over 120 campus community members participated and completed the course. In addition to taking it themselves, faculty and staff encouraged students to take the course as a part of their studies or to build skills for future careers. Participants received a certificate after completing the course and could include it on their resumes.

Many who took the course found it to be valuable. “The general feedback I received is that participants really appreciated having the opportunity to learn about race, power, and privilege at a beginning level and at their own pace,” Howard explains. “Some said that they wanted to do more towards bringing equity and inclusion to campus and that this was a great way for the campus to ‘become better’.”

Seeing this positive reception, SSEC intends to offer a follow-up course from SpeakOut in the future, once again funded by the Weissberg Program. In the meantime, the college has shared the course with local community partners in the hopes of establishing a common understanding of these topics.

“This is definitely not just an opportunity for the campus but also for our surrounding community in Rock County,” Howard explains. “The more awareness we bring, working together in collaboration, the more we all have a better understanding of the people we live amongst and what their needs are.”

Nicholas Mischler’14
April 15, 2022

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