About the Program
What is the Racial Justice Training Program?
The Racial Justice Training Program (RJTP) is a cohort-based, semester-long racial and social justice education program geared towards academic advisors. Participants will further develop their awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to better serve students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), thus also enhancing support for students from other historically minoritized groups. In order to engage meaningfully, applicants should have some familiarity with racial justice tenets and a willingness to participate with head, heart, and hand.
The main goals of the program are to help advisors:
Expand awareness, knowledge, and skills to better center and affirm students who identify as BIPOC, especially using interpersonal and systems work
Cultivate self-reflection within a racial justice framework
Build racially just community with other advisors
RJTP participants will increase their capacities to:
Expand advising skills that center and affirm BIPOC students, as well as students from other historically underserved groups
Broaden and deepen their commitment to continuing self-reflective education and skill development focused on racial and social justice
Contribute towards racially and socially just, high-performing teams and work climates where all are respected, valued, feel a sense of belonging, and are able to contribute to their full potential
Use racial and social justice frameworks to analyze and review institutional services, programs, and policies
Program Model and Content
A group of 10-15 academic advisors from a broad representation of colleges and campus units learn, self-reflect, and develop their skills together in community.
Participants will take part in eight, two-hour training sessions over the course of a semester. The total time commitment between homework and training sessions is approximately 30 hours over the course of the term.
Self-reflection, engagement, and contributions to difficult conversation are expected of program participants. This is not a space for learning strictly through observation and listening. This program requires courageous participation with head, heart, and hand.
There are six scaffolded sessions infusing individual privilege, cultural racism, and institutional laws and policies, one session on navigating difficult conversation, and one session on creating a culture of equity and justice in advising and departmental relationships.
Session content and learning activities will include history lessons, contextual learning, Q&A, learning takeaways (including those connected to the advising framework), and monthly commitments, and learners will engage with one another via storytelling, live discussion, chat, and breakout groups, including racial affinity/accountability groups and cross-racial dialogue.
Learning and skill development between sessions will include homework, activity resources, small and large group conversations, role-playing, and case studies.
Topics will include:
Social identity exploration
Socialization, implicit bias, and prejudice
Interrupting racist attitudes and behaviors
Navigating difficult conversations
Racial battle fatigue
White fragility and accountability
Power, privilege, and oppression
The Multicultural Organizations Development tool
Creating a culture of equity and justice in advising and departments
According to SERU survey results, campus climate satisfaction for students with historically minoritized racial identities at the U of M decreased from 2013 to 2017. To start a conversation about how the advising community could positively impact campus climate, the Advising Initiatives team sponsored a conversation series in spring 2017 framed on this related question ‘How can academic advisors better support students with underrepresented identities?’ One of the dominant responses that emerged from this series was to create and offer more self-reflective training opportunities for academic advisors focused on positively supporting students with historically marginalized racial identitIes.
As a result, the Advising Initiatives team sought volunteers from colleges and student support programs to form a group and consider what equity training would look like for advisors on our campus. Thus, the Academic Advisor Education and Training Group on Racial Equity formed and worked to create a self-reflective training plan to support advisors in their work with students with historically minoritized racial identities. The group’s primary goal and action were and are:
Increase the retention and graduation rates of our Students of Color and Indigenous students.
Provide reflective training in order to increase self-awareness and elevate the skills of academic advisors to positively support and advocate for students with historically marginalized racial identities.
A system of advantage and oppression based on race. -Beverly Daniel Tatum
Collective racial prejudice backed by legal authority and institutional control. -Robin DiAngelo
Equal access and opportunity for all people so all can reach their full potential and are no more likely to encounter barriers or benefits based on their race. -Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Adams, Bell, and Griffin (2007) define social justice as both a process and a goal. "The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society that is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.” Adams, M., Bell, L. A., & Griffin, P. (2007). Teaching for diversity and social justice. New York: Routledge.