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DEI Collective Learning Series

DEI Collective Learning Series

Each month the School of Education and Human Development's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will engage faculty and staff in learning focused on DEI. The monthly series will have four parts:

  1. Read: Short and impactful articles, chapters, or blogs to help frame the topic for the month (Week 1).
  2. Watch/Listen: Watch a pre-recorded presentation, YouTube recordings, and/or listen to a podcast focused on the topic for the month (Week 2).
  3. Write: Journal, write reflections, and respond to prompts/questions based on the "read" and "watch/listen" for the month reading and recording (Week 3).
  4. Engage: Participate in an on-Grounds session, which may include presentations from authors from the readings, presenters from the pre-recorded session or podcast, an expert on the topic of the month, as well as opportunities to connect and converse with members of our community around the month’s topic. (Week 4).

The DEI Collective Learning Series is intentionally framed in this way to allow faculty and staff to build a shared understanding of topics and concepts (read and watch/listen) before engaging.

This Spring's Collective Learning Series will focus on examining the social constructs of race, its impact on individuals who internalize the constructs, and one potential solution for supporting individuals who walk through the world carrying the burden of marginalization. Each month will have the trademark structure of a weekly action (Read, Watch/Listen, Write), and the month’s series will end with an Engage Session, held in-person in Bavaro Hall. Join us as we continue to grow our knowledge and capacities towards a more inclusive community. Come ready to engage! If you have any questions, please reach out to ehdodei@virginia.edu.

April 2022: Safe Spaces


  • Introduction:

    Affinity groups are vital to the success of people with minoritized identities by providing safe spaces that consist of people who share an identity. Within the safe space of affinity groups, members are able to de-shackle from the social pressures of representing a whole community and discuss shared joys and challenges. Yet, if belonging and inclusion are the goals, how do safe spaces and affinity groups work toward or against that goal? What are affinity groups and safe spaces anyway? Finally, what purpose do they serve in educational environments? Join us for April’s Collective Learning Series on Safe Spaces, where we will explore what role safe spaces and affinity groups play in creating belonging and inclusion.

  • Read:

    In the 2016 Atlantic article, The Fine Line Between Safe Space and Segregation, the author explores the ways in which colleges across the U.S. have been trying to do a better job of making students who have traditionally been underrepresented on campus feel welcome and included. Some of their attempts, however well-intended, garner as much ire as support. While many see the creation of safe spaces for black students, LGBT students, and other minorities as a positive step toward helping them navigate campus, others see it as resegregation and a step backward.

    The Fine Line Between Safe Space and Segregation (PDF)
  • Watch/Listen:

    In this podcast, educator and education consultant, Ayodele Harrison, describes what affinity groups did for him personally and professionally, as well as the importance of structure and sensitivity to reasons why individuals show up in affinity space. Although the audio quality of Teacher Voice: Affinity Groups Podcast is iffy, a transcript is available below. In this conversation among a diverse group of educators, they discuss what affinity groups mean for their identity development and for their students.

    Teacher Voice: Affinity Groups Podcast (Transcript)
  • Write:

    In the conversation around affinity and safe spaces, positionality is a crucial cornerstone. What about this author’s positionality impact perspective on affinity groups and safe spaces? Why would individuals who experience privilege be uncomfortable or feel stifled by affinity spaces? Review this blog post, The Bias Against Difference, to help with your reflection.

  • Engage:

    Join us Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in-person at 1pm, or virtually at 6pm to engage with us and the EHD community!